The debate over minimum wage becomes clouded when you are in the service industry. Recently a local restaurant owner analyzed his own payroll since Andy raised the server wage from $5 an hour to $7.50. (It's due to go up further in the future, as the overall minimum wage rises.)
The actual reported wage for servers ranged from $24 to $32 an hour taking into account tips. Realize that even in the credit card age, some tips flow in cash and are seldom reported, so hourly rates could be higher. Of course some employers also pay above the statutory minimum.
Based on my experience these numbers see in the ball park, with some higher and some lower.
Now, of course there is a distortion as this is not something you can earn over five eight hour periods. A lot of servers are on much shorter shifts. Pay varies with the quality of service, the likeability and appearance of the server, the menu, the clientele and the nature of the establishment.
So government trying to establish appropriate wages doesn't always work as easily as thought.