Every so often we have our issues with Wal-Mart.

But still, no question it's a big success.

Here's a story about how big.

A Wal-Mart opened just over the Chicago city line in a neighboring suburb and now there's a big finger pointing exercise among Chicago's neighborhood pols — aldermen — about whether they should have let Wal-Mart into their ward, actually in the city of Chicago.

Everybody knew they would be losing some tax revenue — a lot.

But questions about Wal-Mart's non-union labor practices, health care plans and others led the aldermen to believe they should not grant permission for Wal-Mart to be actually inside Chicago.

Now Wal-Mart put out a call for applicants for 325 jobs.

They got 25,000 applications. All but 500 were from Chicago residents.

So the aldermen wanted to pressure the company into union-like labor concessions, the company said no, took its tax revenue with it to another municipality which is not Chicago and 24,500 Chicagoans show up for jobs the aldermen didn't want in their city.

This is a profound embarrassment for the city politicians who torpedoed the South Side Wal-Mart.

First, they gave the neighboring town a windfall of an extra million dollars a year in taxes. The town is now figuring out what to do with all the extra dough.

You have the Chicago alderman who tried to get Wal-Mart into the city and was rebuffed saying, "For all practical purposes, Wal-Mart is in the city of Chicago without us receiving any benefit."

Then, 24,500 city residents further embarrass the anti-Wal-Mart aldermen by showing up for jobs that could have been in their own city.

Why does this happen? Union politics is a good guess. I don't think there's much doubt that the idea that won the day when it came to a vote 18 months ago was that Wal-Mart shouldn't be in a union town hiring for non-union jobs, jobs which don't carry union type benefits.

The previous record high of job applicants was in Oakland, California. Eleven thousand applied for a few hundred jobs. Twenty-four thousand plus sets a new record and should be a monument to the foolishness of Chicago politics.

That's My Word.

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