Economic Growth

Why Are Politicians Killing Off "First Jobs"?

From raising the minimum wage, to regulating internships, Washington doesn't allow young people to get experience.

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What was your first job?

I stuck pieces of plastic and metal together at an Evanston, Ill., assembly line. We produced photocopiers for a company called American Photocopy.

I hated the work. It was hot and boring. But it was useful. It taught me to get good grades in school so I might have other choices.

Four years later, good grades got me a job as a researcher at a TV station.

To my surprise, that became a career. I never planned to be a TV reporter. I hadn't even watched TV news. I never took a journalism course.

But by showing up and trying stuff, I found a career.

I write about this because I'm appalled watching politicians kill off "first" jobs. (They say it's to protect us.)

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 bureaucrats say they will crack down on companies that don't pay, but that's a terrible thing to do.

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!

I could have paid them, but then I would have used fewer interns. When I worked at ABC, the network decided to pay them—$10 an hour—but it also cut the number of internships by half. Politicians don't get it. Neither do most people. Polls show that Americans support raising the minimum wage. Most probably also support limits on unpaid internships, believing that they replace paid work.

But they don't.

OK, sometimes they do. But the free exchange of labor creates so many good things that, in the long run, more jobs are created and many more people get paid work—and we get better work.

But American politicians think they "protect" workers by limiting employers' (and workers') choices and giving handouts to the unemployed.

Outside a welfare office near Fox News, I was told that because of high unemployment, there are no jobs: "There's nothing out there. Nothing." I asked my team to check that out. They walked around for two hours, and within a few blocks of that welfare office they found lots of businesses that want to hire people. On the same block where I was told that there are no jobs, a store manager said he was desperate for applicants. "We need like two or three people all the time."

Of the 79 businesses that we asked, 40 said they would hire. Twenty-four said they would take people with no experience. All wished more people would apply.

I told German Munoz, a recent high school graduate, about one of the jobs offered, at a soul food restaurant. He went there and was hired to wash dishes for minimum wage. Within a few days, he was promoted to busboy—then to waiter. Now, two weeks later, he makes twice the minimum wage. German doesn't want a career as a waiter, but he says it's great having a real first job.

"I meet successful people, and they give good advice and tips on how to become successful. I love it. I love going there every day and learning new stuff. It is like a stepping stone," he said. Exactly.

Low-wage first jobs are indispensable for both personal advancement and social progress. Our best hope for prosperity is the free market. Government must get out of our way and allow consenting adults to create as many "first" jobs as possible.

John Stossel (read his Reason archive) is the host of Stossel, which airs Thursdays on the FOX Business Network at 9 pm ET and is rebroadcast on Saturdays and Sundays at 9pm & midnight ET. Go here for more info.

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  1. Stossel post on Wednesdays now? Give me a break.

    Also, the intern mess was the topic of last week’s show. NYTimes journalist Steven Greenhouse’s argument for outlawing unpaid interns seemed to consist entirely of the assertion that unpaid internships are illegal. Just a terrible advocate of his bullshit position.

    1. Yeah, how are we to find FoE’s live blog when it’s buried in the previous day’s posts?

      1. They’re all arrayed against me.

  2. It’s a perfect cycle for politicians:
    -Raise minimum wage
    -Increase unemployment (and prices)
    -“People need a boost. Let’s raise the minimum wage again.”
    Wash, rinse, repeat.

    It’s like none of them have ever seen a simple supply-demand graph before.

    1. RW meme that raising min wage increases unemployment

      1. same as the RW meme that teh [WEALTHY] create [JERBS] w tax cuts

        1. o3|7.18.12 @ 12:08PM|#
          “same as the RW meme that teh [WEALTHY] create [JERBS] w tax cuts”

          So, dipshit, there’s no problem raising the minimum wage to $100/hour?
          Where did you earn your degree in Stupid?

          1. Aren’t you the one flinging around strawman accusations all the fucking time?

          2. Aren’t you the one flinging around strawman accusations all the fucking time?

            1. Still no.

      2. You are correct in one way.

        If the minimum wage is already lower than the prevailing wage, then you may not see a big jump in unemployment when it is raised.

        For example, when McDonalds is already paying $6/hour due to inflation, their employment will not be affected if the minimum wage goes from $3.65/hour to $4.50 per hour.

        But, it obviously has an effect and progressives saying it doesn’t will not change the truth. The higher unemployment rates for teens and minorities are a clear sign.

        1. Now the real question is will he move the goalposts, construct a strawman or ignore this!

          1. o3 follows the true principle behind Hit and Run.

        2. They don’t intend to raise unemployment; their intent is to give people a better life.

          So how dare you question their intentions by pointing out the results?

          You big meanie!

        3. I suspect $7.25 is below the prevailing wage. Even the crappy jobs I see are advertised starting @ $8. (FL min is $7.67)

          1. that’s correct baked.

            and just look at the minimum-cents responses below

            VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

          2. Some wages are indexed to minimum wage.
            For example if their union contract gives them minimum plus five, then they get a raise when minimum is increased.

          3. Can you state that for the entire country? um…no…

            There are plenty of areas where the basic entry jobs are exactly at min wage. Oh wait, that’s in flyover country, so no one cares…jerks.

            1. Central FL is no longer flyover country? I’m sure this will come as a surprise to the residents of Alachua, Lake, and Hardee counties.

              1. Don’t forget Sumter and Polk.

                Oh wait, forget Polk.

            2. I just moved away from Kentucky earlier this year and even gas station attendant and grocery store cashier jobs were paying over $9 an hour. Sure there were minimum wage jobs around but you had to look REALLY hard to find them.

        4. See also.. price floor!

          If the price floor is below equilibrium, nothing happens. If it is above, you get a surplus, in this case it is a surplus of labor i.e. excess unemployment/not enough jobs.

        5. There’s another consequence of minimum wage laws that exists even when the minimum wage is far below the prevailing wage. I’m looking for a part-time job while I attend school, but my paper resume is terrible, so I often don’t even get an interview. I’d love to be able to say to a company, “I understand my resume is not very impressive and you might not want to take a chance on me, so to make myself a more attractive candidate I’m willing to work for half the stated wage for x time, during which I hope to demonstrate my work is worth the full stated pay.” But such an offer would almost certainly put me below minimum wage, so I can’t do that. Oh well, off to the welfare office…

      3. The one thing you’re good at, o3, is serving as a bad example. I had no idea that one of the base ideas of economics is just a stupid RW meme.

        1. All ideas of basic economics are just RW memes to urine.

          1. so tell us all about teh [JOBS] romney created w offshore tax-haven bank accounts?…not counting swiss accounting jobs acourse

            1. o3|7.18.12 @ 12:30PM|#
              “so tell us all about teh [JOBS] romney created w offshore tax-haven bank accounts?…not counting swiss accounting jobs acourse”

              Dipshit, leave the goal posts where they were.

              1. Rule #1 of Ideological Douchebags: When the arguement suddenly goes against you, subtley alter the focus of discussion.

                1. Wait, I missed the subtle part.

            2. quit pounding the tard drum tards

            3. I fail to see what Mitt Romney or job creation has to do with an argument over whether changes in the minimum wage impacts employment rates for marginal workers?

              1. When you have the facts on your side, pound on the facts. When you don’t have the facts on your side, pound on the table.

      4. Sure, orrin, so why not raise the minimum wage to $50/Hr so everyone makes six figures, and thus ensure prosperity for everyone?

        1. I’ll answer for her:

          Bush did something or other.

        2. because that’s above prevailing wages…duh

          1. So…. if there are prevailing wages that have nothing to do with the minimum wage, wtf do we need a minimum wage?

            1. Because FAIRNESS requires that everyone get exactly the same wage. Those under the prevailing wage get raises, those above it get taxed. Except for the wise and benevolent thinkers who come up with shit like this.

