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Roth: Biden’s plan to kill independent and gig work

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In late September, President Biden tweeted, “Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism. It's exploitation.” I agree, which is why it’s so frustrating that President Biden and his cronies keep trying to tip the scale and make it harder for the “little guys” to compete.

The latest affront comes packaged in a proposed rule from Biden’s Labor Department that is trying to make it harder for tens of millions of Americans to work freely. The department wants to reclassify millions of contract workers and freelancers as employees, a proposal tested in California under the “AB5 rule” that has already wreaked havoc there, which may now be codified nationally as part of the union-pushed “PRO Act” in Congress.

For context, approximately 32.6 million American small businesses account for close to half of the economy and half the jobs in the U.S. This highly decentralized half of the economy represents economic freedom and requires a fair and equal playing field. In return, they provide that competition necessary to capitalism to balance out the other half of the economy that is highly concentrated in the hands of 20,000-plus big businesses.

It is estimated that there are 57.3 million independent contractors, freelancers, and other “gig” workers currently in the U.S. These individuals, who come from all different demographic backgrounds and cover work specializations from caterers and film crews to writers and hairdressers, as well as your rideshare drivers, have myriad reasons for wanting to work independently.

With motivations ranging from desiring flexibility of hours and work location and flexibility to work for multiple clients to finding better opportunities that wouldn’t exist without a freelancing arrangement, there are a host of rationales behind why it has become so popular for people to exercise their economic freedom by independently contracting their labor as they see fit.

Moreover, independent contractors generally aren’t interested in being employees. With a robust number of traditional job openings today and nearly 1.7 employee-status jobs available for every worker looking, if that’s what a worker prefers to do, the opportunity is there. Moreover, when freelance drivers were surveyed in California during their back-and-forth over the statewide AB5 rule, a poll conducted by Global Strategy Group found that the drivers consistently said they want to remain independent contractors over becoming employees, by a margin of four to one.

While big government and big special interests (aka powerful unions that benefit from unionization) tend to frame independent work as some kind of exploitation by big businesses, of course, its biggest benefit is to small businesses, not large ones.

Small businesses rely on contractors for flexibility. Some only need help from time to time. But the biggest issue is the government-created burden of taking on employees. With the additional tax burden, insurance burden, and compliance burden, as well as impact on other business structures, like 401(k) or other benefit plans, government regulation already disproportionately hinders small businesses vs. large, well-funded companies with lots of human resources. It makes it incredibly challenging, if not impossible, for small businesses to take on employees and compete in the marketplace. So, not only would putting this rule in place take away more economic freedom from gig workers, it would also kill more small businesses.

As a supposed champion for competition and with a supply-constrained labor force, it would make sense for Biden and his administration to make it easier to hire more people and take on more labor, not erect additional barriers.

But, of course, Biden and his progressive cronies don’t actually seem to care about that. They want to give more power to the unions and to big businesses that will support their efforts, consolidating more wealth and power for them, instead of creating opportunities for all, especially the working and middle classes and small business owners.

No politician should be able to say, "No, you can't work." This is a bipartisan issue, one that further threatens an already deteriorating economy.

You have until November 28, 2022, as a member of the public, to formally comment on this proposal. You can do so here. Make your voice heard. You should be able to work how and when you want to. Your work, your choice — don’t let the government consolidate more power and quash more freedoms.

THIS Labor Dept. rule would DESTROY economic freedomwww.youtube.com

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