One of the cool things about being self-employed is that you are free to violate minimum wage laws. That was something my wife and I did regularly during the 13 years we owned and operated our business. It wasn't the plan but it often worked out that way.
Except for the self-employed and my waitstaff friends out there, most of you don't have that legal right to offer your services below the government mandated wage. For the longest time, this wasn't much of an issue since most wages were as high or higher than the official rate. When I started working as a teenager at a buck ninety an hour, I thought that was good money compared to the crummy minimum wage of $1.65.
There are proposals to raise the minimum wage from a crummy $7.25 to a crummy $10.10 an hour. Unfortunately, both numbers are hardly insignificant to many employers. When operating on a thin and volatile profit margin, it doesn't take much to go under. Once under, unless the business is “too big to fail,” a business stays under, and so ends contributions to the economy and the tax base. It's usually easier for a bigger company to adjust to added costs than it is the small-time operator. “Mom and Pop” business closings typically aren't headline news.