The minimum wage should be raised to at least $15 per hour to stimulate the economy. Companies can afford it. More than 60 percent of minimum wage workers are employed by companies that earned more than $1 billion.
Wal-Mart last year spent $7.6 billion buying back its own stock. If executives took that money they could give each of their employees a raise of $5.83 per hour so a full-time employee would earn $25,000 per year. This would not cost the consumer one cent in higher prices and Wal-Mart stock would not suffer.
A minimum wage forces the rest of society to subsidize the cost of living of those workers through taxes to pay for food assistance and Medicaid. Minimum wage pay to workers does not generate consumer demand that supports jobs that then would help lead to economic recovery. Higher wages do support profits of companies by fueling demand of their products.
From the mid1800s to 1978 wages and productivity were constant. From 1978 to today, wages (adjusted for inflation) have been flat. We have not received a raise in more than 35 years while corporate profits have soared.
If wages had stayed constant with productivity, the housing bubble of 2008 would have been minimized. It is the poor and middle class demand that fuels the economy and it won't happen with lower wages.