The question is simplistic. Yes, the minimum wage is good to an extent. From my research, it's not clear to what extent. Economists don't seem to agree on this issue. Studies don't seem to agree either. The sides are polarized and there's little complex, data-driven discussion about the minimum wage. Most of it is sadly entrenched in theoretical discussions and assumptions that the other side isn't worth considering because something is inherently wrong with the other side.
The minimum wage is good to some extent. Workers need some kind of wage protections. But of course, there are limits to everything. How do we really determine when the minimum wage becomes a problem for the economy? Is the current limit $9/hr? $5/hr? $12?? $25? $45?
And in what ways would it become a problem? How are we to know? Many say that a higher minimum wage will increase unemployment. A number of studies support this. On the other hand, the Economic Policy Institute is a left-wing think tank that posts sophisticated analyses of data and argues that the minimum wage needs to be raised, period. I think they also posted a meta-analysis of all the studies on minimum wage, and they say that the studies that show negative impact of higher minimum wage are all methodologically flawed. Without having a background in econ or math, I find it hard to wade through all this info and make sense of it for myself, but I do think that data are important. So I'm glad to see an organization focusing on it massive amounts of economics data to answer this question.
On the other hand, the most recent minimum wage increases suspiciously coincided with the dips in employment during the Great Recession. And it seems to make sense that unemployment would rise with an increased minimum wage - at some point, at least. Are we at that point yet? Hard to say. But why is no one funding more research into this? Because, politics.
When you work for a company, it's a lot like selling a service to that company. Of course, if the cost of the service goes up, a small company wouldn't be able to afford as much help. Still, again, when does the minimum wage become a problem? Who knows?
Arguably, a high minimum wage prevents people from getting on-the-job training because it's harder to break into the job market. There's some compelling evidence to this point. Yet, the correlations are complex. There are many economic factors affecting unemployment, poverty, etc. The Earned Income Tax Credit is a better solution to poverty, according to Economist.Com.
A friend of mine argued that some cities may have better luck with a high minimum than others, due to the types of jobs found in that city. For example, restaurant work. Restaurants aren't just going to up and move out of the city if the minimum wage goes up a dollar or two. But a factory? Hmm.
Not as simple as yes or no.
It's shameful that we as a society can ask employees to work for minimum wage, and when they can't make ends meet, suggest to them that they simply get a second job. There's no reason somebody should have to work up to eighty hours in a week just to be able to pay their rent. Corporations should be disgusted, and since they aren't, we as people should take a stand against it.