Sharing Economy

Why Hillary Hates Uber

Democrats think attacking the "gig economy" is a winning strategy. They're wrong.


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"I am not a great fan of Uber—you can quote me on that," declared Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders in August. The main reason he has "serious problems" with the ride-sharing service? It's "unregulated," he told Bloomberg. In this, if little else, Sanders finds himself in agreement with rival Hillary Clinton, who decried the "gig economy" in a major economic address around the same time last summer.

On the face of it, the sharing economy should make people of virtually all political stripes feel warm and fuzzy. Nearly any 21st century stump speech is going to be full of buzzwords—entrepreneurship, fairness, choice, opportunity, consumer empowerment, flexibility—that best describe this fast-growing commercial sector. The vast majority of people who have taken an Uber, shopped on Etsy, or found a place to stay through Airbnb enthusiastically embrace these new services which allow individual buyers and sellers to interact more easily and directly. Yet many sharing-economy companies have faced staunch political resistance.

Initially that hostility mostly came from state and municipal governments, at the behest of local special interests—legacy hotel and taxi companies chief among them—who slyly suggested that their new competition posed a threat to "public safety" by often operating outside of traditional regulatory frameworks. But as more people participated in the sharing economy, as consumers or as workers, cities and states reversed course and began implementing rules that were friendlier to the newcomers, essentially caving to the reality already in place on the ground. It's hard to believe that Virginia was issuing cease-and-desist letters to Uber and Lyft only two years ago. Now the state has regulations, pushed by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, that are generally welcoming to the ride-sharing industry.

Not everyone is on board. In Chicago there's a push to require Uber drivers to get the same licenses as full-time taxi drivers, for example, and New York City is attempting to crack down on what are deemed "illegal" Airbnb rentals. But those are the exceptions, not the norm they were a few years ago. And both of those measures, like similar restrictions under consideration elsewhere, are likely to fail.

Within states, the sharing economy sometimes pits politicians from the same party against one another. In New York, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo called Uber "one of these great inventions, startups, of this new economy" and said he doesn't "think the government should be in the business of trying to restrict job growth." Cuomo is working with state legislators to harmonize local regulations and bring Uber to all New Yorkers. At the same time, Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has assumed a decidedly anti-sharing economy posture. Last year de Blasio unsuccessfully attempted to cap the growth of ride-hailing services in the city, citing concerns over traffic congestion in downtown and midtown Manhattan.

But just as pols from both parties in most localities were wising up, powerful national special interests started taking notice of Uber and Airbnb for reasons of their own. Facing declining membership, especially among young workers, unions have seized on the sharing economy as just another example of evil capitalists exploiting helpless workers.

Today, many Democratic federal politicians beholden to Big Labor blame sharing economy companies for America's tepid recovery from the Great Recession of 2007–2009. The problem, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters explained in its newsletter, is that "these companies are simply recycling old ideas and taking us backwards to a time when workers had no rights on the job." The complaints do not stop there. "Don't let the term 'sharing economy' fool you. There is no sharing. It's really just the 1 percent making money by stripping workers of the rights for which the labor movement has fought so hard to secure." The Teamsters' solution: Reclassify sharing economy workers as "employees" instead of independent contractors, their current status, thus subjecting the companies to burdensome federal labor laws that favor unions.

If successful, this strategy will not only destroy service providers that benefit consumers, costing jobs and damaging the economy in the process. It will hurt these politicians with the next generation of U.S. voters. Unfortunately, national Democrats don't seem to have noticed.

The Battle Brews in Washington
What Hillary Clinton less-than-affectionately refers to as the "gig economy" is "raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future," she said at the New School in July 2015. The candidate is promising to "crack down on bosses who exploit employees by misclassifying them as contractors or even steal their wages."

Clinton's only competition for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, is if anything even less supportive of the sharing economy—though it should be noted that shortly after he went on the record with his concerns about Uber to Bloomberg this summer, National Journal reported that the Sanders campaign was using Uber for "100 percent" of its taxi rides.

On the other side, Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) wrote a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez urging her to resist applying additional or outdated regulations to the sharing economy. "Over and over again, government is sought out as an ally of incumbent businesses to restrict competition from new entrants," Cruz wrote in July 2015. "In a number of instances, and in a number of states, pre-existing regulatory regimes have been extended to new entrants in ways that may ultimately deprive consumers of significant cost savings and convenience that would otherwise accompany an expanded sharing economy."