          2. Oh you are so close to understanding just a few more synapses and you might get there some day.

            Ok so you understand that there is a relationship between minimum wages and prevailing wages that impacts unemployment levels.

            Now what is the relationship between minimum wages and prices?

        3. It will insure that the price of everything skyrockets and that $50 will buy exactly the same thing that $7.25 bought. If progressives are so smart, why is it that they haven’t figured this out yet?

        4. uuhh…uuhh…wow, math is hard!

      5. It’s a rw meme that raising price of something decreases quantity demanded?

        Are you a fucking moron? Oh ya, you are. nevermind.

        1. so u completely missed the prevailing wage discussion just above…on this thread…5 minutes before u posted?!?

          1. After playing the retard card, o3 switches tactics and pretends to suddenly know something about economics.

            1. whadda u, emmerson’s buttplug?

      6. It is a demonstrable fact that raising the minimum wage decreases employment.

        The question is really, what is the price elasticity of labor. It might be a small effect. It might be a large effect.

        Numbers I have seen say that at current wages, every 10% increase in the minimum wage decreases employment amoung labor classes at minimum wage levels by about 3%.

        What you should really be arguing is that that 10% gain in wages for the other 97% is worth it.

        1. Back in the 90s, a couple of economists wrote a book stating this fact. Then they went to work for the Clinton administration and promptly recanted their own work.

      7. Actually, it does, particularly for non-white teenagers.

      8. That’s not a RW meme. That’s an economic certainty, dipshit.

  3. This way more people will be dependent on government, though! And fewer riff-raff will be able to ascend to the elite!

    Mission accomplished!

  4. only legal if the employer derives “no immediate advantage” from the intern.

    As a regulatory compliance specialist, I can tell you I have no idea how to comply with that. If the intern does anything at all that you would otherwise have a paid employee do (like make copies, or coffee), then you have probably flunked.

    It taught me to get good grades in school so I might have other choices.

    My father always had a summer job lined up for me. I learned later that he intentionally got the worst ones he could find, so that I could see what my life would be like if I didn’t get straight As.

    1. My nephew’s doing a law school internship for a county judge.

      Unpaid, of course.

    2. Not sure why I’d advise my company to do anything other than drop internships. If they become minimum wage positions, then the number of internships offered will decrease dramatically.

    3. My father always had a summer job lined up for me.

      Nepotism alert.
      You’re making my point for me.

      Rich people use unpaid internships as a way to maintain the advantages of their own offspring.

      How many kids from poor families have a dad who can line up a summer intership for them?

      1. I think you missed the point. He said summer “job” not summer “internship”.

        1. True, but still. It’s nice to have someone around who can line up for a job for you.

          It’s still nepotism. He’s benefitting from family connections that other kids don’t have.

          1. ..and the solution to this is… ?

            1. A corporate ethics movement.

              1. A corporate ethics movement.

                We already have one. Or have you not been paying attention to the stylings of a one Eliot Spitzer?

          2. I think you’ve confused “nepotism” with “parenting”.

          3. This complaint is approaching Tony-grade stupid.

      2. HazelMeade|7.18.12 @ 12:42PM|#
        “How many kids from poor families have a dad who can line up a summer intership for them?”

        So what? Why is purple?

      3. “Nepotism alert.
        You’re making my point for me.”

        What point is that? That only rich people know someone that would have a person work for nothing? You think these kids from Ukraine have wealthy parents?
        http://www.usukraine.org/intern.shtml

      4. And, clearly, we need to shift that hiring from those who can afford to work for free to those with the pull to get their kid a job for less than he’s worth.

      5. Nepotism alert.

        (1) Not if the job wasn’t working for him. And they typically weren’t.

        (2) The one summer I worked at his plant, was the worst job I ever had.

        (3) Isn’t nepotism supposed to confer some kind of advantage, as opposed to the infliction of suffering?

    4. As a regulatory compliance specialist, I can tell you I have no idea how to comply with that.

      That’s why you’re not the one making the rules, you’re the one interpreting the rules.

    5. The way you comply is you make sure the intern does an amount of destruction (or costs you in other ways) at least equal to the value of his work.

  5. It all boils down to one rule but few seem to be able to follow it.

    My favorite version is MYOFB.

    1. Why do you hate the childrunz Bill?

  6. “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.”

    Wait, what? Is there actually some sort of problem they’re trying to address here, or is this just ill-advised navel gazing gone awry?

    1. Wait, what? Is there actually some sort of problem they’re trying to address here, or is this just ill-advised navel gazing gone awry?

      Welcome to politics!

    2. Profit is evil.

  7. 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.

    Then why the fuck in the world would they take on the intern? These people are conceivably the stupidest people ever to reign in Washington. If you think like them, you have an extra chromosome. There is no question.

    1. That may be the point; they may be thinking that if employers can’t use interns they will hire more paid employees and goose the economy.

      1. Until those employees realize they’re working for intern pay and storm off because they don’t need to settle for that pissant pay grade.

        1. They’re ENTITLED to more!

      2. Tulpa got it.

        The “no immediate advantage” language is just a de facto ban, with lipstick on it.

        1. They turned the whole country into a “may issue” state, and then said, “see, you have the right to bear arms!”

      3. Yep. As our enlightened masters have reasoned out, the only reason employers aren’t hiring vast swarms of people right off the streets is because they’re mean greedy bastards who’d prefer to do business in a terrible economy where they can enslave poor unsuspecting interns.

  8. You guys need to find better industries. ChemE summer internships pay for relocation and about $20/hr. I had friends in HS who did internships as mouse gods for a biotech firm (no really, their job was to run gene sequencing on mouse embryos and kill the ones that didn’t have the gense the company was looking for) and made $10/hr. So yeah, science internships in industry pay.

    1. Not everyone wants a career in science. But, if you’re at all talented in that field, there will be a lot of demand for your skills and minimum wage will not be a barrier to your employment.

      This article is not about skilled people wanting a job, though.

      1. But it is about internships, which these were. And they paid well because jobs in the field for actual trained employees started at $30/hr and up. So the companies get to give you a prolonged OTJ probationary period, knowing you are untrained and not completely educated in the field at a discount of -$10/hr or more before risking a full time employment offer.

        1. I was paid pretty substantial money as a legal fellow at the White House, which is really just an internship by another name.

          I think the labels confuse the issue, as there are a large number of unpaid internships out there that should be unpaid.

          The Stetson College of Law down here has a program where students pay for credit to go work with in-house legal departments. The company pays nothing, the student gets in-house experience, and the school gets paid tuition.

          1. I’m sure there are cases, lots of them, where the compensation in networking (or Stetson’s case, a chance to show you’ve done real work for a real firm on your resume) are worth more to the student than the employer doing the internship. I wasn’t actually coming out against unpaid internships so much as pointing out that when you go into an industry where skilled labor is always in high demand, even interns get paid.

            However, I also had an internship in college where I worked for a state congressman in Austin (I got minimum wage for that, I believe because my family lived in the district.) That availed me nothing in terms of connections or resume, except funny stories about being the “Y2K” expert for my congressional district and talking to wingnuts about the end of the world that wasn’t.

          2. Everybody knows that the only place you interned was at the Taco Bell over on 14th.

            1. I’m not sure that hanging out in the men’s bathroom counts as an internship.

              1. Had to learn the proper DC wide stance.

            2. Technically, it was the McDonald’s on 17th. Clinton needed legal review of his Big Macs.

              1. “Oh no Mrs. Clinton, this bag of burgers is totally for the legals, we’re pulling an all nighter”

                1. I worked there when Monica was hired, too, so we had to sneak her in, too. Let me tell you, it took a lot of legal fellows to pull that off.

