The cost of being financially emancipated (self-supporting) has no logical connection with the value of unskilled labor. The minimum wage itself is an economic abomination, as even that Leftist Economic Icon Paul Krugman has admitted IN WRITING (before he became a Democrat hack writer). If an employer can find sufficient numbers of capable, willing people to perform a function at a given wage, then why on earth would he pay more? And what right does the Federal Government have to dictate wages (hint: It has no such power)? When ANY commodity has its price inflated above its true economic value, then there are three inevitable results: (1) the consumers of that commodity will use less of it, (2) the consumers of that commodity will seek out alternatives, and (3) if the difference between the economic value and the price is sufficient, a black market will come into existence to fill the need, at the appropriate market price. These principles apply whether you are talking about potato chips, taxi cab rides, or unskilled labor. In the case of unskilled labor, (a) hours will be cut, (b) the employer will look to automation, labor-saving tools, and contracting out, and (c) the employer will start using "under the table" workers. It is rather well documented and well-known that the keys to financial solvency are: graduate from high school, get a job, and don't have babies unless you are married. While MW is not sufficient to support oneself, TWO PEOPLE earning MW can probably cut it in most locales, and if not, they will not be MW workers for long, unless they are....well, I won't write it.