Jobs and Careers
Jobs and Careers

Obama Hurts Job Market Even More by Cracking Down on Internships

| by FRC

With unemployment soaring at 16% for 20-24 year-olds, opportunity isn't exactly knocking. To cope, young people have been beating a path to companies' doors--willing to exhaust every avenue for getting their foot in the door of a struggling job market. Without permanent prospects on the horizon, many of them are turning to internships--even unpaid ones--to beef up their resumes. Here in Washington, D.C., a city powered by interns, President Obama is trying to slam the door shut on a generation already scrambling to find their niche. In a surprise announcement, the U.S. Department of Labor is launching an attack on "unpaid internships," arguing that employers are abusing their eager help. At the very least, officials insist that young adults receive the minimum wage. In effect, the administration will be forcing young workers, who are already at a significant disadvantage in this market, to compete even harder for job training.

Of course, the obvious fallout from this campaign is that companies, already strapped, will take on fewer interns--denying this fresh-faced corps the opportunity to hone their skills and gain valuable real-world experience. Internships are designed to be educational. And during a recession like ours, volunteering in key fields is often these grads' last hope for building important contacts to find work. Apparently, the administration doesn't understand what even these beginners already grasp: working for free usually pays off in the long run.

What's worse, this is the byproduct of a problem that President Obama helped to create. Instead of lightening employers' loads, Washington is forcing them to swallow even more costs (à la the new health care law). Not only do these businesses bear the burden of buying insurance for their workers, but they've also been hit with higher payroll taxes, increased regulation, and ridiculous labor laws. With these new costs, fewer of them can afford to hire more help. Ironically, the population hit hardest by this push is the young demographic he's relying on to pay for his government expansions. (Maybe the administration is forcing businesses to pay interns so that Uncle Sam can tax them!) In the end, his scheme will mostly affect minorities and women, who, as the Washington Examiner points out, make up 76% of the internship force. "Limiting America's Job Opportunities" isn't exactly a platform I would campaign on. But then, we shouldn't be surprised. After all, former President Clinton invented the "paid volunteer" idea with his AmeriCorps program.

With unemployment soaring at 16% for 20-24 year-olds, opportunity isn't exactly knocking. To cope, young people have been beating a path to companies' doors--willing to exhaust every avenue for getting their foot in the door of a struggling job market. Without permanent prospects on the horizon, many of them are turning to internships--even unpaid ones--to beef up their resumes. Here in Washington, D.C., a city powered by interns, President Obama is trying to slam the door shut on a generation already scrambling to find their niche. In a surprise announcement, the U.S. Department of Labor is launching an attack on "unpaid internships," arguing that employers are abusing their eager help. At the very least, officials insist that young adults receive the minimum wage. In effect, the administration will be forcing young workers, who are already at a significant disadvantage in this market, to compete even harder for job training.

Of course, the obvious fallout from this campaign is that companies, already strapped, will take on fewer interns--denying this fresh-faced corps the opportunity to hone their skills and gain valuable real-world experience. Internships are designed to be educational. And during a recession like ours, volunteering in key fields is often these grads' last hope for building important contacts to find work. Apparently, the administration doesn't understand what even these beginners already grasp: working for free usually pays off in the long run.

What's worse, this is the byproduct of a problem that President Obama helped to create. Instead of lightening employers' loads, Washington is forcing them to swallow even more costs (à la the new health care law). Not only do these businesses bear the burden of buying insurance for their workers, but they've also been hit with higher payroll taxes, increased regulation, and ridiculous labor laws. With these new costs, fewer of them can afford to hire more help. Ironically, the population hit hardest by this push is the young demographic he's relying on to pay for his government expansions. (Maybe the administration is forcing businesses to pay interns so that Uncle Sam can tax them!) In the end, his scheme will mostly affect minorities and women, who, as the Washington Examiner points out, make up 76% of the internship force. "Limiting America's Job Opportunities" isn't exactly a platform I would campaign on. But then, we shouldn't be surprised. After all, former President Clinton invented the "paid volunteer" idea with his AmeriCorps program.