Fox News Thinks Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Commitment to Paying Her Staff a Living Wage Is “Communism on Display”
Fox News is trying to come after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez again, this time for her commitment to income equality.
It’s an issue that the congresswoman has talked about a lot. Shortly after she was elected, she publicly discussed her financial challenges in moving to D.C., a ridiculously expensive city to live in. She’s said that she would pay her interns–who often work for nothing but college credit–$15 an hour, and she’s called out Congress for choosing to “rely on unpaid interns & underpaid overworked staff just bc Republicans want to make a statement about ‘fiscal responsibility.'”
She also pays her entire staff a decent wage, something that’s unfortunately rare among politicians. On Friday, she tweeted that no one on her staff will make less that $52,000 a year. “It’s likely one of the highest entry-level salaries on the Hill,” she wrote. “We pinch pennies elsewhere, but it’s worth every dime to pay a living wage.”
She also tweeted out a brief explainer of how she’s able to do this. Apparently, staffers’ salaries aren’t officially set at a specific amount. Rather, each office gets a budget that they then get to divvy up however they want.
A lot of people commenting don’t know how Congressional salaries work.
Each member is given a set amount that they disburse. GOP has refused to increase budgets in years to give hard-working staff a raise, which means people helping to run the country are getting paid $30k/year.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 23, 2019
According to Fox News, this dedication to not underpaying the people who make her job possible is pure Communism.
(Poor Pete clearly has no idea what those terms mean.) pic.twitter.com/8s9qd8vJke
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 25, 2019
Co-host Pete Hegseth explains that in order to pay those lower-level staffers $52,000 a year, that money will be taken from the salary of people like her Chief of Staff. “Your entry-level intern is making 52 grand, while your chief of staff―who has a very important role in a congressional office―now is capped at 80, as opposed to the actual market rate on Capitol Hill which is closer to $150,000,” he said. “So everyone’s between 52 and 80. It’s actually socialism and communism on display.”
You’d think that with all the time Hegseth saves by never washing his hands, he’d be able to take a minute and look up what those words actually mean.
He also said that $52,000 equals $15 an hour, which works out if AOC is forcing her entire staff to work nine and a half hours a day, 365 days a year. I guess if he can choose not to believe in germs, he can also choose not to believe in math. And we really shouldn’t expect a little thing like facts to stand between Fox News and socialism fearmongering.
The GOP is so disconnected from the basic idea that people should be paid enough to live that Fox actually thinks me paying a living wage in my office is “communism.”
So the next time GOP screams “socialist,” know that’s their go-to attack for any common-sense, humane policy. https://t.co/wNe6RGVKVy
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 25, 2019
Last week, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that “It’s pretty sad that people think low Congressional staff pay is a good thing. Low pay a big reason why money in politics is a problem – you can make a lot more money becoming a lobbyist & setting up a relationship w/ one, since the actual job doesn’t pay enough.”
It’s also, presumably, a big reason why entering public service feels like a fantasy to so many people who weren’t born into wealth and existing political connections–and why nepotism is so rampant in Washington. To work on a typical Congressional staff you either have to be independently wealthy or work side jobs, something that a lot of staffers do and that AOC has called “a disgrace.”
It would also seem reasonable to assume that the person Ocasio-Cortez named as her Chief of Staff is going to share her core values and not bemoan an $80K income. If that’s not the case, there are plenty of other offices on the Hill to work in. Or does Fox News only enjoy the “if you don’t like the pay, find another job” argument when it applies to low-income people?
(image: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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