While economists are divided, most media observers seem to assume the government can simply impose higher costs on employers — without any negative consequences. (In fact, some go so far as to argue that doing so would have only salutary benefits. For example, some believe it would have a sort of Keynesian stimulus effect, whereby putting extra cash in the hands of employees would, in turn, create more customers with cash to spend).
They explain this by arguing that my aforementioned illustration (about hiring two people versus just one) is static, while the real world is dynamic. As such, they insist that when employers are forced to raise the minimum wage, instead of hiring fewer people, they will instead, 1). Pass on the cost to the consumer, 2). Attract better, more productive workers (thus increasing profits), 3). Increase the morale of the workers (thus increasing profits), 4). Reduce employee turnover (thus increasing profits and minimizing training/hiring costs).