                  Or I did boring things and never even saw her.

                  1. That operation seems like it was run by the Secret Service.

                  2. “Oh no Mrs. Clinton, these are my panties,… I’m a diversity hire.”

  9. only legal if the employer derives “no immediate advantage” from the intern.

    White House interns are exempt as long as there’s sufficient foreplay.

  10. It’s a perfect example for politicians, to get experience

  11. Just another shot in Obama’s war on choice.

    If Obama thinks college-age kids aren’t smart enough to know what they want to do, then why doesn’t he just say that?

    1. As a Progressive he doesn’t believe that anyone is smart enough to know what they want to do.
      He can’t come out and say it though, because that would be honest.

    2. Given how they vote, maybe that aren’t smart enough to know what they want to do.

      /somewhat sarcastic. I am a member of that group (though I’m not in college anymore), but the mind-bending to get around the fact that Obama betrayed them at every turn is ridiculous.

      1. He would have lost me at Cash for Clunkers.

        I used to live on those cars!

  12. You would think that “progressives” of all people–the ones who insist that they’re SO smart, SO well-educated, SO hip, etc.–would recognize the value of how an internship can boost the career network and networking skills of a young person.

    Of course, a personal network isn’t a government-run program so I suppose they are obliged to be hostile to it.

    1. If they can’t control it, then they are hostile towards it.

    2. You assume that progressives care about boosting the career network, etc. of young people.

      Let’s face it, a youngster who gets a good career underway is likely to vote for the wrong TEAM. Better to keep them struggling and dependent.

      1. They should be ashamed of their ambition anyway.

        They should only aspire to work for the government.

        Otherwise, they should work in a factory.

    3. You would think that “progressives” of all people–the ones who insist that they’re SO smart, SO well-educated, SO hip, etc.–would recognize the value of how an internship can boost the career network and networking skills of a young person.

      A young person who has the family connections to get one, and who can afford to work for free for 3-6 months.

  13. I am not a fan of unpaid internships.

    The problem is that only people who are well off enough to be able to work for free for 3-6 months can benefit from them.

    Secondly, they are often awarded nepotistically. So it amounts to a system by which relative well-off people maintain their advantage by giving their kids and other relatives a leg up.

    Seriously, people joke around my office about how one of the interns was a senior managers neice. They also joke about how they give all the shitty work that noone else wants to do to the interns.

    I don’t think that making them illegal is the solution. I think it requires more of a corporate ethics approach (i.e. stop giving internships to your neices and nephews, and provide a minimal stipend so poor kids can afford to take them).

    But just saying “Unpaid internships are awesome, my uncle got one for me when I was graduating from Wellesley and it really gave me a leg up in the publishing business, while I lived at my Aunt’s East Village apartment.”
    That is NOT an argument that is going to convince anyone that this is a fair or ethical practice.

    1. Why shouldn’t you be able to hire a relative, as long as it’s a private company?

      And it’s ridiculous that in order for something to come across as “fair” or “ethical” to some people, it needs to not benefit/screw over rich people.

      1. Why shouldn’t you be able to order your underlings to hire your layabout son, neice, nephew, etc.?

        Because it’s unethical? I’m not saying it should be illegal. But at one time the business class had certain standards of professionalism in the Western world. You hire on the basis of merit only. Anything else is unethical.

        A big part of the problem in undeveloped countires is rampant nepotism. Business people often award contracts to relatives instead of the best competitor. It reduces efficiency and leads to lower prosperity.

        1. But at one time the business class had certain standards of professionalism in the Western world. You hire on the basis of merit only.

          Now you are just being funny.

          1. Hey, at least at one point some people took the concept seriously and looked down on those who violated it.

            Handing out jobs to your neices and nephews is nepotism. Unpaid internships are basically a system that ensures that only the neices and nephews of wealthy people can get internships.

            1. Some being handed out to nieces and nephews equals all being handed out to nieces and nephews = logic FAIL

              Besides, it’s pretty standard now ban nepotism to the point where if you have a single family member who works for the company, they won’t even interview you. Not for a job or an internship.

              1. The summer I was 16 I “got” to install all of the furniture and computers in a brand new community college, along with 2 other HS students. They got paid, I didn’t because my father worked for the CC. Actually, I think he paid me minimum wage out of his own pocket so that, like RC above, I could have the experience of doing hard work outside (in a Texas summer) for low pay.

              2. Some being handed out to nieces and nephews equals all being handed out to nieces and nephews = logic FAIL

                Bingo! Sounds like somebody had a high school friend who got a plum internship in her uncle’s brother’s nephew’s law firm or something and then spent so much time stewing over it that they extrapolated that experience to every conceivable opportunity.

                Meanwhile, back in the real world, internships are hard to land because competition is stiff and the best ones tend to go to very top performing students. In industries where internships are common. It’s worth pointing out that they aren’t that common in a lot of industries, so aside from a great networking opportunity, you don’t lose much by not having one.

                Speaking as someone who attended college on very, very meager VA survivor’s benefits, I can attest that not everyone can afford to take a summer off for an internship. Them’s the breaks. Before the economy took a shit, that’s what entry level industry jobs were for (and it’s not like having good internships lets you bypass the entry level for your industry anyway, it just makes it easier to get hired). In any case, you’re not entitled to an internship, and much like the broader job market, although nepotism undoubtedly takes place, it doesn’t represent every single case. In fact, it represents a small minority of cases.

            2. And banning them creates a system that ensures that only the neices and nephews of people with pull can get internships.

        2. “But at one time the business class had certain standards of professionalism in the Western world. You hire on the basis of merit only. Anything else is unethical.

          Um, did we grow up on the same planet?

          Furthermore it *might* be unethical in a publicly traded corporation because hiring managers have a fiducary responsibility to the stockholders and by not hiring the best candidate they may be breaching it, however for any privately held company there is nothing unethical at all in using whatever criteria you want for hiring decisions.

    2. HazelMeade|7.18.12 @ 12:39PM|#
      “I am not a fan of unpaid internships.”

      So don’t work in one.

      1. You don’t understand. If you don’t like something, then you should have the right to force your preference onto other people. It’s not fair for you to refuse an unpaid internship because you’re not a fan of them, and then someone else takes one. Not fair! Not fair, I tell you!
        Not faaaiiirrrrr!!

        1. Right, the Master Plan will never work unless everybody stands up to the evil fat cats in their towers of gold.

      2. I don’t. Or rather, I couldn’t have afforded to take on, so I never applied.

        That’s how it works. People from less advantaged backgrounds simply cannot afford to work for free for 3-6 months, so they end up being locked out of internships, which ultimately means getting locked out of the best jobs at the best companies.

        1. Yes you could have. It would have been more difficult, which I know isn’t fair no for you it’s not worth the bother, but you could have done it.

          You could have taken a second paid job. Delivered pizzas at night or something.
          You could have work weekends during class time and banked money to live on while doing the unpaid internship.
          Options existed.

          But because it wasn’t faaaaiiiirrrr you didn’t bother.

          Waaaaaaaaaaaahhh!

          1. *so*, not “no”

          2. Yeah, because no one already has to work more than one paid job.

          3. No, because summer jobs, etc. are when most people putting themself through ocllege are, in fact, REQUIRED to earn money. That’s how the student loan process works. You are expected to earn maybe $3,000 to put towards tuition over the summer, and if you don’t make that, they won’t give you a loan to cover it.

            1. Yeah, a ton of this is affected by the stupidity of FAFSA and everything surrounding it. It’s really hard to imagine how absurd student aid “packages” are until you see one.

