With regards to the historical record and the minimum wage, maybe we'd do well to see what's happened with unemployment, and how it correlates to minimum wage hikes. Here is the history of the minimum wage, and here is the history of unemployment in the United States.
From the first link, we learn that hikes in the minimum wage appeared in 1938, 1946, 1950, 1956, 1962, 1964, 1967, 1968, from 1975 to 1981, in 1991 and 1992, in 1997 and 1998, and from 2007 to 2009.
From the second link, we learn that unemployment spiked in 1938, 1946, 1950, 1958, from 1976 to 1982, from 1991 to 1993, and of course from 2008 to 2010. In short, every increase in the minimum wage except for those in the 1960s and the 1997-8 increases were accompanied by corresponding increases in unemployment. During the 1960s, of course, many prospective minimum wage earners were sent to work in a place called "Vietnam", and in 1997 and 1998, the dot-com boom was still underway.
In short, we're seeing exactly what sound economists would predict. When the economy is sound, increasing the minimum wage is meaningless because people are already earning more than the minimum wage. When it is not, it's suicidal because it puts otherwise-employable workers into a situation where they must demand a wage that is higher than their productivity. That situation is--at least among smart businessmen--called "unemployment."
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