After my prior post, I have summarized the chart I included from Mark Perry to the key data that I think really makes the point. Household income is obviously a product of hours worked and hourly wages. Looking at the chart below, poverty seems to be much more a function of not working than it is of low wages. Which makes California's decision to raise the price of hiring unskilled workers by 50% (by raising their minimum wage from $10 to $15) all the more misguided.
Note the calculations in the last two lines, which look at two approaches to fighting poverty. If we took the poorest 20% and kept their current number of hours worked the same, but magically raised their hourly earnings to that of the second quintile (ie from $14.21 to $17.33), it would increase their annual household income by $2,558, a 22% increase (I say magically because clearly if wages are raised via a minimum wage mandate, employment in this groups would drop even further, likely offsetting most of the gains). However, if instead we did nothing to their wages but encouraged more employment such that their number of workers rose to that of the second quintile, this would increase household income by a whopping $13,357, a 115% percent increase.
From this, would you logically try to fight poverty by forcing wages higher (which will almost surely reduce employment) or by trying to increase employment?