- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 23, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Your article “Lean, green, and interning” (Plugged In, Monday) portrays Brandon Carmack and other Washington interns as starving victims at the mercy of a harsh and remorseless business world. Mr. Carmack couldn’t fit frozen chicken into his $30 grocery budget, as you report, but got it thanks to a benevolent cashier, who “took pity on his budget shortage” and gave him the chicken for free.

As Brandon’s friend, roommate and fellow intern at the Heritage Foundation, I feel compelled to shed some light on this story. In reality, Brandon and I are paid a generous amount of money for our internship, which enables us to live comfortably even in a high-priced city like Washington. We don’t really “stick to a tight budget.” In reality, we have been splurging all summer long. Just this past weekend, our activities included seeing “The Dark Knight,” kayaking up the Potomac River and eating out for nearly every meal. We’re not exactly scraping by with “spartan” lifestyles.

Regarding the “small apartment”: Heritage provides us with a spacious room, kitchen, walk-in closet and bathroom. After living in college dorm rooms for the past two years, we consider our current living quarters to be quite luxurious. We are generously provided free access to a two-story workout facility, entertainment center and library. Your story says the average rent for a Washington apartment is $1,459 a month, but we pay slightly more than $700 per month. We have all the space we need, with money to spare.

My point is this: Life is good as a summer intern. We are not scraping to get by. We are living the dream and having the time of our lives. Sometimes this means spending well over our budgets, which translates into cuts at the grocery store. That’s part of what being an intern is all about.

TREVOR SHUNK

Domestic policy Intern

Center for Heath Policy

The Heritage Foundation

Washington

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