The Law That Killed Freelance Work

California targets the gig economy.


Freelance jobs are "feudalism," says Democratic California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.

She persuaded California's legislature to pass a new law reclassifying freelance workers as employees. That means many people who hire them must now give them benefits like overtime, unemployment insurance, etc. Politicians said it would help freelancers a lot.

Of course, much of the media agreed. Vox called it "a victory for workers everywhere"!

Sigh. Young reporters just don't understand that stifling economic freedom always creates nasty side effects.

Actually, more understand now, because they got a very personal lesson. Once the bill passed, Vox media cut hundreds of freelance writing jobs.

When Gonzalez was asked if she felt bad about that, she sneered, those weren't "real jobs."

The arrogance of politicians! People choose jobs. Freelancers like flexibility. Politicians have no right to say certain jobs aren't good enough.

"You're thinking you're helping us, but you're not," says musician Ari Herstand in my new video. He says the anti gig-work law could "crash the California music economy."

Why? Before the law passed, if he played a gig where he'd hire a drummer, bassist, and guitar player, "I just cut (each) a check for $200. Now, I have to take that drummer, put him on payroll, W2 him, get workers' comp insurance, unemployment insurance. I have to pay payroll taxes. I also have to now hire a payroll company."

All to hire musicians for one just night. The paperwork alone might cost more than the music.

The anti-gig-work law originally targeted rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, because unions claimed the companies abuse drivers.

But now many rideshare drivers are upset because the law takes away their freedom.

"I liked being independent!" said one. "I don't want a boss to tell me when or where to drive."

Herstand says Uber and Lyft drivers would often tell him: "I'm a photographer and this is my fourth side gig. I want to do this when I want to do this, and if now I'm an employee, and I'm W2'd, they're going to dictate my hours. I don't want that. (The law is) preventing us from doing what we want to do."

The law upset independent truck drivers, too. After some nosily drove big rigs in front of the legislature, they got an exemption from the law. Other politically connected professions, like lawyers and realtors, got exemptions as well.

Now Herstand's working on getting an exemption for musicians, too.

"Why is that good law?" I asked him. "An exception for whoever is clever enough to get to the politicians?"

"It's definitely not the solution," laughed Herstand. "'Write us out of this law and help us out? Here's money for your next campaign.' No, that doesn't seem like that's a way to legislate."

But that's how it's often done. The more rules politicians pass, the more money they extract from people who are regulated.

Now other politicians want to copy California's law. New York, New Jersey, and Illinois have their own versions of gig economy bills. The House of Representatives wants to nationalize the law. And, this week, Democratic front-runner Joe Biden cluelessly said such a law "will give workers the dignity they deserve."

Democrats do what unions ask them to do. Politico points out that just a few years ago, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) called gig work "a great service for people, giving people jobs. I don't think government should be in the business of trying to restrict job growth." He even joked that Uber drivers might earn more than he does.

But now he wants to outlaw most gig work and calls it "exploitive, abusive!"

It's no surprise that Gonzalez's biggest political donors are unions. She talks a lot about "protecting our union jobs." But now that her bill is killing jobs, she wouldn't agree to an interview.

Neither would the California unions, or any of 75 law professors, political scientists, sociologists, etc., who published a letter in support of the law.

Yes, we contacted all 75.

Herstand says that's because the law now embarrasses its supporters, but politicians won't repeal it because "no politician ever wants to admit they did something wrong."



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  1. I keep saying it, but if this idiots take this shit national and kill my sweet freelancing gig, I’m gonna go postal. What kind of person looks at a voluntary transaction between two people and just can’t let it be?

    1. Every single person who is for prohibition of drugs, anti sex-work, upset about alcohol home delivery, person-to-person sale of firearms, etc. There are a great many fuckwits who want to restrict voluntary transaction between consenting adults.

  2. Feudalism, of course involved life-long bonds of reciprocal obligation between employer-and-lord and the laborer-and-serf. Freelance work, with no ongoing obligations on either side, is entirely the opposite of this. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is actively trying to force people into more-feudal employment arrangements, not liberate them from such.

    We might also here note that one of the major arguments of Southern plantation owners was that their model was better for workers because, unlike wage-paying employers, they continued to provide housing and food for sick, disabled, and aged workers, while a man who didn’t show up to do his job got no wages. Given that few wage hands clamored for such a secure arrangement, we must then assume they were too stupid to know better, and needed someone like Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez to force them to accept the superior arrangement.

    The term for a person who forces others into such an arrangement is, of course, “slaver”.

  3. You are all ignorant clingers. Clearly the gig worker is the slave, and all those companies are just taking advantage of them, even if the poor ignorant fools insist otherwise. That is why us betters will rearrange the economy so that Noone will be taken advantage of. Even if the companies complain we will force them to keep everyone employed. That is called progress and we will ram it down the evil slaves necks

    1. It’s so hard to tell a Kirkland from a Kuckland post.

      1. I was almost fooled. The commenting community in this place is such a delight. The resident trolls have a style of their own and those who mock them take time to coopt their style.

      2. Not true.

        Kuckland posts are more coherent.

