The accumulated evidence undermines the case for minimum wages even in the best of times. I recognize that there is continuing debate about some of the effects of minimum wages, and that strong public support for higher minimums — regardless of the evidence — will likely lead to future increases.
One of the things that drives most economists bonkers is the public support for minimum wage laws. I try not to let it ruin my day. In a nutshell, minimum wage laws cause both short term gains and pains, but cause serious long term problems for everyone, especially the poor. Economists suspect that most people don’t understand the facts. The economists are probably right, but even if people did understand, they might still support minimum wage laws due to an addiction to short term thinking. We live in an age of shortened attention spans where feeling good trumps doing good. Minimum wage laws allow people to feel good about themselves for helping the poor. Actually doing good for the poor is another matter altogether.