Meanwhile, one of Cruz's then-opponents for the Republican nomination, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, was repeatedly calling on policy makers to "uberize" government. (By which he seems to mean using technology to bring private-sector efficiency to the public realm.) "Government shouldn't fight Uber by trying to keep them out of places," Kasich has said.

There are two main reasons for this striking difference in tone: labor unions' considerable influence over the Democratic Party, and the effect that federal labor laws can have on the sharing economy.

The AFL-CIO, American's largest labor union, released a statement in February 2016 that made clear how its leaderships views sharing economy workers: as a potential boon to union member rolls. "Making the right policy choices begins with ensuring people who work for on-demand companies enjoy the rights and protections of employees," the statement reads. "The AFL-CIO is committed to ensuring new technology—and new forms of employer manipulation—do not erode the rights of working people. Rest assured that if employers get away with pretending their workers aren't employees, your job could be next."

Nearly all sharing economy workers are classified as independent contractors rather than employees. Union interest arises because federal labor law does not extend the collective bargaining rights laid out in the 1935 National Labor Relations Act to independent contractors. Ultimately independent contractors work for themselves, the thinking goes, so they shouldn't be forced to follow labor agreements that they do not support just because a majority of the other contractors vote for union representation. While independent contractors are free to join groups (such as the growing Freelancers Union) to gain access to benefits and career development resources, these organizations cannot collectively bargain.

The flexibility of being an independent contractor is vital to the sharing economy's success. While some people work on these platforms full-time, the vast majority use them as a way to earn supplemental income. About 8 in 10 Lyft drivers choose to drive 15 hours a week or less, and half of Uber drivers use the platform for under 10 hours a week. Furthermore, half of Lyft's drivers and two-thirds of Uber's work another job while partnering with the company. Independent contractor status allows decisions about when and how long to work to be controlled by individual drivers, not a boss.

Even people who only work with one company don't all have the same priorities regarding work arrangements. Those who use Uber for supplemental income and part-time work have vastly different concerns than those who treat the service as a full-time job. Under collective bargaining, which group's interests will the union represent? Majority rule could take away one of the cornerstones of the sharing economy: the diverse benefits that come from flexible, individualized work opportunities.

Yet the Department of Labor (DOL) is working to categorize all sharing economy workers, regardless of their specific circumstances, as company employees. The agency's Wage and Hour Division recently issued an "administrator's interpretation," effective immediately, to clarify the definition of independent contractors. It states that "most workers are employees" regardless of changes in the way they work. Because the new interpretation was termed "guidance," it didn't have to go before the public for comment, or before Congress for a vote, even though it has the potential to upend the sharing economy.

Under the DOL's new standards, control over workers' hours is downplayed as one of the determinants of employment status. This could be devastating for sharing economy companies, which typically have no control over the hours people work.

The total flexibility is what makes working in the sharing economy so desirable in the first place. The ability to quickly increase earnings to meet rent, pay down student loans, or fund a new business venture benefits real people every day. This "income smoothing" is especially critical for young people and the poor, groups whose earnings often fluctuate wildly. Some 70 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 and 74 percent of those in the bottom income quintile experience income changes from month to month of 30 percent or more on average, according to the JPMorgan Chase Institute.

Young workers are of particular concern to the organized labor movement. Though union membership on the whole is declining, the trend among young people is even more pronounced. A paltry 4 percent of employed 16- to 24-year-olds were union members in 2015—significantly lower than the 14 percent of workers between the ages of 45 and 64. Millennials may be pro-union in theory, but when it comes to parting with a portion of their paychecks, few are willing to support them in practice.

Labor unions have lost sight of the reality that to remain viable they must meet young workers' needs. Instead, their focus is on satisfying the demands of union bosses and retirees, as evidenced by bloated union leader salaries and unsustainable pension promises. This does nothing to promote an entrepreneurial work environment. Forcing sharing economy workers into a formal employer-employee relationship would further hinder the growth of the promising alternative business models that young people find so exciting.

