I suggested once that Barack Obama is naive when it comes to the American free enterprise system, but let's just scratch that. The man really is trying to dismantle it and remake it in his own image — that of a law school professor who champions "public interest" work over the business of America, which is to say business itself.
This has been happening across America in academia where professors are gladly dismantling programs that teach, for example, law students how to be corporate lawyers and work in business in favor of training up an army of public interest liberals who sue the state in the name of progress to stop progress.
Barack Obama, coming from that culture, wants the nation to do the same. The Wall Street Journal is reporting the Obama administration is banning internships within private businesses.
Ponder that — Barack Obama is destroying another aspect of the free enterprise system.
Barack Obama is telling teenagers and college students, who are now suffering through a 26% unemployment rate, that they are not allowed to volunteer their time in the free market in exchange for acquiring valuable and relevant job skills that might, just might, get them off the unemployment line — and that ignores the ability to make valuable connections through networking in the workplace and build relationships for future careers and opportunities. The lost opportunity just of the loss of networking and relationship building is overwhelming and will put some college students who did not go to the right school or belong to the right fraternity or sorority or come from the right town at a serious, serious disadvantage.
"If … 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 Labor Department's Nancy J. Leppink tells the New York Times.
The Times also quotes Trudy Steinfeld, director of New York University's Office of Career Services, regarding opportunities for unpaid internships. "A few famous banks have called and said, 'We'd like to do this,' said Ms. Steinfeld. "I said, 'No way. You will not list on this campus.'" To be fair, she doesn't want a Labor Department enforcer knocking on her door next week. But we wonder what NYU students trying to get their feet in the doors of financial firms think about Ms. Steinfeld rejecting opportunities on their behalf.
How all of this helps young people who are trying to develop marketable skills is a mystery.
Since the nation was formed and even before that, apprenticeships and then internships have been a key way for students to acquire valuable jobs skills. Companies would, frequently through college programs, agree to put a student to work teaching the student a trade. The company would get free labor and the student would, at no cost, get job skills.
It is a tried and true method of acquiring skills in this country. But the Obama administration is declaring such an act against the law.1
If you want to work as a Congressional or White House intern, for Organizing for America, or any other non-profit, they'll let you do it. But if you want to actually work for a business that produces goods and services in the free market? You're screwed as is the business. And guess what? Existing workers will be spread more thinly and college kids will wait longer and longer for jobs.
Barack Obama is opposed to the American free enterprise system. Barack Obama is opposed to an individual's right to make the individual's own decisions about what is in the individual's own best interest.
This will also have a disproportionate impact against students who are not left-wing ideologues as most of those students intend on going into left-wing non-profit advocacy and the government anyway. It's the independent and conservative students who just want to get the skills and connections to make an honest living in the free market who are going to get screwed.