19 in 20 Members Of Congress that Support a Federal $15 Minimum Wage Don’t Even Pay their Interns
There’s nothing I hate more than a hypocrite. Sadly, in the business of politics, hypocrisy is ubiquitous.
A new study out of the Employment Policies Institute shows a staggering fraction of policy makers who support a minimum wage bump don’t even pay their interns—a whopping 95% of progressive legislators who proposed the Raise the Wage Act pay their interns $0 per hour.
The Employment Policies Institute gives some examples of the big-shot progressives who endorsed the bill who are categorically hypocrites:
In the Senate, Senators Kamala Harris, Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, Chris Murphy and 20 other cosponsors hire unpaid interns. Of those that do offer a stipend, Senator Bernie Sanders is the only member who pays an hourly wage. However, Senator Sanders’ office only pays interns $12 an hour, short of his $15 proposal. In the House of Representatives, Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Keith Ellison, Maxine Waters and 145 other cosponsors do not pay their interns. Only 9 members from both chambers offer some form of a stipend, representing 5 percent of cosponsors.
Now, this is nothing new as far as Federal Senators and Representatives go, but it makes an important point: what incentive is there to craft good policy if the policy doesn’t affect you?
It’s a concept not unknown to those avid readers of Nassim Taleb, who refers to these types as intellectual-yet-idiots (or, alternatively, charlatans). For those who haven’t read his work, do yourself a favor and read the previously linked article; you’ll be better off.
He hits the nail on the head: without skin in the game there is no reason to do something. A lack of skin in the game is the reason Taleb often berates tenured economists for advocating for policies that would destroy their personal finances, but do nothing that would affect their comfy tenured positions. Here Taleb is describing briefly this principal:
For more on this, click here.
And this applies most saliently to politics.
For example, why should Republicans repeal and replace Obamacare if it doesn’t even affect them because of the Congressional exemption? This is one of the reasons that President Trump should remove the exemption: it may help force Congress to act in our best interests, rather than play political games with other people’s lives and wealth.
Going back to the minimum wag: it’s appalling that these Members of Congress would try and push additional policies that would only affect others and not them. It’s bureaucracy at its finest.
Furthermore, there are plenty of examples showing that raising the minimum wage actually hurts the very people it’s suppose to help. For example, Harvard released basic research this year that posits minimum wage hikes have a detrimental effect to the economy overall. This has been confirmed in real time in Seattle.
Up in Canada, a study found that Ontario’s minimum wage hike also would disproportionately impact immigrants and ethnic minorities—the very people the government claims to be looking out for.
But none of this matters unless Congress has to live with the consequences of their policies like the rest of us.