              In my case, it was calculated that my parents (not me, but my parents alone) must contribute something like $25k out of pocket each year; my contribution was somewhere in the neighborhood of $6k. I was fortunate enough to get a nice big private merit-based scholarship, but guess what? I wasn’t allowed to use it to defray any of either the $6k or the $25k–that was considered extra, unexpected money that would come off the aid part of the package before it could be used for anything else. The whole thing is just absurd.

              1. Thats funny, I don’t know what I was required to make and having previously served in the Military my parents income was irrelivant but when I was in College I worked my Freshman year as a Security Guard, 30 hours a week nights and weekends. Was great made it so that I could do most of my homework while getting paid and I earned just shy of $11,000 that year. Next year in my Financial Aid package I discover that I earned too much money and was not eligible for ANY aid except loans. I only borrowed $1500 for my Freshman year, my Sophmore year I needed to borrow $8000 so my $11,000 income cost me $6500 in “free” financial aid, take out transportation and taxes and I actually lost money on the job.

                Note – this was back in the early 90’s

              2. Plus if you have any personal savings, you are required to spend all of it on tuition before you qualify for any aid. Which pretty much ensures you’re going to be flat broke by junior year, which means you’re not going to have any personal savings left to live off of by the time it comes to get an internship.

    3. I don’t understand. What is so unfair or unethical about an unpaid internship?

      I could buy “unethical” if the employer lied and told the interns they would be paid and then failed to do so. But that’s not the case here; it’s clear up front that the internships are unpaid.

      I don’t see what “fair” has to do with it. No employer is morally obliged to give internships to everybody. They can be selective in any way they want, including outright nepotism.

      1. This, Enjoy Every Sandwich.

      2. It’s unethical because it prejudices the selection process against lower-income people who can’t work for free.

        It’s like putting up a sign saying “trailer trash need not apply”.

        1. Selectivity is not unethical and trailer trash isn’t a protected class (yet). Try again.

        2. Nobody ‘can’ work for free–some people are just willing to do so to get ahead. You clearly weren’t willing.

    4. The problem is that only people who are well off enough to be able to work for free for 3-6 months can benefit from them.

      This might be more convincing if the people who were taking most internships weren’t paying out the wazoo for an career furthering activity the other nine months of the year.

      1. Unless those people are trying to work their ass off to EARN MONEY working part time and during the summer to pay for that degree.

        Nobody is going to even consider an unpaid internship if they are putting themselves through college, and they can’t if they are on student loans because the loan process requires you to make money in the summer.

        1. Then it needs to be one more part of their strategy or they need to find an alternate route to success. Simple, really.

          1. Because creating social systems where poor people need to find “alternate routes” to success is what liberatarianism is all about.

            Look, I’m all in favor of people being legally allowed to do whatever they want. That doesn’t mean we have to condone and applaud everything they do. There’s a role for social norms that make people freer in this process. Otherwise, libertarians would be totally okay with arranged marriages. We shouldn’t just be about not having laws. We should also be about promoting social norms, including professional ethical codes, that make society more equal and more free.

            1. Complete nonsense. The route to success you are crying about is just one of many and in no way resembles something unethical. Unless you can show us some credible data that indicates that the vast majority of successful people have an unpaid internship as a common element, you are riled up about nothing. I know a lot of successful people. None of them credit their success to an internship. However, I do know a lot of people in business who have had interns work for them. Believe me, it can help launch a career. But it can also expose the chaff just as easily. Many of these “privliged” interns expose themselves as wash-outs. I am not buying that your argument has any legitimacy or is in any way unfair.

              1. Go look at any employment website. Tons of them with advise people that if they want to land a great job, they absolutely have to do an internship. In fact many websites say that some companies will not even CONSIDER an applicant straight out of college if they havn’t don’t an internship at a top company. Now combine that with unpaid internships, and the fact that poor people can’t afford to take them.
                What you have is a systemic means of filtering applicants by class.

                1. All right. Since I work in a college, let me call over to Career Services and ask them.

                  1. Huh. Turns out you’re wrong.

                    1. Yeah, whatever.
                      http://msn.careerbuilder.com/A…..Important/

                      “Internships have become key in today’s economy,” says Melissa Benca, director of career services at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. “Graduating students with paid or unpaid internships on their r?sum? have a much better chance at landing a full-time position upon graduation. Students are doing internships as undergraduates, and it is now not unusual for recent grads to take an unpaid internship with hopes of turning it into a permanent position .”

                    2. Just like you somehow arrived at the conclusion that all internships are based on nepotism, you’ve now arrived at the conclusion that all success in all careers is dependent upon an unpaid internship. Very simply, it isn’t. You’re wrong. Your experience != universal reality.

                      Yes, if you want to work at a Big Four accounting firm, an internship during junior and senior year at a Big Four accounting firm will go a long way toward getting you there. Alternatively, if you can’t afford to take an internship, you can get your undergrad degree, go to work as a junior accountant a local firm while you get your graduate credits so you can get CPA licensed, work a couple of pay grades up after you’ve got your CPA, and take a really nice resume to the Big Four and probably get hired.

                      It’s no one else’s fault that you were born poor, and it’s no one else’s responsibility to provide you with opportunities because of it.

                    3. Who touched you, Hazel? Which intern scarred you so badly?

    5. This happens regardless. When I interned for a Big 4 accounting firm, about half of my fellow interns were either related to someone in the firm or a client.

      1. So, because nepotism is rampant in the internship process, it’s ok to go the extra step and just make sure that no lower class people need apply?

        1. If it is a paid internship, than the rich connected kids will get paid. How did you help the poor by banning unpaid internships?

    6. “The problem is that only people who are well off enough to be able to work for free for 3-6 months can benefit from them”

      Watch the show. One of the kids in the audience said his parents are far from well off, so he saved as much as he could for 3 years so he would be able to take an unpaid internship.

      There are lots of ways a motivated person can get ahead, it’s not all luck and connections.

      In fact, Greenhouse’s non-answer to that kid was comical.

    7. Making a one size fits all law isn’t the solution to anything.

      There are lots of technical fields, where having no experience whatsoever means no one will hire you to begin with.

      I know some recording engineers. No one will hire you as a recording engineer if you don’t have any experience. Why would someone pay you to do something you have virtually no experience doing?

      While you’re going to school, especially for technical stuff, your labor isn’t worth hardly anything. Sad but true.

      Also, there are a lot of kids who don’t know how to function in a professional environment. How to work with people maybe they don’t like. How to take directions. How to treat angry customers…

      Why would you pay someone who doesn’t even have those rudimentary skills–that can’t be taught in school?

      And if you don’t want to work for free? Then it’s a free country–you don’t have to.

      1. No one will hire you as a recording engineer if you don’t have any experience.

        “experience” == “membership in the IATSE, AFM, etc.”

      2. Then it becomes a ctach-22 for poor people. They can’t afford to work for free, so they can’t take an unpaid internship, and if they don’t take an unpaid internship to get experience, nobody is going to hire them.

        It’s a free country, but the *right* think for companies to do is to consider everyone equally for employment and give interns a minimal stipend so that you aren’t automatically excluding anyone without parents who can afford to keep supporting them.

        1. Makes perfect sense, because it is literally impossible to get experience any other way but unpaid internships.

    8. The problem is that only people who are well off enough to be able to work for free for 3-6 months can benefit from them.

      Yute unemployment is, what, over 25% now?

      I suspect its not a choice between a paid job and an internship for a lot of these people. Its a choice between no job and an internship.

      1. I’m pretty sure internships are way harder to get than shitty jobs, even now.

    9. I am a current college student. Between the economy, my area’s business setup, and my parent’s fears that working part-time would hurt my high school grades, I have barely any experience in paid work. If unpaid internships went, I would be completely unemployable on experience alone, and my family does not have the type of connections that could help me network for one.

      As it is, I was able to take an unpaid internship earlier for a few months, and this helped me get experience to find a (badly) paid research position for the next two semesters. I hope to use the experience and references from that one to climb up.

