It’s no secret that politicians tend to be hypocrites and part of the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do elite. A good example of this comes from a new report published by the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) that found that a very small number of lawmakers endorsing the Fair Minimum Wage Act pay their interns.
According to the report, only four percent out of the 210 legislators supporting a minimum wage hike from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour pay their interns. That means 96 percent of House and Senate representatives do not pay their interns a single dime. Thirty-five Senate offices pay their interns.
In fact, this even includes authors of the bill: California Democratic Congressman George Miller and Iowa Democratic Senator Tom Harkin. House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, who has come out in strong support of the bill, doesn’t pay her interns, which was duly noted by Jan Helfeld in an interview he conducted during the 1990s.
“To cavalierly call for a $10.10 minimum wage while the vast majority do not pay their interns, shows that they are talking out of both sides of their mouth and are not living up to the same standards they expect of others,” said Michael Saltsman, EPI’s research director, in an interview with the Daily Caller.
“If you created a situation where you all of sudden had to pay for interns, there would be fewer intern positions available. A lot of folks up in Congress don’t seem to realize that the same dynamic applies in the private sector. If you raise the cost of hiring employees, there are going to be fewer opportunities available for workers.”
The issue of raising the minimum wage has been talked about greatly since President Barack Obama got re-elected. During his presidential campaign, he called for increasing the minimum wage to $9, but has since confirmed that he supports efforts to raise it to around $10.
The Washington Post reports that the U.S. president might even consider using executive action to raise the minimum wage. This past summer, the president stated: “Whatever executive authority I have to help the middle class, I’ll use it.” This month, Obama added: “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone.”
Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders told the news outlet that President Obama is taking the matter very seriously and is “weighing” the benefits and disadvantages behind such a move.
“I am very pleased that the president and members of his administration indicated they’re giving very serious consideration to this proposal,” Sanders said. “The president is weighing the pros and cons in terms of the impact on the overall debate.”
There are numerous arguments and unintended consequences when it comes to raising the minimum wage, but here a few of them to consider:
- Businesses increase their qualification expectations
- It hurts the unskilled, the uneducated, immigrants and youth from attaining jobs
- Why stop at $10, $15 or $50? If minimum wage helps then increase it to $250
- Higher minimum wage leads to job losses, cutting hours and a lack of hiring efforts
- Companies increase prices to offset the costs of raising the minimum wage
- Corporations support higher minimum wages to hurt their smaller competitors
- Unions endorse minimum wages because they are in direct competition with the unskilled
Instead of talking about increasing minimum wages perhaps there should be a discussion on abolishing it, returning to sound money and reducing the size and scope of government. That, or politicians should put their money where their mouth is and start paying their interns hefty salaries.