Getting Government Out of the Way
The driving force behind the sharing economy is nothing new. What has changed is the ability of technology to rapidly increase the speed of progress.

People have always had the desire to buy a hard-to-find product, find a place to stay, eat a home-cooked meal, get assistance on a task, or find a way to get around. But it was often too time-consuming to find someone willing to offer the desired goods or services, especially at a reasonable price. It would be completely impractical to go from door to door asking home owners if they have an extra room to rent and for how much. Now travelers simply have to log on to Airbnb, and with a few clicks of a mouse they can find rooms that fit their needs and budgets.

In other words, the sharing economy lowers transaction costs through increasing consumer and worker empowerment. Sure, the internet made these specific business models possible—but the desire to make products more accessible, affordable, and convenient has been with us for as long as people have been trading.

Thumbtack, a firm that helps small business owners grow their enterprises, recently released a report on its partners showing that the benefits of lower transaction costs extend far beyond Uber and Airbnb. Skilled professionals—everyone from plumbers and electricians to music instructors and personal chefs—gain from innovations that provide easier access to customers. Online platforms make it simpler and cheaper than ever for these workers to market their products. And of course, consumers can find higher-quality goods and services at lower prices.

Waging a war on lower transaction costs is the definition of fighting progress. Americans have always been entrepreneurial by nature, and innovations that make it easier to go into business for yourself should be welcomed by the political class. But many Washington Democrats want to return America to a time when the only efficient way to meet consumer needs was to build a large corporation with many employees and high overhead costs.

The left's attitude toward new work arrangements is epitomized by Robert Reich, a former secretary of labor under Bill Clinton who has called the sharing economy a "fraud" that "should be called the 'share-the-scraps economy'": "In effect, on-demand work is a reversion to the piece work of the nineteenth century—when workers had no power and no legal rights, took all the risks, and worked all hours for almost nothing," Reich argued in 2015. The "almost nothing" part of this statement is especially surprising given that Reich admits Uber drivers earn about $25 an hour, double what most taxi drivers make.

And who is Reich to decide that the millions of Americans who have voluntarily partnered with a sharing economy company are getting ripped off? Though he's not an economist by training, he should be familiar with the concept of revealed preference. People choose to partner with sharing economy companies because, in their view, doing so is the most desirable option available to them. To make this more difficult is to say, in essence, "I don't care if you enjoy driving with Uber as an independent contractor; I disapprove of your decision and will not allow it."

Instead of obsessing over trying to revive the post–World War II era of high unionization rates, politicians should embrace the emerging flexible workplace. Besides the benefits that the sharing economy offers to workers, consumers, and the economy as a whole, it's in lawmakers' political interest not to intervene in the new economy's ascent.

Just 18 percent of millennials believe that regulators primarily have the public's interest in mind, according to a 2015 Reason-Rupe poll—perhaps because they've seen the benefits of the sharing economy (and the inhospitable welcome it has received from many in power) firsthand. Young Americans rightly realize that many regulations do little more than protect established interests, and they, even more than previous generations, appreciate the value of entrepreneurship. Not only do they hold up entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Steve Jobs as idols, but two-thirds of young Americans hope to work for themselves in the future—a goal that the sharing economy can help them realize. Millennials are essentially libertarians when it comes to this issue set—the term Ubertarians has even been thrown around.

The youth enthusiasm that propelled Barack Obama's campaigns (and now Bernie Sanders') obscures the reality that young people are not particularly politically engaged. Millennial voters eschew affiliation with the two major parties at significantly higher rates than their elders do, and compared to other age groups they're less likely to show up to vote. Turnout among young people nationally was just 20 percent for the 2014 midterms, the lowest level in the past 40 years.

But one thing that's proven successful at getting young people to care about politics is to take away something that they regularly use. When in recent years Uber in New York City and Airbnb in San Francisco came under attack, young people took note, and the measures were either dropped or soundly defeated at the ballot box, union influence notwithstanding.

Some regulations, such as those on the financial and energy industries, have effects on goods and services that are far from clear to the end user. For example, most consumers do not know how much stricter ozone standards will increase the costs of turning on the lights or charging phones. But when policy makers get between voters and their Ubers, the negative effects of government intervention are crystal clear: higher prices, fewer options, and reduced earnings opportunities.

