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Elizabeth Warren pays interns $0 per hour

Elizabeth Warren pays interns $0 per hour

What happened to the other $22?

Elizabeth Warren has gained notoriety recently for complaining that the minimum wage would be $22 per hour if it kept up with worker productivity gains over the past several decades.

Warren’s analysis was fundamentally flawed because it did not measure increased productivity of minimum wage unskilled workers or justify paying $45,000 per year as a minimum regardless of worker skills.  Moreover, Warren cherry-picked the $22 number, ignoring other much lower numbers in the study on which she relied based on other measurements.

But it was a YouTube and media hit, and has solidified Warren’s role as progressive champion, particularly when Warren asked “what happened to the other $13.75?”

If the minimum wage was so important to Warren, we wondered what she paid her interns.

The abuse of interns by powerful corporations like The NY Times is well documented, and the subject of controversy by student and worker advocates who argue that such internships in the private sector may violate wage laws.  Even if done in compliance with legal guidelines, unpaid internships take advantage of unequal bargaining power in a weak job market.

Warren actively is seeking interns for her Senate offices.

 Elizabeth Warren Senate Web Page Internships 4-11-2013

We checked today with Warren’s Senate office, and were told that “all internships are unpaid.” When asked whether they had any paid internships, the office responded “we do not.”

Warren is not alone.  Unpaid internships in Congress are the norm and appear to be legal because that’s the way Congress wrote the law.

We also researched internships Warren’s Senate campaign offered.  Warren’s campaign made very effective use of “internships” as a lure to get students to work on campuses and elsewhere for the campaign.  The internships were both part and full time and were unpaid.

Elizabeth Warren Campaign Intern Flyer1

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Elizabeth Warren Campaign Intern Flyer2

I don’t blame Warren for making liberal use of students hammered by a bad job market, even though she raised over $40 million.  Nobody built a campaign on their own.  Nobody.

The use of unpaid interns does, however, raise questions whether Warren’s rhetoric meets her reality considering she so publicly has lambasted private sector employers for not paying $22 per hour. Warren could have gone above and beyond what the law required.

These are just some facts to consider the next time Warren rips into some business person for not paying employees enough.

Update — Aleister writes, Brother Of Rich Senator Elizabeth Warren Lives On $13,200 Per Year (via Instapundit).


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legalizehazing | April 11, 2013 at 5:19 pm

I still cannot believe that exchange took place in the U.S. Senate. The crap that people can say and get away with is just unbelievable.
I cannot believe that she taught at Harvad. . . I cannot believe the imbeciles we’ve let take power. . 🙁

At least we can point out she’s a hypocrite and likes free youth labor.

Juba Doobai! | April 11, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Typical Democrat.

Obama babbles about equal pay for men and women, and he pays women less than men.

It’s all just words, just speeches by Democrats.

Hmmmm …. I thought one of the duties might be occasionally whipping up batches of that Oklahoma crab dip ….

It’s obvious why she doesn’t pay them anything. Warren wants to be sure she only gets the “right kind” of interns, that is, interns from elite backgrounds who can afford to work for nothing.

Warren is trying to shut out underprivileged young people — young people from poor families who have to find any paying job they can just to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.

    Ragspierre in reply to Peter Porcupine. | April 11, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Another way to look at it is this…

    the lowest paid McDonalds trainee is worth more than a Warren intern.

    And private enterprise values a fry-cook MUCH higher than a Warren protege.


    Alex Bensky in reply to Peter Porcupine. | April 12, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Exactly so, Peter P., and an illustration–if more were needed–that whatever motivates the left, it is not the left’s claimed principles.

    These internships are important for networking and getting a leg up on all the other competitors for jobs by getting experience and background.

    And as you say, this means that these valuable internships are available only to those who have the resources to spend an extended period of time without needing to support themselves. This rules out most people middle-middle class and below.

    But who cares? Their betters will rule them and tell them what’s good for them and what they really want. And Warren teaches at an Ivy League school so her sheer brainpower is an ample substitute for experience and knowledge. Excuse me, I want to be up to date: “experience” and “knowledge.”

