The elasticity between wages and inflation is the problem. Minimum wage goes up, everything else goes up making the new minimum wage as inadequate as the old minimum wage, but then the people who made more their wage value is effectively less (as I believe someone already mentioned). So, the way to make it so someone who flips burgers or cleans hotel rooms can actually survive on their wages is to bring inflation down to reasonable levels. $5 cups of coffee, $65k pickup trucks, and $1M urban apartments in shitty neighborhoods do not indicate a healthy economy, they are signs of a failing economy (the currency has little value). In order for a person to have a baseline existence on the lowest of wages the value of the dollar must go way up from where it is today. Cup of coffee $0.50, pickup truck $6500, apartment $35k to own/$325 to rent. That's about how the economy was when I started my first job at just above minimum wage for the time and I lived quite well. Bought a bass and amp, a beat up car, had some roommates but lived in a proper house, never worried much about money. I think our electric bill came in at around $15 a month for three people in a three bedroom house. Funny, looking back I never had money worries until I started making lots of money. That is the other wisdom>knowledge aspect to this. Raising minimum wage may contribute to overspending and debt accrual leading to depression and ultimately a less enjoyable life.