Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC as the left has nicknamed her because we don’t have time to say 3 different names no matter how progressive we are, is shaking things up in Congress. It started with her supporting activists in Nancy Pelosi’s office, pushing for a Green New Deal while she skipped her Freshman Orientation. The right went bonkers about that. And to be fair who really goes to their Freshman Orientation. I didn’t. And yeah, sure I didn’t know that we had a basketball team for the first 3 months of my college career but that’s a mistake anyone could’ve made.
She and a few of the other progressive House Representatives also showed that Congressional Freshman are getting pep talks from members of corporate, conservative think tanks! As she pointed out, there are no activists or labor leaders giving speeches. The lies are in the open! We all knew that corporations were controlling Congress but to see the smoking gun is like opening your third eye to find a dimension that mostly made up of fecal matter. It’s not to say there’s not a transcendent dimension too, but just that fecal matter one exists too and we’ve been aware of it, we just have proof now.
AOC is continuing to rock the house by paying interns! That’s right, she wants pay those coffee jockeys in Congress like their actual people! Ever since that night after I graduated college and got a full night’s rest where I didn’t have to wake up, work for free, then head over to get paid to do a job to cover the expenses of working for free, I realized that internships are bullshit. I mean nothing shows us that slavery is alive and well in a First World country than the idea of internships.
You’re a college student that is trying to ensure you have a job in the real world. You’re already in debt for a few tens of thousands of dollars and you’re about 2 years from graduating. And because you want to make sure you graduate on time and don’t accrue extra debt, you have taken on extra classes and in order to stay awake and focused you’ve developed a fun adderol problem. And in order to keep funding the adderol problem, you have a part time job as a barista. And in order to make sure that this part time doesn’t become a full time job, you have a internship at corporation that is willingly exploiting your fears and concerns about your future for their benefit with zero compensation. But there might be a job at the end of the road where you get to make coffee for an unappreciative douche full time instead of 2 times a week. Unless you want to be a full time barista for the rest of your life? You don’t want that do you? And you’re too fueled on adderol and sleep deprived to think that you’re worth more than that and should be paid accordingly.
Ok that’s like the worst case scenario. But internships are usually unpaid and the Department of Labor claims payment is determined by the “primary beneficiary” of the relationship. Basically if there is an educational component or an academic credit being received then there is no primary benefit to the company so they don’t need to get pay interns. The education is payment enough. Yes, knowledge for debt! Why would you want to earn money in the field you want to work in? In the world of comedy this is the coveted “exposure” you’ll receive for doing an unpaid show where the booker charged a cover and is taking donations.
The primary beneficiary is the company. The intern learns somethings and if they’re paid they will probably stay within your company to help you make more money. Perhaps where the issue lies is the fact that we’re calling these students and newbies, interns. What we should say is Trainee. Trainees usually get paid. Trainees will eventually become employees.
Now there are currently 3 members of Congress that pay their interns a living wage of $15/hour. Bernie Sanders, which is not a surprise. Republican Mike Capro and Democrat Adam Smith. It’s like Congress said, “One of each shall pay, the rest shall use the age old, where will the money come from excuse! Now which corporate Democrat and Republican shall pay their intern to appear like Congress members have a heart that is full of oil that scraped off a seagull from the Gulf Coast!”
Congress did pass a bill to allocate a budget for Congressional Interns earlier this year. But it only allocates about $20,000/year for an intern in Congress. That’s barely enough to survive in Washington D.C. Before she got into the House, AOC tweeted that she couldn’t afford to live in DC till she got her first Congressional check! That’s on a House Representative salary and you want interns to live off a fraction of that?
Most of these interns do have other jobs, 2 or 3 of them in fact. I’m sure this is great for Republicans to say “Look how low unemployment is! We’ve got 2 jobs for every American! And that’s what the Mexicans want! More jobs and less pay!!” The fact that people have to work 3 jobs to survive means the economy is broken. The fact a House Representative couldn’t move into DC because she comes from a blue collar lifestyle means that system isn’t meant for average people to get in. It’s meant for trust fund babies and billionaires to make laws for people they are out of touch with. It shows us that system is owned by the rich to help pass the time in between the moments they’re counting the money that they’re not paying interns!
But because these glaring realities are in our faces, Congress is now talking about getting every intern a living wage! That’s a big first step to talking about a better life for many working class people in America. The reality is this country’s primary beneficiary have been the elites and upper class reaping the labor of the blue collar. And with this push and this conversation we’re switching that up to we the people becoming the primary beneficiary of these jobs and this system!