    This leads me to my current activism and I hope Professor Jacobson won’t mind if I use his weblog to recruit supporters. I see two issues that are pressing and should result in constitutional amendments.

    One is this: “No person who has ever been enrolled in, taught at, accepted money from, or has been in any way associated with an Ivy League university and certain similar institutions, to be determined by Congress, shall ever hold any public office of any sort at any level, from local to national.”

    The other is to ban the designated hitter rule and artificial turf, but I assume the case for this is self-evident.

As a reminder, please note that some congresspervs have “paid” their interns with other than cash. Mark Foley and Jim Kolbe are two of several that are particularly noteworthy.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to MicahStone. | April 11, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Just off the top of MY head: Barney Fwank and Gerry Studds. I think their pages paid them via prostitution.

    Bottoms up, er, cheers!

This is just ad hoc Cher-o-kee reparations, getting even with the White-Eyes…including her brother, who didn’t catch the right genes.

He’s just a Okie redneck.

See…??? It all makes sense. Or as much sense as anything Warren.

Come 2016 we’re going to find out she’s “african-amerikkkan” because she has pubic hair.

People are being too hard on Warren here.

She was saying that wages should have kept pace with productivity, but in a Senate Democrat’s office, productivity is to be discouraged.

So, either the intern slacks off like every other Democrat and is paid according to his or her productivity, or he or she is actually productive and deserves to be penalized for not being a team non-player.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to malclave. | April 11, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    The minimum wage has nothing to do with productivity. It is an entirely artificial construct decided by the wizards of smart in government who believe they know better than the small businessman how much the job he wants done is worth. Before the individual hired has even done a lick of work, he is said to be worth $7.50 per hour. That is absurd. If he has no job skills, why should he be worth $7.50, especially when the employer has to train him? Besides, different jobs have different practical skill requirements. Why should there be a minimum wage, and why should that MW be the same for all jobs all across the board? Absurd!

Mr.FadedGlory | April 11, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Warren is obviously a doofus but this isn’t the kind of fallacy I would expect to be forwarded on LI:

” Even if done in compliance with legal guidelines, unpaid internships take advantage of unequal bargaining power in a weak job market.”

Raising the minimum wage contributes to progressive inflation. If it did not, then the ideal wage would be a one-time (a birth bounty) trillion dollar distribution to every man, woman, and child. Unfortunately, not only does currency unbacked by productivity cause corruption, but it also does not compensate for the terms and circumstances of reality. Most notably it does not compensate for finitely accessible and available resources, both natural and human.

Is Warren’s plan to promise a pot of gold to everyone, then stand back and watch them compete for the beachfront property in Hawaii? It would be the ultimate fight to the death… women and children first.

re: Brother Of Rich Senator Elizabeth Warren

It seems that Warren and Obama are kindred spirits (i.e. sanctimonious hypocrites). They favor activism through symbolism. Well, at least as far as the disabled and poor children are concerned.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to n.n. | April 11, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Like Obama, Warren has a brother living in a hut (living on $13K SS per year) and does not extend a hand to help him.

[…] Legal Insurrection did some research and learned that, sadly, none of the internships Warren’s office is currently offering is a paid position, nor were internships for Warren’s campaign last year. Even the people who printed the ad soliciting campaign interns donated their work, it seems. […]

Hypocrite is too kind a word to describe Warren. She is fraud, a fake, and charlatan. Even the deluded people of Massachusetts deserve better than that.

    madest in reply to arnonerik. | April 12, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Elizabeth Warren will be your president one day and there’s nothing you and your pin-headed friends can do to stop it.

I imagine David Herring, brother of Elizabeth, isn’t surviving on Social Security alone. An article from 1993 about a fire on the Herring’s property listed the house, swimming pool, three boats, two cars, a barn and tractor and a grand piano.

stevewhitemd | April 11, 2013 at 8:12 pm

My laboratory interns at the university get $10 an hour and work at the bench to learn science.

Senator Warren’s interns get $zero an hour and work to make coffee.

