The Washington Times - April 10, 2010, 12:24PM

Apparently, the administration’s campaign arm knows the reciprocal benefits of offering unpaid internships, so why take that option away from private businesses?

Such arrogance is reminiscent of the health care mandates that will exempt select congressional staffers who work for committees or leadership offices. This shows yet another blatant example of a “Do as I say, not as I do” policy position of the Obama administration, and hitting businesses like this will win him no further fans in the struggling private sector.


At a time when the unemployed are concerned about not only money but also loss of job skills,the Obama administration’s top law enforcement officer at the Labor Department, M. Patricia Smith, is looking to come down on companies who give unpaid internships to young people. An editorial in The Washington Times on April 7 stated:

“Basic economics teaches that if the price is raised, demand falls. If companies have to pay wages, they will take on fewer interns. If these youngsters were actually benefiting companies more than it costs to train them, companies would pay them. Profit-seeking companies compete against each other for employees. If untrained students were such valuable workers, firms would gladly offer money to beat out the competitor next door to get them.”

The New York Times reported that Nancy J. Leppink, the acting director of the department’s Wage and Hour Division, said, “If you’re a for-profit employer or you want to pursue an internship with a for-profit employer, there aren’t going to be many circumstances where you can have an internship and not be paid and still be in compliance with the law.”

The unemployment rate among teenagers and college students is 26 percent, reports Red State’s Erick Erickson, and if companies are forced through government regulation to pay these interns, companies will look to rework their budgets to be in compliance, and fewer students will be offered internships. This means fewer students can be brought in and gain valuable experience in a workplace environment. The federal government is attempting to change the entire point of gaining work skills and create yet another underserved demographic of victims falling prey to private sector companies. 

It is amusing to see the Obama administration creating the image of poorly treated unpaid interns, when Mr. Obama’s Organizing for America offered internships to help elect the president during his presidential campaign and still is offering up unpaid  internships today. In fact, the summer organizing program also does not even offer food, transportation or housing stipends:


2008 Presidential campaign internships