If one is going to grandstand and pontificate about the failures of the current minimum wage, and how $22/hour is the only fair rate of pay for unskilled workers, perhaps it would make sense to pay one’s interns such a wage. Or how about even a wage.
If this is going to be a signature issue for Ms. Warren, if she is going to paint herself as some sort of moral crusader she should at the very minimum pay her interns the current minimum wage. But she doesn’t. She doesn’t pay them anything.
I don’t blame Ms. Warren for hiring people who will work for her for free, but she’s advocating a policy which would decimate hundreds of thousands of small businesses (not to say completely wreck the Main Street economy). So long as she advocates for this kind of silliness, she at a minimum should walk the walk. Really what kind of person wouldn’t?
One other thing. Capitol Hill is crawling with unpaid interns. It’s kind of the bush league for Congressional staffer jobs. Few staffers have not spent some time working for free on the Hill.
Almost every unpaid intern I met when I was a paid intern (I was lucky) on the Hill was well off or very well off. I met very few kids from state schools but many from the Ivy League. The state school kids had to get paid jobs. Wealthier kids could afford to intern on the Hill. It is one of the ways the permanent political class regenerates itself.