Raising the federal minimum wage will end up hurting instead of helping those at the bottom of the wage scale. Thomas Carlyle characterized economics as "the dismal science," and it is indeed regrettable that economic analysis shows this humanitarian gesture will not work.
Many proponents of raising the minimum wage implicitly subscribe to a static view of the world, in which workers could get more and business less without anything else changing. The real world is bound to disappoint them. For when the cost of a resource rises a reaction will ensue.
First, a fall occurs in the amount of the resource demanded. When wages are forced up, companies find that some jobs are no longer worthwhile. This hits especially hard on the less skilled people at the bottom, whom the proposal is designed to help! Keeping a few extra sales clerks on at night or hiring an extra hand for the lunchtime rush becomes far less attractive when it costs several thousand dollars more per year.
Second, there is a substitution effect, a search for a less expensive way to accomplish the same goal. For example, when the price of butter rises people tend to use more margarine. In the same manner a rise in wages leads companies to substitute skilled for unskilled workers, to replace numbers of less-skilled workers with machines and a few highly trained workers, and to look for cheaper labor sources (i.e., overseas).