When a Progressive Magazine Pays Less Than Walmart

The age-old misunderstanding over minimum wage laws may finally be resolving.

The Nation magazine is asking Walmart, to pay its workers at least $12 per hour. Never mind that according to Walmart its average worker already earns more than that.

In any case, Walmart turned the tables on the progressive political publication by exposing the fact that it pays its own interns much less than it demands of greedy capitalists. In an email labeled “people who live in glass houses…,” a Walmart executive points out that The Nation has paid its full-time interns below the federal minimum wage for the last 30 years.

Not taking this revelation lying down, The Nation shot back that starting this fall it was upgrading its intern pay to the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. Of course, that’s still less than what the magazine itself cites as the average Walmart worker’s wage, but who’s counting?

The economic lesson here is hard to miss when the magazine’s intern program director says, “We are not yet certain how [our new higher wage policy] will work out long term, but for the fall we are anticipating hiring ten interns rather than twelve.”

As Reason magazine — on the other end of the ideological spectrum — noted, “One could forgive Walmart for being tempted to reply with something along the lines of: ‘No s**t.’”

Steve Buckstein is Founder and Senior Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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