Back in 2013, at the 81st United States Conference of Mayors, a bipartisan group of nine mayors from major U.S. cities inked a resolution urging "support for making cities more shareable." Recent regulatory changes at the local level make it clear that many more than nine mayors are on board with those sentiments. State and local leaders from both political parties increasingly realize that, instead of simply driving existing businesses underwater, the sharing economy increases options for consumers by expanding the proverbial pie of available goods and services, allowing different consumers to find the option that's the best fit for them. A June 2015 National League of Cities survey of 245 chief elected officials found that over 7 in 10 were supportive of the sharing economy, and not just because of the work opportunities it creates. The most popular response when leaders were asked to name the biggest benefit was "improved services."

The gig economy should never have become a partisan issue on the federal level. The schism arose primarily because of labor unions' influence on the Democratic Party. Union leaders know that to unionize the sharing economy, they need federal changes to America's labor laws so that independent contractors—the sharing economy's foundation—can be forced to follow collectively bargained agreements.

But you don't have to be a highly paid political consultant to realize that standing in the way of immensely popular services to aid unions (a special interest that less than 1 in 20 millennials belongs to) is no way to win over the youth vote. Grumpy oldsters Clinton and Sanders may continue to complain about the sharing economy on the campaign trail. But if Democrats turn this rhetoric into action, there will be much less support coming from college campuses and urban centers in November.

NEXT: Brickbat: Don't Rock the Boat

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68 responses to “Why Hillary Hates Uber

  1. “In a number of instances, and in a number of states, pre-existing regulatory regimes have been extended to new entrants in ways that may ultimately deprive consumers of significant cost savings and convenience that would otherwise accompany an expanded sharing economy.”

    Even when he’s right, Cruz sounds slimy.

    1. I’ve read the quoted text several times and I’m not sure how it’s supposed to sound ‘slimy’.

      1. I just imagine him saying it. Try saying it in the voice of GayJay, Trump or McConnell. Different feel every time.

        1. GayJay would lull me to sleep with mind crushing boredom and Gelded Weld would be whispering in his ear about possible regulatory recapture.

          And Old Tippy Turtle himself, yeah like he could keep a straight face trying to drawl his way through it.

          Troomp, dear Sod, no. No teleprompter-ing from this yutz. Just. No.

        2. I don’t know the voices of any of those people well enough to imagine them saying “hello” let alone whole sentences.

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  2. Hillary Clinton will pander to the potential donor over the potential voter any day of the week.

    1. Voters don’t put millions of dollars into her pocket foundation.

    2. Which is not surprising, Fist of Medical: You think those young virgins’ blood “donations” keeping her alive come at no expense? Why do you think the Clinton Crime Foundation “assists” young wayward waifs (besides Bill’s appetite for the young ‘uns)? It certainly isn’t out of some altruistic or charitable bent…

      The similarities to Elizatbeth Bathory are by no means coincidental.

      1. The elections going to be a blood bath.

    3. That is just what serious people do.

  3. Back in the Argentinian Troubles, there was a blogger named FerFal. He ran a simple blog, telling the world what it was like to live in a developed country during a collapse. I was curious if there might be one like him in Venezuela.

    And I found this.

    I do know what Venezuela’s problem is, though. Venezuela’s problem is that it sets all prices administratively, monetizes its debt, doesn’t respect property rights and doesn’t allow the rule of law to function.

    In Venezuela, that miserable set of policies has created a garish social and economic collapse. Locally, it’s a set of policies known by the abstract noun socialism. In many other contexts, where that same abstract noun denotes a different set of policies and institutions, there’s no comparable collapse. As far as I can tell Bernie Sanders has no intention to set all prices administratively, monetize debt, abuse property rights and piss all over the rule of law ? let alone Hillary Clinton.

    All the cheap point scoring in the world isn’t going to fill up Do?a Blanca’s grocery basket, ok? Capitalism won’t solve her problems any more than any other ism would. Decent government run by reasonable people on the basis of the law just might ? and there ain’t no ism for that!

    1. FTC:

      Mart?n Molina Hern?ndez June 6, 2016 at 11:33 pm
      Excuses, excuses, excuses. What many call socialism, works for Scandinavian countries. Is it because of “socialism” itself? No. Like you said, it’s because of a pragmatic set of policies within a specific set of conditions.