      If I had to immediately contribute financial value greater than minimum wage, I would never have been hired: no experience, no family in that area of business, not the extremely charismatic kind who can bluff their way into anything. As it is, unpaid work allowed the employer to take a chance that my natural skill set would outweigh the office space I took up.

      College and high school students need unpaid work, especially those whose parents are immigrants, in a limited professional sphere, or are otherwise lacking in the types of connections that lead to an initial paid summer job at a relative or family friend’s store. Otherwise, no one has a reason to take a chance on us.

      1. What did you live on while you took the unpaid internship? How did you pay the rent?

        1. Not sure what that has to do with my points.

          Unpaid labor costs less, allowing the employer to take a chance on someone who might not have the resume for paid labor. Barring unpaid labor, the only people who could get initial positions would be those with family and other personal connections, because a purely disinterested business owner would (rightly) not want to risk losing wages to low-productivity workers.

          Internships do not only go to people with prior family connections. If anything, unpaid internships offer more advantages to those without personal connections than those with, because people without personal connections to you are going to be less eager to risk money on you.

          I understand that the benefits of unpaid labor are probably going to be a lot lower for those currently financially independent and not in an education-heavy field, but I feel like these people would either a) have saved up from a previous job to have cash during the internship (meaning they need the experience less anyway) or b) would actually be pursuing paying work, making this topic irrelevant to them. And fyi, higher minimum wage just prices these people out as well.

          If a institution offers 10 unpaid internships, 10 people get work experience. If public pressure convinces them to tout a new policy of all interns being paid but they only hire two interns to save money on wages, those two hit the jackpot but everyone else is harmed.

          1. It’s totally relevant. Did you have parents who helped you pay your living expenses while you took the internship? How did you support yourself while working for free, unless you had personal savings or parents to support you?

            It’s a simple enough question.

            1. I think what he was trying to politely suggest is that you mind your own fucking business. Regardless of how he did it, he did, and many thousands of other people manage to either have careers without unpaid internships or take unpaid internships by planning and saving as well. For some people it means they have to bust their ass 6 ways to Sunday, for some people it means they don’t get to take an internship until after they’ve graduated, for some people it means they bypass the process and go another way altogether. But almost universally, it means they didn’t spend all of their time crying about how they have no opportunities because American business is a caste system where talented people can’t get ahead because the entire world is already dominated by lazy, incompetent rich people who shut them out.

          2. . Barring unpaid labor, the only people who could get initial positions would be those with family and other personal connections, because a purely disinterested business owner would (rightly) not want to risk losing wages to low-productivity workers.

            That makes no sense, why would anyone assume that only friends and relatives could be productive workers.

            Generally the problem with nepotism is the opposite. You’re arm twisted into hiring your brother’s layabout son instead of a productive employee.

      2. Can’t you have friends or relatives lie to verify lies on your resume that you worked for them?

  14. Unpaid internships are great, writes John Stossel.

    I suspect Stossel’s lifetime in the entertainment industry, where unpaid internships are the norm, is coloring his perceptions of house great they are for the intern.

    I’m not sure it’s something that should be regulated, but on the other hand I think it’s immoral.

    1. Stormy Dragon|7.18.12 @ 12:43PM|#
      “I’m not sure it’s something that should be regulated, but on the other hand I think it’s immoral.”

      Your moral compass is not my problem.

      1. By the same argument, why should I care if about any big government regulation unless it disadvantages me personally?

        1. Comparing government force to voluntary agreements is a false equivocation.

          1. Except there is government force involved. Government forces me to pay for the educational subsidies and public assistance that allow people to go without working for long periods of time. Government force also allows for the industry-wide closed shop union contracts that make it impossible to get into the business without the gate keepers permission.

            1. That’s an consequence of subsidies and public assistance.

              The logical conclusion of creating new rules (that will undoubtedly have unintended consequences resulting new rules with new consequences and new rules…) to deal with the unintended consequences of shitty rules is totalitarianism.

              Is that what you want?

              Your issue should be with the subsidies and public assistance, not unpaid internships.

              1. The logical conclusion of creating new rules …
                Is that what you want?

                No, I explictly said that’s not what I want. But just because something should be legal doesn’t mean it should be applauded.

                1. Why not applaud it? The intern makes connections and gains experience while the company doesn’t have to pay full value for someone who does not produce full value.

                  It’s a win win!

            2. So two wrongs DO make a right

              1. If both parties agree to the arrangement, who the fuck are you to interfere?

        2. If you think a particular regulation isn’t affecting you personally you should take another look at it.

          1. There should be a law forcing you to take a look at it.

    2. How is it immoral for someone to trade their work for the opportunity to practice their skills on real projects and be able to put that fact on their resume?

      1. I’m generally opposed to business models that are only sustainable because they receive outside subsidy. In this case, a lot of those internships depend on the unpaid interns having access to government backed loans and education susbisides or public assistance. So in essence that entertainment industry is pushing their labor costs onto me.

        1. Or, more generally, those kids having access to parents who can afford to pay their living expenses while they work their unpaid iinternships.

          1. So now I’m supposed to respect people who spend an inordinate portion of their lives mooching off their wealthy parents?

            1. No. That’s my point. Unpaid internships are essentially a way for wealthy people to give their offspring an early career advantage.

              1. No. That’s my point. Unpaid internships are essentially a way for wealthy people to give their offspring an early career advantage.

                Are you also against private schools? Because they also have advantages over public schools.

              2. No. That’s my point. Unpaid internships are essentially a way for wealthy people to give their offspring an early career advantage.

                Hazel, while your logic has merit from a standpoint of intuition, is there any evidence this is true? It seems your argument assumes facts not in evidence.

                1. Well, lots of people on this thread have commented that nepotism is rampant in awarding of internships.

                  1. If by “lots of people” you mean “I posted it a whole bunch of times so it must be true”, you’ve got a point. Still, the plural of anecdote is not evidence.

              3. And this means…what? Are you arguing that wealthy people shouldn’t be permitted to spend their money in the best interests of their offspring?

          2. Or, more generally, those kids having access to parents who can afford to pay their living expenses while they work their unpaid iinternships.

            I don’t see a problem with this. Are you saying parents shouldn’t help their kids get experience in the workforce?

    3. Immoral why? Because they’re being paid in experience instead of cash?

    4. Fuck you, I worked both paid and unpaid internships in Highschool and College and I got a lot more value out of them than I would have flipping burgers. An individual’s choice to work without pay is never immoral.

      1. Some kids can’t afford to work for free. Some of them need to be earning money in high school and college in order to:
        A) save money for college
        B) work your way through college
        C) start paying off student loans after college

        People who can afford to take unpaid internships tend to be people whose parents are paying their tuition and living expenses. Not people who are working their way through school and need the money to support themselves.

        1. Life isn’t fair. Get over it.

          1. Pay all your money in taxes. Life isn’t fair. Get over it.

            1. Analogy fail, but funny to see you admit that taxation is unfair.

        2. No need to worry. They just need to keep voting Democrat. Obama has lots more goodies in his stash to hand out. If evil Republicans would just stop standing in his way of redistributing the wealth to those loyal voters.

          Free indocrtination education for everyone! And jobs too! Who needs experience, when you can get in the door with a shiny piece of paper to hang on your new office wall. Hiring people based on skills and experience is racist.

        3. Hazel, you’re also ignoring the fact that they can both intern and work at the same time. Several of my college classmates landed nice (unpaid or sub-minimum-wage paying) internships which they worked during they day, then worked a crappy paying job nights and weekends. They were highly motivated and later reaped the rewards of their sacrifice and hard work.

