Feds want to suppress gig economy
"I'm from the government; I'm here to help you." It's the phrase we all dread.
California's government A.B. 5 legislation of 2020 sure "helped" the state's independent contractors. Those Who Know Best thought Uber drivers, musicians, freelance writers — gig workers — needed better wages, good benefits, and other goodies. So they decreed that contractors had to give up or have severely limited their independent status. They had to become employees of companies (which unions hoped were organized or someday would be).
The idea, we're told, was that gig workers in the West Coast Worker's Paradise had nothing to lose but their chains. But as with so many things of leftist roots, there were unintended consequences: people lost their jobs. Upon California's passage of A.B. 5, left-wing publication Vox, a critic of the gig economy, promptly had to fire 200 freelance writers. And so bad was the economic train wreck of A.B. 5 that a later state referendum at least freed Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash from it. Yet the law remains a barrier to entry for the economic hopes of many.
Four states — New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Washington, the usual suspects — have similar laws (and Massachusetts looks as though it's tightening up its unenforced law).
And here's really bad news: Joe Biden likes the idea.
As a result, the Bidenistas want to Californicate the entire country, freeing independent contractors from their misery. "In a lot of cases gig workers should be classified as employees," labor secretary Marty Walsh told Reuters. While the secretary says he doesn't begrudge companies their profits and revenues, "[w]e want to make sure that success trickles down to the worker." (Translation: I'm from the government. I'm here to help you).
Democrats are pushing legislation in Congress that essentially mirrors California's A.B. 5. At least the proposed federal legislation doesn't hide its union-driven purpose: it's called the Protecting the Right to Organize Act.
While the gig economy may not work for everyone, some people like the freedom of working when they want, where they want, and how they want because of their desire to stay at home with children, make a few extra bucks on a side hustle, have something to do in retirement, or some other lifestyle-based desire. Or maybe they just want to grow their contracting gig into something bigger.
So, government, some people like their oppression. Except it's called freedom.
And it's a good gig.
Thanks, but no thanks. Leave us alone.
A retired marketing professor, broadcaster, and journalist, Mike Landry is a freelance writer in Northwest Arkansas. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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