      Ergo, it’s not about the “ism”, it’s about how you put it in practice. Pragmatism may be the only reliable “ism”.

      If only they had the right Top Man…

      Once more, with feeling!

      Daniel3:23 PM
      Why do anonymous and unknown see emigration as an easy option? It is not.

      There are myriad of reasons why one must stay until the bitter end. One, for me, is that the SO has all his family here, in particular a relative he must take care of. Also, at my age, where am I going to start again? I need to wait a few more years until I can retire in France. Yes, I am dual citizen but of France, not the US. Amen of the SO who does not speak english and could not start any job unless full health coverage is offered, without pre existing. Then again courtesy of Obama we could maybe work out something there, as long as Hillary is elected.

      1. You know, she’s sort of right – because the ‘socialist’ Scandinavian countries aren’t actually Socialist, they’re heavily redistributionist layered over a low-regulation economy.

        Unfortunately they are finding out that its not just socialism that fails once you run out of other people’s money.

    2. A word that can be used to describe both those things has been usage-fucked out of any semblance of coherence.

      That blogger is so close, so close and yet so far. Just because people commonly abuse a word, it doesn’t follow that the underlying concept or its real-world implications have vanished.

    3. I like how these idiots say Bernie isn’t going to fix prices. Unless it’s healthcare (even though he left price controls mostly out of his public plans besides for drugs – making cost cutting an absurd claim). Or the price of labor. And it’s not like he hasn’t shown a willingness to cap prices elsewhere. Progressives have no issues there. just because the left doesn’t frame the debate in those terms doesn’t change the fact that they are price controls.

    4. As far as I can tell Bernie Sanders has no intention to set all prices administratively, monetize debt, abuse property rights and piss all over the rule of law ? let alone Hillary Clinton.

      Seeing that we’re already doing all of that except for “setting all prices administratively” (just some prices) I don’t really see where else Berntard could go with his “revolution” (if he were to somehow win the election) other than setting all prices, and doing away with the notion of property rights altogether.

    5. “Venezuela’s problem is that it sets all prices administratively, monetizes its debt, doesn’t respect property rights and doesn’t allow the rule of law to function.”

      He’s getting it. But he fails to understand that this happened because of top men who applied socialism to their tinkering.

      If not Marxist/socialist ‘ism’, what the heck wrecked Venezuela? ‘No, no! It’s not socialism per se! It’s just that they didn’t apply it right! They had to do it THIS way! And it’s because capitalism made it a mess!’

      It’s getting embarrassing – to say nothing of immoral – watching these people ruin lives and countries.

  4. Of course she hates Uber – you can’t be rude to the driver without consequences

  5. posed a threat to “public safety” by often operating outside of traditional regulatory frameworks.

    Hillary had better not use *that* objection.

  6. Unregulated means less likely to toady to the political class. It also tells of the basic neurosis behind the left, the fear that someone is doing something unsupervised.

    1. Unregulated means that the political class doesn’t get to insert themselves as rent seeking gatekeepers between private parties contracting with one another.

      The political class provide nothing of tangible value in and of themselves so they always seek to find some way to suck off of somebody else’s enterprise.

  7. Hillary despises Uber because the clothes make her look fat and dictator-y, erm, pardon me, *VAGtator*-y.

    I guess she wanted a designer to put the, “Uber,” in, “Uber Alles.”

    1. I could take my bed sheet, throw some glitter on it and cut a few slits and save her about ten grand. Who the hell dresses her? I’d love see the focus group they cobbled together for that.

      1. For all the crap Hillary gets for spending more on a pantsuit than the average person earns in a year, she could at least look well dressed. Instead she looks like she bought out the Chairman Mao collection at Ross.

        1. Not even that good. At least the Chairman Mao style has a certain ascetic charm to it. Plus, if we’re going to go here, she needs a new hair stylist. Half the time its a mess and the other half its brushed in a manner more appropriate to a woman 1/3 her age.

  8. So the lady who has had secret service protection, and been chauffeured around for the past 25 years doesn’t understand why some people prefer uber instead of trying to flag down a cab on a Friday night. Hold on, I have to go dig up my schocked face.