I prefer my interns.

When liberals talk about wanting to “spread the wealth around,” they’re always talking about someone else’s wealth, not their own.

What’s all the fuss? Warren’s interns volunteer for the experience; they are not coerced to serve.

    TMLutas in reply to Searcher. | April 12, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Warren has the opportunity to “walk the walk” of her own beliefs. She passes on it. If you believe in free internships, you aren’t a consistent believer in progressivism, just when it is somebody else who pays the bill. Warren knows paying $22/hr for interns would reduce the effectiveness of her office so she does not offer that. Is any other organization less affected by a $22 min salary? They are not, but they are criticized by Warren for acting like Warren. Only those businesses are not generally spouting off about $22 min wages so at least the hypocrisy is absent in their cases.

This the dumbest article I ever read. ALL INTERNS ARE UNPAID!!! Typically they get college credits for their work and being an intern for Elizabeth Warren would look really good on your resume. Who wrote this crap? That rabble rouser Breitbart? Dummy

    J.H. in reply to madest. | April 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    No, not all internships are unpaid positions. A simple Google search would have allowed you to find that out on your own.

    The reason anyone would mention this is because Warren portrays herself as such a staunch warrior for the ‘little guy.’

    I guess not so much if there’s dollars coming out of her pocket.

    jdkchem in reply to madest. | April 12, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Did mommy forget to wipe your ass this morning?

That’s not the point, guys. A sincere champion of the downtrodden masses and someone who sanctimoniously wants to pay other peoples employees $22.00 per hour had an opportunity to righteously lead the battle against those who take advantage of the “little people”. But sorry! not this time. She is a fake and a fraud. Her concern for the lower classes never gets beyond the grandstanding speeches.

HiramJGoldsteinII | April 12, 2013 at 9:45 am

Madest, when I was an intern, I got paid $30 an hour. The lowest-paid interns (freshmen) at the company got paid $17 an hour. Not everyone exploits their labor-in-training.

It’s the same old story for our elite:

Warren believes she’s smart enough to decide how much people ought to get paid and what they’re willing to work for, and that her interns are smart enough to decide whether to work for free, but the rest of us just aren’t smart enough to make those decisions for ourselves.

This is a good example of the difference between Liberals and Conservatives. With a Liberal, it is more important to be “for” the right causes and to feel the pain of the downtrodden. Conservatives know that talk is cheap and are more concerned about what can they do to fix the problem (with their own initiative and their personal funds.)
Just check who contributes to charities. Not including corporate tax write-offs and P R reasons, Conservatives donations to charity far exceeds that of liberals.

aaargh…. no grammar nazi here (don’t care about errors in comments/on blog posts), but really: apparently this was written by an intern worth his wage — and EW let it go out officially from her office, so it’s on her.
“Interns in the Washington, DC office will also assist with tours for visiting constituents, attend briefings and hearings, and supporting the press staff.”

My internship with Congress was paid (sort of). It wasn’t paid much, but I did get paid something ($1000 flat fee).

In theory, it was called a “living stipend” because I was working in DC, (because I did not work nor live in the Congressman’s district that I was interning with).

Fortunately I had a close friend of the family who graciously allowed me to stay at his home for 10 weeks, and allowed me to park at his employment site, which significantly diffused my expenses.

Barbarossa Cain | April 12, 2013 at 1:07 pm

I work in HR for a Fortune 50 tech company. We pay our interns handsomely. Please try again…

The thing that’s so galling about this is that US labor regs are very clear: If you’re doing work that advances the organization and if your internship doesn’t look a whole lot like a graduate seminar in terms of the learning-to-doing ratio, then you have to be paid for it — and paid minimum wage, not some $500 stipend for the summer.

Internship authorized by the school? Doesn’t matter. Getting college credit for it? Doesn’t matter. If you’re doing work, our labor laws say you get paid.

It’s a big problem in all sorts of industries, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised it’s a problem in government as well.

[…] Elizabeth Warren pays interns $0 per hour What happened to the other $22? […]