Well, among other things, you get employers looking for ways to replace human workers with automated ones. To be sure, the process of worker automation is inevitable regardless of whether there has been an increase in the minimum wage. But if you are a human being interested in keeping a job, minimum wage increases–especially sharp and sudden increases to $15 per hour–don’t help human beings keep their jobs. The only thing they do is cause managers and bosses to look for ways to cheaply replace human labor.
And of course, human labor isn’t just threatened by the process of automation. It is also threatened by managers and bosses deciding that they just won’t hire as many people as they expected to hire because they would not be able to afford paying those people a significantly elevated minimum wage. As I have written repeatedly, the best way to help the working poor is through the earned income tax credit. Unfortunately, port-side politicians and political movements are more interested in headline-grabbing campaigns to raise the minimum wage than in actually advocating policies that will measurably and consequentially assist the working poor.