  9. While the Department of Labor is not totally irrelevant (in the way that state regulations will ultimately be), the final decision actually rests with the IRS. “Employee versus contractor” is a tax status more than a labor law status. Either way, you can rest assured that independent contractor status for ride-share drivers will be dead-dead-dead under Clinton.

  10. Yes Dems are wrong for attacking Uber. But Johnson need not glorify it with statements like “Uber everything”. That’s a little extreme. He is getting some bad advice.

    1. It’s not extreme at all. Passing laws to screw Uber and Airbnb because you are beholden to entrenched interest groups is extreme.

    2. Why not Uber everything? What’re the drawbacks?

    3. His statement is both an indictment of the current regulatory environment in government, and in support of free enterprise. Not sure how that’s extreme.

  11. Why does Hillary hate Uber? Because she’s a goddamned crook, and they’re not bribing her.

    “Uber is so obviously a good thing that you can measure how corrupt cities are by how hard they try to suppress it.” — Paul Graham


  12. Damn, it’s looking more and more like that by the time I get a new car doing Uber or Lyft on the side is going to be illegal. Bastards.

    1. I know this is probably a joke, but check out the Uber backed Xchange leasing program. It’s literally $250 down, a weekly payment, no mileage limit, and you can walk away with 2 weeks notice. I don’t know if it’s available everywhere, but the Nissan dealership nearest me in the Bay Area says that in May over 40% of the cars they sold were financed this way.

  13. The Gig economy is the way to go if you are single, young, no dependents, and are healthy.

    The Gig economy can also work once the kids are out of the house and one has established a reasonable nest egg.

    Can America shut down the classic 9-5 job and replace it with Gigs here and there, I’d love to see it.

    We can make computer programming, accounting, and other office careers a GIG and we can all be consultants/freelance. We can even make being an editor or writer at REASON.COM Gigs in which no one works for REASON as an employee. How would that fly?

    Call me spoiled, but working for a big company with benefits, four weeks vacation, 401k matching, 40 hrs a week, etc. is pretty appealing.

    But as soon as the kids are out of college, I can definitely see me and my wife doing the GIG thing. But not until then.

    1. T-man: Congratulations on being worth that much to your employer. Unfortunately, not everyone’s labor has that kind of value. For those who do not, the choice maybe between a gig job that exists, and a traditional benefits job that does not.
      In either case, I cannot support the government dictating what kind of jobs people can have from a liberty standpoint, separate from the impossibility of everyone having the same kind of job structure.

    2. Sure its pretty appealing – and if you’re worth it you’ll still get it if that’s what you want. OTOH, gig works for many people and ‘gig’, when all is said and done, is better than ‘unemployment’.

    3. Thanks dantheserene and Agammamon on your flattering suggestions that “I’m worth it to my employer”.

      I wish that was true. I’m just simply lucky.

      I’ve worked for 30 years, made connections, and maintained connections in the banking Industry.

      By no stretch of the imagination am I worth my salary or anything I’ve receive for at least the last 15 years.
      I’m worth my hefty salary as much as a 500 sqft studio in Manhattan is worth $800,000

      I’ve kissed the right ass. I got lucky that the enemies I made haven’t ended up above me (yet).

      When I was young I use to believe: “It’s not just what you know but who you know.”
      That turned into: “It’s not who you know but who you blow.”
      And that has turned into “Hopefully, who you blow is still there for you”

      But thanks guys.

      1. It almost sounds like my story. But I had a Gig for over 20 years when I was an IT CONSULTANT.

        I took a Fulltime Management Job in 2005 right before the crisis. The IT CONSULTING GIGs pay today what I use to make in the mid-90s. I remember making $85/hr in 1998-2000. I even got to $135/hr in 2001-2002 doing Java and Sybase…I couldn’t believe it. And I was a no-body.

        Today, with the right connections, you can make those rates…but not as a “No-Body”.

        In America, once you make a lot of money, you become a bulls-eye to the cost cutters. I’ve seen the outsourcing pretty much destroy the IT Gig. I’m lucky to have a full-time job paying well with benefits today. Just the healthcare alone can be $25k/year for a family.

