I'm currently in Seattle, living as a graduate student. I'm employed in a school associated research lab as a graduate researcher, making the maximum the lab can pay me, per school guidelines, at $15/ hour. This glorious number is set to be the new minimum wage. So let's talk about what it's like to be on minimum wage. Or at least what it will be like.
Should I find a better job? The job I have is a fantastic for when I leave school, providing an exceptional network and excellent experience. I'm doing research to reduce energy use in the construction sector, which benefits society as a whole. Leaving this job would be short sighted. Admittedly, when the minimum wage increases, not all low paying jobs will be like this, but many good jobs still are.
Should I live elsewhere? Rent in the area is high and going higher, so I live with 3 other people. My location is in the city, but in the cheaper areas, not trendy at all and less safe overall, but it works. I live in this city because this is where the jobs are. I could move to the suburbs, but that would require both car payments and gas payments, neither of which are cheap, especially given >$4 gas. Public transportation is an alternative, but it costs both money (2.50 or so a ride) and time (an hour each way, so that's 30 dollars of lost productivity per day). That may not seem like much, but on $15 an hour, it's tough. So I currently bike when I can.
Eating out here is quite expensive, with most non-fast food places providing meals that start at 12-13 dollars and quickly rising from there (and that's the going rate for a burger, the most pedestrian of foods), so I eat in. Can't waste an hours worth of work to have a meal out, after all. It's not terrible, because I can cook quite well, and I've shifted to a primarily vegetarian life style, as meat is expensive.
So at the end of the day, my paycheck goes to food and shelter, both of which are kept as cheap as possible. What little extra I have is saved and used for emergency funds, which can be wiped out pretty quickly in some unforeseen event. God help me if I'm hit by a car, or come down with the flu. Being out of commission for a week is not an option. All in all, I feel I'm doing a good job pushing my future forward. But my present is a fragile system that could be wiped out given a large enough hit.
So what am I saying? Your simplistic idea of "you're an idiot and you should move" completely ignores what life is like on a tight paycheck. There are bright people on a low paycheck, and it's quite the trap. Life on a slim budget has no room for error, and when your entire system revolves around survival, it takes extra work to plan for a future.
What should be more frightening to you is that you are surrounded by people who live like this. The people who take your cash at the starbucks, the people who clean your trash out from your desk. You rely on these people, and yet you look down on them and mock them. You're lucky you are where you are at, because what you do not have to do is pull yourself up from nothing. And if you are the person who came from the mean streets and a poor family, congratulations, you've done something amazing. But if you are, you're an amazing jerk to all those who are trying to do the same thing you did.