The PJ Tatler

The Democrats' War on the Sharing Economy

An article over at Forbes lays out a case for the Democrats’ war on the sharing economy and in particular, Uber.

Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and Hillary Clinton have called out Uber, claiming they are concerned about (what else?) the company’s lack of regulation.

Writes Jon Hartley at Forbes, Democrats are “insisting that the company should be further regulated, ignoring the possible consequences of higher fares for users of the Uber app and the ease of doing business for Uber drivers should such regulations become enacted. The primary contention drawn by Democrats is that Uber drivers are legally classified by as independent contractors, a status under which they are exempt from most state and federal labor laws, as opposed to being classified as employees.

In other words, Democrats are concerned that people are working for themselves.

Candidate Bernie Sanders has said he has a “serious problem” with Uber. Martin O’Malley wants to create a special “safety net” for participants in the sharing economy.  Hillary Clinton “heavily criticized Uber and the sharing economy as a major contributor to the rise in income inequality arguing it creates independent contractors, such as Uber drivers, who do not receive government mandated employee benefits.”

One of the reasons we have a sharing economy is that it is a simplified mechanism for entrepreneurs to deliver services to consumers absent the hassles of regulation faced by traditional business models. No one forces people to work for Uber or any other business that is considered part of the sharing economy. These workers are aware they are not employees in the traditional sense, and yet they still want to work for such companies. If these folks wanted to work for a company with “labor protections” they could go find a traditional company at which to work.

Instead, we have a new expanding industry that will grow the economy and create jobs for people who want them and services for people who will use them and the Democrats are chomping at the bit to regulate them off the earth.

Notably, Hartley points out that in the top 20 Uber markets drivers “averaged more than $19 an hour in earnings, compared to $12.90 in average hourly wages for cab drivers based on Occupational Employment Statistics data,” according to a study co-authored by Princeton economist Alan Krueger, one of Hillary Clinton’s named economic advisers.

So those who work for Uber aren’t really in need of government “protection.”

Ironically, these tech-based “sharing economy” businesses are comprised in large part of people who traditionally vote Democrat in elections — the younger, hipper generation. I wonder how long it will take before these voter realize they are cutting off their nose to spite their face at the ballot box.