    4. We can make computer programming, accounting, and other office careers a GIG and we can all be consultants/freelance. We can even make being an editor or writer at REASON.COM Gigs in which no one works for REASON as an employee. How would that fly?

      You seem to be implying this is a binary proposition. In a free market, employers, employees, and contractors would take advantage of a wide range of interactions, including both a “gig economy,” and more traditional employment. There is room for both, and various other permutations based on what people want, not on what someone deems what we can have.

  14. If voters were to think about what Hillary et al are saying, they’d be insulted. They certainly ought to be. What she’s saying, in essence, is that “you’re too stupid to make these decisions on your own”.

    Granted, anybody who would vote for her is pretty goddamned stupid. But that doesn’t constitute the majority of the population (even if she wins; in that case she just got 50% +1 of the voters dumb enough to waste their time voting).

  15. My only beef with UBER is 20% the company skims off of the drivers.

    I believe the UBER model is to litigate against local Taxi/Limo commissions.

    I’d love to see someone put together a block-chain solution that would kill that 20% and have drivers and passengers communicate directly with no middle man.

    1. Well, nothing is stopping you from handing people your card and telling them to e-mail you for a ride. Aside from the government of course.

      As for Uber’s cut, let’s look at a shopping mall as an example. The shops pay rent, in exchange they receive an attractive, convenient and secure location to conduct their business in close proximity to other businesses that customers want to patronize. Compared to setting up a stand on the side of the road, these amenities enrich their business enough to be worth the cost of rent.

      Uber is providing the market space for service providers and their customers to conduct their exchange, and the drivers find that arrangement worth a 20% cut, otherwise they don’t do it.

      This concludes today’s lesson on market forces and how they apply to business expenses.

      1. Ma, 20% is crazy.

        The original block chain ( would do just fine. It just needs to handle a high-volume of transactions.

        I’m a big fan of the Block-chain thing. Fuck the middle man.

        To your point though, I wonder if the government would go after me if I did start posting ride-shares on Will the cops treat me like a hooker on

        1. 20% to cover marketing and admin overhead? That doesn’t sound crazy to me. Of course, I have the same kind of job you do, so I don’t have any direct exposure to small business costs.

          1. 20% to cover marketing and admin overhead? That doesn’t sound crazy to me.

            Anyone have the fee schedule handy for their POS terminal, what’s it cost to run somebody’s card for their $6 latte? $2-3?

            I recently found a Pho place that not only accepts cards BUT ALSO DELIVERS. Can’t wait for MoCo to kill that when they introduce the $15/hr min.

          2. Then someone who can do it cheaper will enter the market.

          3. Then someone who can do it cheaper will enter the market.

        2. Crazy to thee but not to he/she/xe/me.

          And yes, I feel pretty confident that you would get some unhelpful govt attention. The moment a taxi driver spots your ad while perusing his daily choice of whore.

          But yeah, Uber is the litigious jerk, the nerve, trying to stay in business in the face of a govt enforced monopoly, how dare they. They should just close down wherever city councils tell them to, regardless of the customers no longer served.

    2. 20% skim? They should have built the platform for free?

  16. politicians should embrace the emerging flexible workplace

    Only if the emerging flexible workplace gives enthusiastic, affirmative consent to the embrace.

  17. Hillary is just pissed that she’s not one of the private equity investors in Uber, so she won’t make a killing when the Uber goes public.

  18. Uber IS regulated. Not government regulated, though, it’s kept regular customers and drivers…in other words, people with an actual stake in the business.

    1. That really focuses on the core of why it’s hated by everyone who would like a cut, rather than a stake, doesn’t it? Those beaks aren’t going to wet themselves.

  19. Why does Hillary hate Uber? Not enough opportunity for graft.

  20. Ah, don’t lump together Airbnb and Uber in terms of regulation.
    1. Uber regulations: just a fig leave for protectionism. Cartels want to remain that way to get lapdog pols to cite “congestion”, “safety”, etc all after the fact as a pretext for rent-seeking. Person A calling an Uber rather than yellow cab has zilcho impact on public welfare.
    2. Airbnb regulations: It’s a case-by-case thing, but in large cities: a) you and other tenants are living on top of each other, and need to cultivate a level of consideration not needed in normal homes. b) drunken frat boys in party mode flying out the next day are less likely to be considerate than your typical permanent resident. Or safe. That is, the short-term/long-term distinctions that localities use to go after Airbnb are actually based on sound policy.