        4. As is evident by the fact that only people who have successful careers are the product of internships. Right? Or maybe it is just that all people who have done internships gain successful careers. Right?

          1. It sure as hell helps to do an internship if you want to land the highest paying job upon graduation.
            Which is, btw, a powerful determining factor in future earnings.

            What you make in job #1 one strongly statistically predicts what you will earn over your lifetime.

            1. Job #1 absolutely does. But job #1 is not often (by that I mean rarely) an unpaid internship. You can scream about how important an unpaid intership is all you want. It just isn’t.

        5. Some of them need to be earning money in high school and college

          This assumes there are paying jobs for them.

          There aren’t, for many. How you overlooked this at the HuffPo, I can’t imagine.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..64241.html

        6. Hey Hazel,

          The reality of certain job markets, digital marketing as an example, are so competitive that an internship during college is a great way to get your foot in the proverbial door. And yes, sometimes these internships are free, but often times lead to a full time position in a agency… which is the goal, right?

          1. So? As I’ve pointed out a million times, poor people can’t afford to take an unpaid internship, because they need to have something to live on, and they need to be earning money to pay for tuition.

            1. Since you won’t respond to the point that maybe there just aren’t paying jobs for some of these hypothetical poor people, perhaps you can riddle me this:

              These po’ kids are in school, yes? What are they living on while they are in school (last I looked, attending school doesn’t generate cash flow)?

              Who says if you have an unpaid internship that you can’t moonlight in another job to put food on your family?

              1. The way FAFSA works, you’re expected to earn a certain amount of money working a part time job during the school year and a full time job in the summer. It’s all counted towards your total income and the estimated tuition plus living expenses you need.

                Colleges often have work-study programs that allow students in the FAFSA system to get work on campus .

                So most of these kids are working part time during the school year, need to find a paying summer job, and get loans and Pell grants to make up the rest.

                The only people who really have the option not to work and take an unpaid internship are people whose parents are wealthy enough to afford the entire cost of tuition plus living expenses.

                1. To add. Any personal savings you have is deducted from your eligibility for aid. So it pretty much ensures that you’re going to be out of savings by the summer of your junior year. The only people who won’t be will be people who don’t need financial aid – i.e. the children of the richest parents.

                  1. So you’re saying that people with less money will have to work a lot harder to build savings than people with more money? Well I’ll be damned.

                2. Why is this the employer’s problem? It seems like an issue with FAFSA. I do understand your larger arguement around opportunity, but in all seriousness, how does banning unpaid internships address the problem of increasing opportunities for poor kids?

                  I would think it would make more sense to go after a college system that squeezes every possible cent from its students and then doesn’t even give them the skills to be worth an entry level hire without serving as an unpaid intern.

    5. Immoral? Based on what?

  15. I watched the Stossel segment on this and they started the show off with a shitweasel from the NYT telling an audience full of interns that they shouldn’t be allowed to do what they did. He also made the retarded argument that Hazel is making above.

    1. As I said, I don’t think the solution is to make it illegal. I think the right approach is to say “this is unethical” and make it the cultural norm in the business community to PAY their interns a livable stipend and select them solely on the basis of merit.

      1. It’s not unethical or immoral. The intern is getting value out of the arrangement or else they wouldn’t be doing it.

        Also, on the program plenty of the intern audience stood up in the audience portion and pointed out how they worked a second job to save up for the internship, skipped a spring break vacation, etc. People who are motivated enough will be able to do it no matter their financial situation.

        1. The intern is getting value out of the arrangement or else they wouldn’t be doing it.

          Yes, but the primary value is that they’re now elligible to join the union that they have to be a member of to get a job because of government-enforced monopoly on employment in that industry. That’s like saying protection rackets are okay because the victims get the advantage of not having their windows smashed.

          1. All unpaid internships are at union shops?

            Every single last one?

            1. In the entertainment industry, the vast majority are.

              1. Unpaid internships are limited to the entertainment industry?

                1. No, but John Stossel’s experience with them is limited to the entertainment industry, hence my original point that he’s not an unbiased advocate for them.

                  1. So you’re not arguing against what he is saying, you’re arguing against him as a person.

                    The argument would carry different weight if it was made by someone not in the entertainment industry.

                    If person A says something, and person B says the exact same thing, right and wrong are determined not by what is said but by who says it.

                2. Unpaid internships are far less common industries that don’t have a lot of government mandated barriers to entry, which is why I think their immoral. It’s basically an exercise of a gatekeeper taking advantage of their ability to artificially restrict the supply of jobs to demand below market labor costs of potential entrants. And as with all externalities, that benefit mus be offset by a equal burden someplace else that couldn’t be sustained absent the government involvement.

                  1. [citation needed]

                    1. They are also very common in the advertising business. I was doing some consulting for an ad agency and they had unpaid interns.

                  2. I had the opportunity for a few unpaid internships in college, and none of them had “government mandated barriers to entry”.

                    I think you’re making shit up.

                  3. Now that I think about it, all but one of the internship possibilities were unpaid.
                    None were in entertainment or in union shops.
                    You’re definitely making shit up.

                    1. What industry were they in?

                  4. It’s basically an exercise of a gatekeeper taking advantage of their ability to artificially restrict the supply of jobs to demand below market labor costs of potential entrants.

                    And to restrict the people who are allowed entry into those careers to the friends and relatives of people already in them.

                    I.e. It’s a lot easier to get into the actor’s guild if you happen to be the child of an actor.

                    It’s a vieled way of practicing nepotism.

                    1. You sure are hung up on this nepotism thing.

                      Almost like you’ve been turned down and decided it was because someone else knew or was related to someone, not because you’re a whiny little bitch.

                  5. “Unpaid internships are far less common industries that don’t have a lot of government mandated barriers to entry”

                    Having the government say that you cannot lawfully act an unpaid intern for the employer of your choice is a pretty blatant barrier to entry, Stormy. At that point you’re not arguing a right to work, you’re arguing a right to prevent someone else from working.

          2. What an astoundingly irrelevant comment.

        2. The intern is getting value out of the arrangement or else they wouldn’t be doing it.

          Yes, but to assume this value is coming entirely from the quasi-employer is way off base. How much of the value is in brownie points (and cash) from mommy and daddy, who would rather see their kid in a nice little internship getting people coffee than in a crappy job that pays money?

          Anyway, I don’t get what is controversial here; I am 100% with Hazel. First a high school diploma becomes worthless; that’s okay because rich people can go to college. Then an undergrad degree loses a bunch of its value because more and more people can afford to get one, so the rich turn to unpaid internships. Should it be banned or regulated? No. Am I going to applaud it? No. Will the rich always find a way to raise the barriers to entry into their class? Yes. What is unlibertarian about pointing out the ways they do this? From the get-go, Hazel was clear that she didn’t think this should be regulated, but everyone jumps down her throat for whining, like it’s wrong to point out ways that one group of people tries to keep out another group of people even when we think it should be legal.

          1. She is wrong about it being a class thing.

            You too.

            It isnt about class, as is demonstrated by the audience.

            Also, Ive never known an engineer, even from a well off family, to take an unpaid internship. They get the same pay as everyone else.

            It is purely an industry thing. Some industries do unpaid internships, others think that is insane and pay interns well.

            1. That’s because engineering is a field where skills matter, and people rarely get hired through family connections.

          2. From the get-go, Hazel was clear that she didn’t think this should be regulated, but everyone jumps down her throat for whining, like it’s wrong to point out ways that one group of people tries to keep out another group of people even when we think it should be legal.

            nicole, hazel said it was unethical as well. My question is how? If my child works as an unpaid intern, how is this unethical? It smacks of envy to me.

            1. If my child works as an unpaid intern, how is this unethical?

              It is unethical because obviously you are wealthy and connected, while others are not.

