These are some of the most interesting points:
First, people should acknowledge that this rather heated policy discussion is over a very small group of people. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are about 3.6 million workers at or below the minimum wage (you can be below legally under certain conditions). That is 2.5 percent of all workers and 1.5 percent of the population of potential workers. Within that small group, 31 percent are teenagers and 55 percent are 25 years old or younger. That leaves only about 1.1 percent of all workers over 25 and 0.8 percent of all Americans over 25 earning the minimum wage.
Within that tiny group, most of these workers are not poor and are not trying to support a family on only their earnings.
This group of workers is also shrinking. In 1980, 15 percent of hourly workers earned the minimum wage. Today that share is down to only 4.7 percent.
Liberals have been trumpeting a study claiming that if the minimum wage had risen in tandem with worker productivity, the minimum wage would be nearly $22 per hour. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has gone to great lengths to push this statistic into the policy debate....Labor productivity may have risen faster than the minimum wage over the last twenty or thirty years, but the study getting all the press uses the productivity gains of all workers to calculate a hypothetical increase in the minimum wage. What is needed is a measure of the productivity gains of minimum wage workers....Taking a longer view, from 1987 to 2012 the same BLS data show that worker productivity in the food service sector rose by an average of 0.6 percent per year. In limited service restaurants, the gains were slightly lower, only averaging 0.5 percent per year. Meanwhile, unit labor costs have risen by an average of 3.6 percent. Over this period the minimum wage has risen from $3.35 to $7.25 per hour which is an average annual increase of 3.1 percent. In other words, at least in food service, the minimum wage has risen at a rate five or six times as fast as justified by the gains in worker productivity.
The myth that minimum wage workers are being treated unfairly is exposed by a look at the correct data on labor productivity. In a truthful debate we see that the minimum wage has been generous to workers receiving it when compared to the changes in the value of their output.