In my syndicated column this week, I talk about unpaid internships.
Unpaid internships are great. They are win-win. They let young people experiment with careers, and figure out what they'd like and what they're good at. They help employers produce better things and recruit new employees.
I've used interns all my career. They have done some of my best research. Some became journalists themselves. Many told me: "Thank you! I learned more working for you than I learned in college, and I didn't have to pay tuition!"
But statists claim that minimum wage jobs and unpaid internships are unfair. Politicians want to "protect us" from first jobs.
First, they raise the minimum wage. Forcing employers to pay $7.25 an hour leaves them reluctant to give unskilled kids a chance -- why pay more than a worker can produce? So they offer fewer "first" jobs.
On top of that, the Obama Labor Department has issued a fact sheet that says free internships are only legal if the employer derives "no immediate advantage" from the intern.
Are you kidding me? What's the point of that? I want interns who are helpful!
The result is fewer opportunities for new workers and unskilled workers. Government should allow consenting adults to create as many "first" jobs as possible. Full column here.