              It ain’t faaaaaiiiiiirrrrr!

              It smacks of envy to me.

              Exactly. It is unethical to make someone feel envious.

              Not faaaaiiiiiiirrrrr!

            2. I don’t think there’s anything unethical about taking a job at any price, including for free (or for something in-kind, like experience).

              I do think that, realistically speaking, most interns provide greater than zero value to the company they don’t-work for (which is why we all think this regulation basically wipes out unpaid internships), and it would be more ethical on the part of businesses if they were paid commensurate with that. Certainly minimum wage doesn’t help here. And in some cases perhaps they really are not worth more than that in-kind experience.

              I find that the fields with the most unpaid internships benefit from being very attractive to many people, which is what makes it easy for them to erect these barriers to entry. So, to robc’s point above about class, I still think it matters. Some jobs are more class-acceptable than others. Certainly you will make plenty of money as an engineer. But are you in the same social class as someone who works in NYC publishing? I don’t think so.

            3. It’s unethical because you are favoring your own offspring, or close relatives, over people who are better qualified.

              Asking them to work for free is also a way of ensuring that none of the applicants are lower class.

              1. It’s unethical because you are favoring your own offspring, or close relatives, over people who are better qualified.

                Actually my child does not work for my company. She does do an unpaid internship though. This will lead to paid work once she is old enough, if she proves herself. No ethical issues at all.

                1. And let me guess, you’re going to pay for her rent and food while she works the internship, right?

                  What about people who do not have parents able to support them with free food and rent?

                  1. And let me guess, you’re going to pay for her rent and food while she works the internship, right?

                    Considering she is 15, yes. But even if she were 25, I don’t see how that is unethical. You are basically saying that it is wrong to help your children get ahead in life. That is morally repugnant to me.

                  2. What about it?

                    Are you going to say its unethical for parents to supprt theiur child’d pursuit of education and job training?

                    Even if one stipulates that it is a problem, it is not one that has a workable solution.

              2. First of all, there’s nothing unethical about hiring less competent people based on whatever hiring criteria you choose, and second of all, aside from your relentless assertion that it is so, we have no indication whatsoever that that’s the case in most internships.

          3. I likewise don’t see what the ethical dilemma is. Even if kids with rich parents have an advantage (and this is just being assumed–I haven’t seen any data to back it up), that doesn’t make it “unethical”.

            That would be like saying that parents who buy their kids shoes are being unethical because other kids don’t have shoes. Every parent tries to get the best for their kids; is this somehow wrong?

            1. I think Hazel is more concerned with ethics on the business side of things. I think it is more questionable on their end?the issues of nepotism are certainly real, but I’m not sure that taking advantage of a confluence of situations that puts you in a unique position to get free labor is unethical.

              1. Even on the business side, as long as the child isn’t reporting to the parent, I see no ethical problem.

              2. I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be a dick about this. Adding the word “business” to “ethics” doesn’t help much. I’m still wondering what ethic is being violated.

                I think that the word “ethics” has fallen prey to the same malady as the word “rights”: being loosely defined as “stuff I want” when the real meaning is more specific.

                1. Adding the word “business” to “ethics” doesn’t help much.

                  Not sure who said it (John Maxwell maybe), but they said there is no such thing as business ethics; there are just ethics.

                2. Enjoy Every Sandwich, I said I didn’t think it was unethical (though of course, in particular circumstances, it could be).

              3. How is it free labor?

                Training isn’t free. Mentoring isn’t free. Mistakes made by the untrained and learning intern aren’t free.

                It’s only free if the value produced by the intern exceeds the value invested in them.

                1. It’s only free if the value produced by the intern exceeds the value invested in them.

                  Yes, and I’m suggesting that in many cases this is likely to be the case.

                  1. I had classmates to did internships and they said they were a joke. Basically they were given a cube and told to wait until someone gave them something to do. Often they’d sit there and read a book all day.

                    And that was a paid internship!

                  2. Damn three o’clock squirrels.

                    You’re suggesting, but you don’t know. The intern might just end up fetching coffee while observing work being done, or they might get to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.

                    You. Don’t. Know.

                    In college I knew some people who did internships and they said it was a joke. They were given a cube and told to wait for something to do. Often they did nothing all day.
                    And those were paid internships!

                    1. You. Don’t. Know.

                      Right…which is why all I said was that if an intern is providing value it strikes me as the ethical thing to pay them commensurate with that.

                    2. it strikes me as the ethical thing to pay them commensurate with that

                      Do you know for a fact that some of these interns aren’t given little bonuses at the end?

                      Either way, isn’t this something for the company and intern to decide?

                      The intern might be fine with the deal, since the experience is more valuable than money to them.

                    3. Either way, isn’t this something for the company and intern to decide?

                      At what point did I suggest it was anything else?

                  3. Yes, and I’m suggesting that in many cases this is likely to be the case.

                    Do you have a problem with this? Many times the experience is the most valuable thing the intern gets out of the deal.

                    1. Do you have a problem with this? Many times the experience is the most valuable thing the intern gets out of the deal.

                      I noted above that in some cases experience was all they would be worth.

                      Again, I think a huge issue is the spread of these things across industries. Everyone and their mother wants to move to NYC after college and get a job in publishing. So guess how much you get paid to work in publishing. Now, this means that even for non-interns, the value they are providing is lower than it might have been in another industry, so it’s hardly surprising that the entry-level value drops to zero or near zero.

                      It’s not helping people see this as more fair or more “good” in general that a large number of visible people in unpaid internships are doing it because they prefer to be paid in smugness than in money.

                    2. It allows them the opportunity to get over the catch 22 of “no job, no experience; no experience, no job”.

                      There’s a lot more than “smugness” in that.

                    3. Yes, it’s almost like no one ever got over that catch-22 before without being paid for their work…

                      I’ll freely admit that I’m heavily influenced by my upbringing here. I was not taught to work for free or to value myself so low. The only way it ever hurt me was in prestige, because I did jobs that people I went to school with looked down on but still provided good work experience.

                    4. I was not taught to work for free

                      They’re not working for free! Experience has value!

            2. Getting your kid/niece/nephew a job or a promotion is just like buying them a pair of shoes?

              When you’re in business your job is to provide the best value to the stockholders and managers, not to use your position to give your relatives a leg up in the industry.

              1. Haze, anti-nepotism policy is pretty standard these days.

                To the point where if you have any relatives in the company they will not even give you an interview.

              2. When you’re in business your job is to provide the best value to the stockholders and managers, not to use your position to give your relatives a leg up in the industry.
                What if you 100% own a privately held business where your sold motivation is to provide for your sole offspring?
                Hazel, you’re a Marxist. Own it. But you’re not winning this argument.

                1. Making your own child work for free in your own business is a different story.

                  Haze, anti-nepotism policy is pretty standard these days.

                  To the point where if you have any relatives in the company they will not even give you an interview.

                  Which is why unpaid internships have been invented as a back door mechanism. It’s a way to make sure the candidates for the position are limited to people in your own class. And the rules for hiring interns are relatively relaxed so you can get away with the nepotism.

                  1. Which is why unpaid internships have been invented as a back door mechanism.

                    Show me a corporate employment policy book that doesn’t apply equally to interns and paid employees, and I will concede you might have a point.

                    But, frankly, I think this whole internships-are-nepotism thing exists mainly in your head.

                    1. Unpaid internships are class nepotism. It filters the selection of job applicants in favor of the children of the wealthy, and ensures that they are the most likely people to land the best paying jobs.

                      If you’re a recruiter at a top company, and your job is to hire only the top graduates of the best schools,out of an enormous pool of applications from all over the country, you aren’t going to even consider many graduates who havn’t done an internship. Since the vast majority of people who will do an unpaid internship are going to be people from richer families, that means your hiring filter is automatically going to exclude 90% of people from poor backgrounds.

