Democratic Socialist darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hasn't even been sworn into office yet and she's already shaking things up in Washington, D.C. Scratch that. She hasn't even been sworn in as a Congresswoman yet and she's already making demands of her fellow legislators...before meeting and working with them.
First, she complained that she couldn't find adequate housing that she could afford. Then, she complained about health insurance as a means of advocating for Medicare For All. And who could forget her crazy comparisons between the Central American caravan and the Holocaust? Or that she didn't know what the three branches of government are?
Now, she's telling her colleagues that they need to pay staffers a living wage:
This week I went to dive spot in DC for some late night food. I chatted up the staff.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) December 3, 2018
SEVERAL bartenders, managers, & servers *currently worked in Senate + House offices.*
This is a disgrace. Congress of ALL places should raise MRAs so we can pay staff an actual DC living wage.
It is unjust for Congress to budget a living wage for ourselves, yet rely on unpaid interns & underpaid overworked staff just bc Republicans want to make a statement about “fiscal responsibility.”— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) December 3, 2018
If that’s the case, they can cut down on staff to pay them well. Or raise the MRA.
Here's the thing about internships:
Not all of them pay...
My last semester of college, I interned for the American Conservative Union and guess what? I wasn't paid monetarily. I was paid with experience. It was a trade off. I was given opportunities that seriously helped my career. Building contacts and relationships with other people was what I was paid with. That also meant that I had to live off of savings and a few hundred dollars that my parents sent me each money. It was one of the best decisions I ever made for myself. If nothing else, I learned what it was like to work and live on Capitol Hill.
...Unless you're on the Hill.
When I interned at the ACU, I lived in an all girls boarding house. Most of the girls who lived there were in D.C. for a short time. Most were interns, some were staff assistants (the lowest staffers). I was one of the only unpaid interns. Pretty much every intern who worked on Capitol Hill or for a government agency was paid.
People (generally) go into politics for the right reasons.
Most people who work in politics start out as activists who want to make a difference. They somehow turn their activism into a paying job. And anyone who volunteers or works in politics knows one thing: you don't do it for the money. You do it because you care about the future of the nation.
A "living wage" will vary person-to-person.
Where we come from, how we budget our money and what we deem as "necessities" all play a role in what we think we need to earn from a job. This has to do with how we're raised and really, our views on the role government should pay.
The two question I have for Ocasio-Cortez: if you're so concerned about paying staff a living wage, why not shrink your staff size and pay each one of them more? And how much will you be paying your interns?