White House Economic Council deletes unpaid internship post following DCNF report
Thomas Catenacci, DCNF
The White House Council of Economic Advisers deleted its entire internship page after the Daily Caller News Foundation reported that the office offered exclusively unpaid positions despite calling for a higher federal minimum wage.
The Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), which crafts the Biden administration’s economic policies, deleted all mention of its internship program sometime between Thursday and Friday afternoon. The webpage where the unpaid internships were posted currently shows an error message and its general “work for us” page no longer mentions the internship program.
The unpaid internships were open to undergraduate and graduate students with an economic background who could assist White House advisers, the DCNF reported on Thursday. President Joe Biden’s administration has pushed for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
“No one in America should work 40 hours a week making below the poverty line,” Biden said at the White House on Jan. 22. “Fifteen dollars gets people above the poverty line. We have so many millions of people working 40 hours a week — working — and some with two jobs, and they’re still below the poverty line.”
The office’s tweet announcing the positions hasn’t been deleted as of Friday evening.
The Council of Economic Advisers is currently looking for interns for the fall semester. Please see details here: https://t.co/guqETrcAOE
— Council of Economic Advisers (@WhiteHouseCEA) May 20, 2021
Aaron Sojourner, a former CEA economist, criticized the office for not offering paid internships after the announcement. He said the office should “remedy” its error.
The labor advocacy group Pay Our Interns and more than 270 former White House interns wrote a letter to Biden in December, asking him to pledge that federal government interns would be paid in his administration. The group, like Sojourner, argued that unpaid internships perpetuate inequities.
“Our country’s racial, social, and economic inequities existed long before the coronavirus; COVID-19 made them impossible to ignore,” the letter said. “The fact is, unpaid internships perpetuate those inequities.”
“They prevent young people of color and low socioeconomic status from gaining valuable professional experience because they cannot afford to work for free,” the letter said.
The CEA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.