The minimum wage hurts the poor. When you set an arbitrary wage floor you ignore market signals. Arbitrary minimum wage laws cannot possibly reflect accurately the dynamic conditions at play in a single market at a given time, let alone multiple markets. The minimum wage purports to know what the wage floor should be across ALL markets, which is why the minimum wage is the height of progressive hubris and ignorance of economics.
When you establish arbitrary minimum wages, you force employers to raise their prices in response. Liberals seem to think you can magically eliminate certain costs, but in this world, you just can’t. I know it’s a bummer that you can’t defy the laws of economics and give everyone a “living wage” just because the idea makes you feel good. The fact is, the minimum wage has the opposite effect of its intent: it prevents opportunities for entry-level job seekers by making it a disincentive for employers to seek out new labor. Without a minimum wage, scores more inner city and poor people would have doors thrown open to them, at which point they would be eligible for promotions, raises and advancement. But with the government setting a minimum wage, employers are loath to hire more people because the cost of doing do is arbitrarily higher than it otherwise would have been had free market conditions been allowed to dictate prices and wages. But with a government-dictated minimum wage, you essentially get government-dictated price increases, which hit consumers. If the fast-food protesters get their way and obtain a $15/hr minimum wage, then the price of all fast food is going to rise. That is the fundamental tenet of Econ 1 that progs just don’t seem to grasp.
If you’re in favor of raising the minimum wage, you’re clueless. The minimum wage should be abolished. All it does is distort the markets in production AND labor. Most often the increased wages are a net wash, as the beneficiary of a higher wage will be met with higher prices as a consumer. If progressives would give up on their fantasy of Leviathan running our lives and having government kindly regulate all risk out of life, and would allow the free market to truly reign, then you would see actual progress in the “war on poverty.” Until then, and as long as government is in charge, malaise and poverty will only persist.