“She still makes only $7.90 an hour, even after working a decade in the same place” Sounds like she needs to find a new place to work. If the minimum wages are increased a significant amount, then the cost of living will increase more to pay for additional tax and bookkeeping costs, so her increased minimum wage will buy even less. The key to making your way of life a little easier is to get employment that makes as much ABOVE the minimum wage as possible, otherwise, you are just chasing your tail, spitting in the wind, (add your favorite metaphor), etc. Higher minimum wages just increase your cost of living. Making more than the minimum increases your quality of life.