You just know the flood of words for and against Wal-Mart and Chicago's regulation of its wages is just starting. Here are the best thoughts I've seen:
Scott Gordon at the Beachwood Reporter investigates Wal-Mart's claim that the council vote cost the city $6.5 billion, and calls bullshit on it.
Michael Van Winkle at the Heartland Institute keeps the libertarian case short, cool, and simple. Most commentators talk as if the big boxes will either walk or stay. But the real effects will be subtle, at the margins, and based on profitability, whether they involve building slightly smaller stores, stores just outside the city limits, automating more entry-level jobs, or opening stores that later close. "ANY law that decreases a store's profitability relative to other stores in the same system also puts that store a disadvantage in the internal competition for resources," he writes. If you prefer your libertarians angrier and more expansive, try this.
Saul Levmore, dean of the University of Chicago Law School, observes that a progressive city income tax could have been used for the same purpose, and more efficiently--if anyone trusted the city to spend the proceeds appropriately.
Soap Blox Chicago has a map showing the location of wards of aldermen voting against the ordinance.
If you're not confused enough yet, there's a nice summary of the bottom-line-driven "greening" of Wal-Mart over at the environmental site Gristmill.