Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton Wants to Destroy the Sharing Economy. Here's Why That's a Terrible Idea.

Government should watch from the sidelines.

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Hillary Clinton
Hillary for Iowa

During a recent economic address by Hillary Clinton to soft-launch her "growth and fairness economy" plan, she rightfully noted that we "need new ideas" to combat slow economic growth and the lack of opportunities for some Americans. But then she proceeded to offer outdated and failed policies that would guarantee the United States remains stuck in the 20th century forever.

Nowhere was this more visible than in her attack on the sharing economy—a term used by my colleagues who are experts on technology policy at the Mercatus Center to describe "any marketplace that uses the Internet to connect distributed networks of individuals to share or exchange otherwise underutilized assets."

Without mentioning companies such as Uber, Airbnb, and Lyft by name, Clinton explained that "many Americans are making extra money renting out a spare room, designing websites, selling products they design themselves at home or even driving their own car." As she remarked, that's a good thing because this "on-demand, or so-called gig, economy is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation."

But don't get too excited. She immediately tempered her praise for the ability of consumers to contract directly with producers because it raises "hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future." That reflection was quickly followed by a promise to stifle those disruptive forces with more "workplace protections."

So she promised to fight this innovative arrangement in the workplace and "crack down on bosses who exploit employees by misclassifying them as contractors or even steal their wages." Then she proposed a mix of government "investments" (read: spending) and strong-arming of businesses to institute a higher minimum wage, paid family leave, earned sick days, a right to child care, President Barack Obama's mandated overtime, and all that good stuff (read: more tried and failed policies), which hasn't worked out so well in Europe.

In May, for instance, The New York Times ran what should have been an eye-opening piece that looked at the many ways numerous Clintonian policies backfired, discouraged employment and cut wages in countries where they have been prominently implemented.

But forget about that silly data, because her policies would "(break) down barriers so more Americans participate more fully in the workforce." In her mind, Uber and other permission-less innovators are exploiting workers. At the least, these innovators need to be told what to pay their employees by know-it-all politicians.

At a time when policies she endorsed—such as the war in Iraq and the Affordable Care Act—have helped even more Americans realize just how incompetent lawmakers are at creating policies, not to mention the negative consequences politicians' decisions can have on their lives, Clinton is trying to make us respect the wisdom of politicians and the laws she intends to enact.

Innovators who invent new technology that creatively destroys old workplace arrangements are also changing the lives of millions of Americans and people around the globe, lowering our cost of living and making the world a better place. They should be able to do so without having to constantly fight with politicians.

Here's a new idea for Clinton: The government shouldn't get in the way of innovation and progress; it should watch from the sidelines and be grateful that there are private actors who are willing to risk their own money and effort to produce the benefits government can never deliver.

© Copyright 2015 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  1. You must be new at this. Government won’t settle for anything less than a hidden one-way mirror.

    1. “Government should watch from the sidelines.” Should, but someone can’t let all those crises go to waste!

  2. Government ….. should watch from the sidelines …

    No. They should not be let anywhere near the field where the game of life is taking place.

  3. If she could, she’d tax and regulate farts

    1. Well, of course. They contribute greenhouse gases such as methane.

  4. Nowhere was this more visible than in her attack on the sharing economy?a term used by my colleagues…

    DISCLAIMER: Ms. de Rugy disavows any personal claim to the use of that term.

  5. “During a recent economic address by Hillary Clinton to soft-launch her “growth and fairness economy” plan…”

    This first half of the very first sentence is as far as one needs to read. Other than getting out of the way (reducing taxes, reducing regulations) no candidate should be proposing any “economic plan” at all. Not in a supposedly free country anyway.

  6. You know who else used words like “uber”?

    1. “Leute, das ist mein Plan f?r die Weltherrschaft und Vernichtung der Juden Uber cool.”

  7. So Hillary is in favor of goodness and not in favor of badness? I’m ready for Hillary!!! Yeeaaaahhhhhh ( Howard Dean scream.)

  8. I wonder if she realizes how her ideas completely infantalize adults. As a participant in the gig economy, I can say that there is no way an “employer” can take advantage of a worker. You just turn down the gig if you the pay or time line is unreasonable. No one is twisting anyone’s arm. And a cheapskate also runs the risk of getting hammered on social media and thereafter finding it difficult to hire any contractor at all. How can anyone with half a brain not feel their intelligence is being insulted by this woman and her paternalistic busybody policy ideas?

    1. Of course the flip side of the argument (her argument) is that the company doesn’t have to pay benefits, etc., if the worker is an independent contractor, and is exploiting the worker.

      But what the worker does get is complete flexibility, which is very important to some people. That’s a trade-off the worker should decide, not the government.

      1. Not only that, what if the driver is not the primary wage-earner and someone else in the family has health insurance that covers the whole family? The driver doesn’t need health insurance. A one-size-fits-all policy doesn’t always work.

        Just like with the minimum wage, a lot of people earning minimum wage are in households with incomes well above the poverty level, so why do they need to earn a “living wage”?

      2. It is importantto Demicrat Party to ensure the dominsnt Employer/Worker paradigm from.the mid 20th Century continue into perpetuity.

    2. but you cant just turn down the gig because you money. Money to let you live the American Dream. How can you be against America?

    3. Well yes, but that leaves labor bureaucrats without any rulings to make and no one to shake down. How could you be so heartless as to think you can protect your interests all by ypurself?

  9. people with a passion for legumes and tubers?

  10. It kind of makes me feel sick to say this, but maybe it would be a good thing if the government started attacking things like Uber and other sharing economy businesses. My generation LOVES the sharing economy. Maybe if the government attacked them, my generation might get the message that the government sucks ass.

    1. No they won’t. The brain washing of going to public schools has been installed very deep

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