But before you throw your support to politicians and bureaucrats who promise to throw cold water on the embers of "the sharing economy," consider the things that they say, and the realities behind the rhetoric:
A) Sharing economy services providers are"un-trained and un-licensed": Sometimes this is sort-of true, but not entirely. Consider the ridesharing services that Uber.Com or Lyft.Com distribute. Labor union bureaucrats and politicians lament that the drivers aren't trained and licesned as cab drivers, yet both websites require a service provider to be a licensed driver in their jurisdiction. If politicians want to impugn people for "selling" an occassional ride across town via a website, they best crackdown on people that provide rides to friends and family without compensation as well - there isn't much difference between the two.
B) "Sharing economy services aren't taxed and that's unfair to businesses that are taxed": Again, this is sort of a "kind of true kind of not true" proposition. Granted the person who rents a room in their home or provides a ride on occassion isn't subject to the taxes, regulations, licensure and authorization fees that an actual motel owner or cab operator has to put up with. But rideshare providers pay taxes on the fuel, tires and insurance that they consume when they're driving, and room hosts pay taxes on the energy and food consumed by each of their in-home visitors.
C) "Sharing economy providers need to be subject to the same regulations and taxes as more established business owners, just so its 'fair' " : No doubt there is at times a disparity between freelancer service providers and established shop owners. The question is, what will remedy the disparity, and make things more fair? Politicians quite naturally want more control over all businesses, not less, and the option thhey never want us to consider is reducing the burdens of taxes and regulations on existing businesses instead of increasing it for the freelancers.
Will Americans allow selfish politicians and business bosses wrap their chains around freelancers? Or will we demand that the path remain clear for the freelancers? Perhaps we'll begin to act like Americans once again, instead of Italians and ancient Romans.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.
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