    1. If that policy was enacted by the landlord instead, I imagine there would be less criticism. Like the whole smoking ban bullshit. If restaurants want to be smoke-free, let em put a sign and bam, there you go, don’t like it, go somewhere else that allows smoking. Refuse to leave when asked to do so by the proprietor, well, that’s already a situation we know how to handle.

      Don’t mind your neighbors being vagrants, and maybe the rent is even cheaper as a result, well, then maybe you’re the type of person who would choose to live in that building.

      What ever happened to boarding houses?

    2. As a provider you assume the liabilities for noise etc generating from your renters. Same as if you were hosting a party. Why do you support an inflexible government agency that will only grow in size and scope to maaaaybe “solve” these temporary evils, again?

  21. I left my office-job and now I am getting paid 98 usd hourly. How? I work over internet! My old work was making me miserable, so I was forced to try something different, 2 years after…I can say my life is changed-completely for the better! Check it out what i do…

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  22. the same people who choose to limit the growth of the sharing economy are the same people who cheer when the health department shuts down a little girl’s lemonade stand because it doesn’t have the proper permits.

  23. Uber has been a big help to me, whether at home or travelling. While on a long run (marathon practice), I pulled my calf. I took out my cell phone and in 5 minutes I had a ride and drive home. While in San Fransicso on the opposite side of the Golden Gate bridge, standing on a dock, I hit the button, minutes later I got picked up right where I was – no address at all just a dock, and brought back to the hotel. You see a picture of the driver in advance, you do not need your wallet. Just your phone.

    I have to say homeaway has found us places to stay that were charming and right where we wanted to be. We will use them to rent out our vacation home also.

    One other thing about the unions. They mostly support the well established union die hards, the committeemen, the long term senior members, etc. The ones that work least. The younger newer ones are first fired and have no say in anything.

  24. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do..

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  25. uptil I saw the bank draft four $8760 , I be certain …that…my sister woz actually bringing in money part time from there labtop. . there neighbour had bean doing this 4 only about eighteen months and resently cleard the depts on there home and bourt a top of the range Chrysler ….

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  26. before I looked at the draft saying $9453 , I have faith that my mother in law woz like truley erning money part time at there computar. . there mums best friend haz done this 4 less than 14 months and just repayed the dept on their apartment and purchased a brand new Honda . read here …..

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  27. I’ve made $76,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student.I’m using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money.It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it.

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  28. before I saw the bank draft which had said $9426 , I didnt believe that…my… brother woz like actualy earning money part-time at there labtop. . there uncles cousin has done this 4 less than fifteen months and by now repaid the dept on there place and got a great new Mini Cooper . read the full info here …

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  29. I trust the UBER model is to contest against neighborhood Taxi/Limo commissions.

    I’d affection to see somebody set up together a square chain arrangement that would execute that 20% and have drivers and travelers discuss specifically with no center man.

  30. the author stated that Uber drivers make $25 an hour. Is the author smoking crack? I ran a small taxi company in Lake Tahoe for six years before uber came in and wiped me out (had 4 cabs and six drivers). I didn’t complain, just went to work for uber as a driver. Problem is, As an owner operator driving my own taxicab, I use to gross $45 an hour and netted $30 an hour after expenses. Since closing my company and working for uber, my average gross earnings the last six months has dropped to $16 to $22 an hour, net earnings after expenses have dropped to $10 to $12 an hour. So basically, uber took a decent occupation and turned it into a shitty minimum wage job. All they do is squeeze the guy at the bottom and operate like the robber barons of the early 20th century. I am an employee because they treat me like an employee. For example: they set the rates, I don’t, I no longer have control over my income or profitability. Don’t except enough trips- you’re fired, turn down too many trips – you’re fired, your rating falls too low – your fired. Complain on social media – your fired. Try to organize, unionize, or protest – your fired. WE HAVE NO WORKER PROTECTIONS!!! I’m a god damn EMPLOYEE of a greedy multi billion dollar company that is exploiting me and hundreds of thousands of other drivers nationwide by misclassifying all of us as independent contractors. Is anybody going to stand up for us and help?

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