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    By Ron Meyer, Young America's Foundation

    Newsflash: Young people want careers, not more unpaid internships. This morning, the New York Times reported unsurprisingly that college graduates don't like unpaid internships, yet that's all they can find in this job market. 

    Almost all of the numerous anecdotes quoted by the Times were from young people who hated working for nothing and wanted the government to step in to force employers to pay interns. 

    Two problems here: 

    • Young people can't find real jobs--53 percent of recent grads are unemployed or underemployed--because the Obama administration's policies have failed. Increased government spending has sucked money away from the private businesses which hire young people, increased regulation (especially from ObamaCare) has made it more costly to hire them, and the threat of higher taxes has made job creators skittish to hire anyone, much less young people. Yet in the entire article, there was not one mention of the Obama administration. 
    • Attacking and destroying unpaid internships won't help anyone. Numerous young people, including me, have benefited from the experience of unpaid internships. The uptick in unpaid internships is an effect: the result of a poor job market. If the Department of Labor cracks down on unpaid internships, it won't change the fact that businesses can't afford to hire more people. 
     

    All the whining from young people, like those cited in the Times, needs to be directed at the Obama administration, not employers. If young people want careers, they need to support policies that empower private employers to create such opportunities.

    In the 1980s, youth unemployment dropped five percent under the policies of the Reagan administration because President Reagan cut taxes and regulation--giving businesses the freedom to create jobs and careers for young people. It's a simple model, but it works.

    While supporting pro-career policies, students should also not be afraid to participate in unpaid internships. These ventures might seem like "voluntary internment," but they can provide the contacts and knowledge you need to secure a career. A typical education from leftist professors cannot prepare you for the real world like an internship can. As a college degree becomes less and less valuable, internships become ever more important.

    This isn't to say that if you're 26 with a Master's degree, you should settle for an internship. The current job market is unacceptable, but we shouldn't blame internships. We should blame the anti-youth policies of the Obama administration. 

    Ron Meyer is a program officer with Young America's Foundation. Contact him at rmeyer@yaf.org.  

     

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