Last week Service Employees International Union (SEIU) organized a wave of “Fight for $15” protests in 150 cities nationwide. Obama also lent his support to the campaign during his Labor Day remarks in Milwaukee.

The stated reason is raising the current minimum wage to $15—almost double the current hourly wage.  But like last year’s protests, the real reason is upping union membership.

The protests are supported by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which spent a reported $2 million on last year’s campaign. Adding more than 4.4 million fast-food employees who aren’t currently unionized for the most part would bring their membership from some 2 million dues-paying members to more than 6 million.

But for such a move to succeed it takes years of faulty economics instruction. According to Investor’s Business Daily:

These protests, organized by the infamous purple shirts of the Service Employees International Union, simply ignore economic reality.

It is a testimony to the economic ignorance taught in our nation's schools, supplemented by mass media misinformation, that these protesters believe that wages come from business owners' private stashes and not from the revenues from customers who buy that business' goods and services. Basic economic principles have been supplanted by demands for social justice. …

The protesters apparently don't understand that if you raise the minimum wage of fast-food workers, you raise the price of the fast food they serve. That cuts into profits and limits job opportunities. The irony is that these workers would find that the extra money they might earn would be consumed by the higher prices they themselves would have to pay.

Wages should be determined by the value of your labor, not the lifestyle you wish to live. It used to be that if you wanted a higher wage, you studied hard and worked harder. Now you're just supposed to write your legislator or call for union help. Equal opportunity has become supplanted by demands for equal success as politicians try to buy votes with other people's money.

Official estimates suggest that just increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would result in more than 500,000 lost jobs. The minimum wage is not an effective way to reduce poverty. Targeted assistance programs can help people in need, but to keep people on their feet and consistently earning better wages, the policy focus should be on job creation and expanding educational opportunities for Americans of all ages.