Despite the fact that we have a resident "expert" on the minimum wage, I think Paul Krugman got it right here:
So what are the effects of increasing minimum wages? Any Econ 101 student can tell you the answer: The higher wage reduces the quantity of labor demanded, and hence leads to unemployment. This theoretical prediction has, however, been hard to confirm with actual data. Indeed, much-cited studies by two well-regarded labor economists, David Card and Alan Krueger, find that where there have been more or less controlled experiments, for example when New Jersey raised minimum wages but Pennsylvania did not, the effects of the increase on employment have been negligible or even positive. Exactly what to make of this result is a source of great dispute. Card and Krueger offered some complex theoretical rationales, but most of their colleagues are unconvinced; the centrist view is probably that minimum wages "do," in fact, reduce employment, but that the effects are small and swamped by other forces. What is remarkable, however, is how this rather iffy result has been seized upon by some liberals as a rationale for making large minimum wage increases a core component of the liberal agenda. [Emphasis added]It is shocking that Krugman use to be so rational. A far cry from his present fire breathing style.(Via Greg Mankiw)P.S. Hammond, I'm hoping to get a debate going here (here is some material you could use).