Raising the minimum wages does two things. It brings in more tax dollars to the government which is what Obama wants and it raises the standard of living for the poorest workers in this country. Let's be honest, after 5 years the minimum wage should be raised. Large companies like Walmart, Starbucks, Home Depot along with millions of retail and food service businesses have made huge profits due to cheap labor. People can't even afford to own a car, pay insurance and gas to get to those jobs. Even at $9/hr. you are talking $360/week gross pay for 40 hours of work, not exactly a living wage. Those people work just as hard as most people, half the country is stuck working minimum wage jobs simply because there are no other jobs to be had. You or I wouldn't think of working for that and I would be ashamed to have someone working for me at minimum wage.
Those jobs used to be for students and housewives looking for a little extra money, they were never meant to be full time jobs for adults. in the last 30 years we have lost tens of millions of good jobs to Asia and Latin America which were replaced with retail jobs. I think these retail and service industries can well afford to pay better wages, $18k a year for full time work isn't going to break them. Maybe the management could cut back a little on their huge bonuses and stock options. Earnings keep going up but the workers haven't seen a raise in 5 years, we should be ashamed as a country to make people work for under $8/hr.