The battle over raising the U.S. minimum wage is familiar. "Higher wages will raise prices and shut down businesses!" Alternately, "We need to support families, not poverty!"
An NBCNews.com story Thursday on the potential effects of higher wages on tipping unleashed hundreds of comments.
(Read more: 'Zero tip' if minimum wage rises)
"If the entire obama [sic] reign was not so tragic it would be comical....now the lower middle class is pitted against the working middle class," one reader said.
"Life shouldn't be easy for unskilled laborers," another reader concluded.
And perhaps this reader summed it up best, "Please advise the wait staff of your no tip policy before the food comes. **Spit** "
The wage fight is vocal and contentious as ever. But beyond high emotions, experiences of small-business owners, workers and employment experts suggest a mixed bag for how pay hikes would affect the American economy. Turns out the minimum-wage battle also is about the emergence of two economic realities. A prosperous, recovering America for some, and a less certain path for others still struggling after the recession.