                    2. Did you know that repeating the same thing over and over again is not the same as proving it? Again, the plural of anecdote (or in your case, perhaps just imagination) is not evidence.

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      2. I still don’t understand what ethic is being violated.

        1. I still don’t understand what ethic is being violated.

          Me either. I am trying but not seeing it.

      3. Volunteerism is unethical. Got it.

        1. Well, yeah. Just the other day Tony told us that there is no cooperation without coercion.

          How can an intern and company cooperate unless the government coerces the the company into paying the intern a living wage?

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      4. But, again, Hazel, if anything, putting the stipend on the work is only going to increase the incentive to select interns on the basis of what they can deliver beyond their work. Pretty much most interns being brought in aren’t really worth all that much to the company. You can bet if they have to pay the interns a “livable stipend”, they’re going to be more likely to hire the children of clients, the neices and nephews of that guy in Accounting who had your back in the last annual review, or the regulator’s kid.

        1. So the corporate ethical standard should be to apply the same standards to internships that they have for the regular hiring process. No favoritism.

          Unpaid interships are a subtle way of prejudicing the process in favor of the children of the well-off.
          If you want to be rigorously fair, you have to make it possible for students from poorer backgrounds to apply.

          Honestly, I think one of the things libertarians should be advocating and working towards is for professional norms, social norms, and business ethics, that make life more free and equal for people.

          Libertarians SHOULDN’T be okay with nepotism, and we SHOULDN’T be okay with private racism, and SHOULDN’T be okay with hiring standards that are discriminatory. We just don’t think the right approach is to do this through government enforcement.

          1. So the corporate ethical standard should be to apply the same standards to internships that they have for the regular hiring process. No favoritism.

            Do you have any reason to believe that internships are excluded from corporate employment policies?

            Because, for just about every legal/ethical compliance purpose that I know of, there is no distinction between an “intern” and an “employee.”

            1. Hazel is adept at not letting facts get in the way of a good narrative.

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  16. Watch the show. One of the kids in the audience said his parents are far from well off, so he saved as much as he could for 3 years so he would be able to take an unpaid internship.

    There are lots of ways a motivated person can get ahead, it’s not all luck and connections.

    1. Not according to Obama.

  17. There are lots of ways a motivated person can get ahead

    Tsk, tsk. You have not been listening to dear leader. A motivated person can only get ahead when the government helps them.

    1. Bill CLinton, there was a President who knew about getting a head.

      1. there was a President who knew about getting a some head.

        Slick Willy was a very likeable guy compared to the current jackarse in chief.

  18. Why Are Politicians Killing Off “First Jobs”?

    Wouldn’t it be a self conflict of interest for the current administration to not kill off first jobs? Afterall, how can you party on food stamps, a stated policy goal of the Obamie regime, if you have a job?

    1. Because “First Jobs” are humiliating, of course.

  19. The arguement I’ve generally heard against unpaid internships isn’t that they take jobs away from those who would otherwise be employed, but that unpaid internships unfairly advantage the children of the wealthy who can afford to take them. Of course the end result of banning them won’t be to open up opportunities for the poor, but to shift the advantage to the connected, who can get someone to hire their kids who aren’t worth the money.

  20. Government must get out of our way and allow consenting adults to create as many “first” jobs as possible.

    But… But… what would government busybodies do?

    1. But… But… what would government busybodies do?

      How about each other?

      1. Consenting adults??? We are free to do as we are told, no consent necessary.

  21. I could have paid them, but then I would have used fewer interns cotton harvesters.

    1. You really can see no difference between someone forcibly kidnapped and forced to labor for life, and someone who volunteers to work for a few months in order to gain experience, contacts, etc., I guess.

      1. Force is just another word for incentive.

        1. Ooh, you’ve almost topped yesterday’s “there’s no cooperation without coercion”. Keep trying.

        2. There exists incentive through force, therefore there is no incentive without force.

          LOGIC FAIL!

          1. Freedom, also, is just another word for nothing left to lose.

  22. I could have paid them, but then I would have used fewer interns cotton harvesters.

    1. The stupid is strong in this one.

  23. I agree that a “first job” is a necessary track to gain further employment and experience. But the origin of the minimum wage is not solely to help with “first jobs” it is make sure that hardworking, unskilled labor can actually feed themselves. No?

    1. The origin of the minimum wage was to make it illegal for low skilled colored labor to sell their services for less than unionized white labor was charging.

      1. True. As the war on drugs was originally meant to keep negro men from getting high and raping white women. But we won’t discuss the racist origins of government’s most revered laws, we’ll just blindly obey them.

  24. But the origin of the minimum wage is not solely to help with “first jobs” it is make sure that hardworking, unskilled labor can actually feed themselves. No?

    No, not really. It was largely instituted to eliminate the competitive advantage southern factories had over northern factories. One of the bill’s advocates even came out and directly said “We had to do something; we were losing all of our jobs to the south.”

  25. What about a basic income (social security for all), as supported by Hayek and Friedman?

    1. Such a policy might be preferrable to the status quo (depending on implementation). But, better than the status quo is hardly a ringing endorsement in this case.

  26. Hazel, you seem awfully convinced that these unpaid internships are filled with the offspring of the wealthy and well-connected, who don’t need a leg up anyway.

    I don’t suppose you have any data to support that?

    And, it raises the question of why, if these parents are so rich and influential, they couldn’t get little Thurston Howell IV a paying job?

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  29. rats say they will crack down on companies that don’t pay, but that’s a terrible thing to do.

    Unpaid internships are great. They are win-win. They let young people http://www.lunettesporto.com/l…..-3_20.html experiment with careers, and figure out what they’d like and what they’re good at. They help employers produce better thing

  30. Stossel you tell it like it is!

  31. Ha, the thrust of this prosecutor’s argument is “you can’t dispute me because I’ve been a prosecutor and you haven’t”.

  32. How does Stoss not cut her mic?

  33. HFS, this prosecutor is completely off the rails.

    …and the fucking horse she rode in on.

  34. THAT’S THE POINT. Bad prosecutor with too much power.

  35. Judge Stossel has a mandatory commercial break.

  36. “The criminal justice system comes down to coercion.”

    Great final word.

  37. Good for you, Clinton. Makes up for the Rich pardon.

  38. The prosecutor from the first segment is going to rush the stage and citizens’ arrest this guy.

  39. That man just died in Clinton’s arms, must have been something he said.

  40. Tea Partay gets Stossel applause.

  41. “Shooting Christmas party in Virgina.”

    Of course.

  42. NYPD also had a boner the whole way out to the squad car.

  43. Jail has really changed Plaxico.

  44. IF THEY WERE FRUSTRATED BY THE ARREST WHY DID THEY ARREST HIM?

  45. Aspirin. Fuck you, Bloomberg.

  46. When I feel the metal handcuffs on my wrist, the leather gloves close around my neck, and the safe word is repeated one last time, I know the sexy line between tyranny and liberty.

  47. The owner was charged with having a dead dog in his residence.

  48. Because some people do bad things on drugs isn’t a reason to do away with drugs, Chabot, you prick.

  49. Anyone can be a thief. Even cops. Even prosecutors.

  50. Oh, hell, she’s a Fox News legal analyst.

    I don’t say this often, but fuck you, Fox News.

  51. Holy shit, that’s not necessarily what they’re talking about.

  52. Ignorance of vague laws is no excuse.

  53. Shouldn’t you know all the unreasonable and counterintuitive laws in the 50 states?

  54. Ha, Fox News should hire Julie. She knows her stuff.

  55. “Help, this fall has given me a break and I can’t get up.”

  56. THE COPS DO NOT HAVE TO MAKE EVERY FUCKING ARREST.

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