Seriously though, there needs to be a balance between labor and capital, what we might call positive tension. Capital needs to be profitable (overall) and labor, in an economy that is made up 70% consumer spending, needs to pay labor enough to grow consumption. Anything less cannibalizes the economy. Business alone would have no problem cannibalizing the economy, the sustainability of the economy is not in the purview of corporate management, their responsibility is enhancing shareholder value. Labor on the other hand does not care about shareholder value, only labor compensation. Either side of the equation, when out of balance, can harm the economy, and ultimately harm both shareholder value and employee compensation.
Here's the current situation, supply siders and regulatory capturers haave been winning on policy for decades, throwing the equation out of balance in favor of capital. Capital is doing fantastic at the moment, but it is unsustainable as labor has see compensation stagnate for decades, so in order to continue to enhance shareholder value, capital has had to find other ways of increasing profitability besides generating greater and greater revenues from American consumers. This has included outsourcing labor to cheap foreign markets, replacing labor with technology, reducing customer service costs, and simple downward wage pressure on workers.
So while capital is showing record profits, the reality is that these profits are just manifestations of our economy eating itself and this path ends when there is nothing left to cannibalize, capital will move on to different markets, and America will become a 2nd world country.
The miniumun wage debate is really just labor (not unions specifically, but wage earners in general) attempting to bring pressure to bear on capital to bring balance to the equation.
Henry Ford did not raise wages because he wanted his workers to be able to buy his cars, that was something that someone else said after the fact, and Ford just liked the sound of it. Ford raised wages to higher than any of his competitors were paying because he wanted better (and more loyal) workers than his competitors had. There was competition in the labor market as happens in a good consumption based economy. Our problem now is that we are still consumption based, but with consumers having less and less purchasing power. We need policy that puts more money in the hands of American consumers and there are a number of actions that can be taken to this end, not the least of which is considering how much virtual slave labor we should allow to manufacture imports without penalty. The minimun wage is another step.
The minimum wage increase alone will do very little, it will just create a greater ROI for moving jobs to foreign workers when and where possible. We need to take away the ROI of moving jobs to the extent possible to allow for wage competition in THIS country, or we can kiss the greatest middle class the world has ever seen goodbye.