  4. I am making a good salary from home $1200-$2500/week , which is amazing, under a year back I was jobless in a horrible economy. I thank God every day I was blessed with these instructions and now it’s my duty to pay it forward and share it with Everyone, Here is what I do. Follow details on this web page.. Read more

    1. Careful, advertising illegal gig work is also illegal. You’ll end up in bot prison.

      1. Big hard piece of code rubbing against his submit button.

  5. Freelance jobs are “feudalism,” says Democratic California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez

    No, Lorena, freelance work is not feudalism. Having to get permission from your rulers in order to work at all, and having those rulers take 1/4-1/2 of your earnings, however, that is pretty close to feudalism.

  6. Freelancing work is freedom from 10-5 working hour and people are happy doing it. isn’t it amazing to sell or be the person to make someone else product sell and earn money staying home?… klassikessentials

  7. freelancing work is having the freedom to work as you want while having some moonrock carts at home, also for others, they get much satisfaction being the brain behind a companies success or sales and that quite fun.

  8. Doesn’t Hollywood use lots of gig workers? Like Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks? Do they have an exemption? Or should someone be performing citizens arrests when they see them on the street?

    1. I’m pretty sure Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks and all the rest have accountants and lawyers and do it right – you don’t hire Tom Hanks for your movie, you hire Tom Hanks Productions, Incorporated to provide you with one of their employees, namely Tom Hanks, for your movie. How Tom Hanks Productions, Incorporated pays their employees is none of your concern. Whether or not driving an Uber gig is worth the hassle and expense of incorporating and filing the unending paperwork that goes with it is another matter.

      1. But to your larger point, most actors are not Tom Cruise or Tom Hanks, they’re Truck Driver #2 if they’re lucky and otherwise just one of the extras for a crowd scene and they’re paid daily rates – it is an interesting question as to how Hollywood studios (or more likely their day labor agencies) pay the people they’re employing.

        1. Well that’s just it, if they work for an agency then its a B2B contract and free from the regulations, just like Tom Hanks Productions, Incorporated. I doubt there are many independent contractors in Hollywood because they are pretty heavily unionized already

    2. Pretty sure that all Hollywood work is union-based.

    3. silly BigT, don’t you know that laws only apply to little people like us? You actually expect Tom Cruise to worry about some law? Next you’ll say that the police should be held to the same standard as regular peasan- I mean citizens.

    4. Easy solution where it becomes a problem — do the work out of California (preferably in one of those foolish states with star-struck politicians who offer lots of sweet, sweet film subsidies)

  9. Mandating that workers be provided with certain benefits by their employers is nothing less than setting a minimum wage and we all know the true minimum wage is zero. If this woman wants to really help workers, why not just pass a law that food can’t cost more than a nickel, that cars can’t cost more than three dollars, that clothes can’t cost more than fifty cents, that renting a home can’t cost more than……..oh, shit, they already do that last one and they didn’t learn a damn thing from that disaster. Jesus, forget I said anything about setting ridiculous price caps on stuff, I thought I was being sarcastic but these people are too stupid to understand sarcasm.

    1. National Lampoon was but an instruction manual…

  10. Now other politicians want to copy California’s law. New York, New Jersey, and Illinois have their own versions of gig economy bills. The House of Representatives wants to nationalize the law. And, this week, Democratic front-runner Joe Biden cluelessly said such a law “will give workers the dignity they deserve.”

    1. The New Jersey Bill got killed though. Even our state isn’t that stupid. And we are pretty stupid. Like who elected for governor

      1. And he’s a Corzine clone. It’s not like the people who voted for him didn’t know what they were getting.

  11. It’s a standard authoritarian play. Herding all of the workers into a union makes them easier to control. The communist countries behind the Iron Curtain obliged artists and musicians to be in unions. If your art didn’t properly serve The State, you lost your standing in the union which prevented you from working as an artist.

  12. “You’re thinking you’re helping us, but you’re not,” says musician Ari Herstand

    Do like the truckers did. Surround the legislature with guitarists, and play “Louie Louie” out of tune nonstop until they give up.

    1. The opening chords of “Smoke On The Water”. Just the opening chords, endlessly.

      1. For ultimate annoyance power, alternate endlessly between the two chord patterns.

    2. With the implied threats of changing to “Henry the 8th” for the second day, and “It’s A Small World” from the third day onward.

  13. “The communist countries behind the Iron Curtain obliged artists and musicians to be in unions. If your art didn’t properly serve The State, you lost your standing in the union which prevented you from working as an artist.”

    Technically true, but to clarify, all existing unions in a given country were abolished; only one union run by the state was allowed to exist.

  14. Gonzales is supposed to be “representing” the female, minority and immigrant constituents. In her mind, she did for a certain ethnic or socioeconomic group that thinks and behave exactly like what the progressive playbooks call for.

    At the end of the day it’s all about the rule, not representation. These people are saying “I deserve to rule over immigrants and Latinos and act on your behalf because I’m a Latino / immigrant too. Certain groups must be governed by their own people”.

    It’s a stupid and unamerican concept, and the underlying ethnocentrism is never challenged by the media. 100% of North Koreans are represented by North Koreans. So what? You only need to listen to your constituents and do what’s right for them. You’re not voted in to serve all their agendas and cater to their demands.

    1. “Gonzales is supposed to be “representing” the female, minority and immigrant constituents.”

      “A community organizer and activist, Gonzalez was elected in 2008 as CEO and Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO.”
      She’s a union officer.

  15. Hopefully the folks in Tallahassee will pass this authoritarian brand of stupidity on Floridians. Goodness. SMH

    1. Will not pass** (typo)

  16. Does this law cover the vote-harvesters that put (and keep) these Fascists in their soft chairs . . ?

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