The Dems' War on Workers
hey, why should I care...
When California passed its AB 5 act to curb “gig workers” or “independent contractors” the main target was the rideshare companies Uber and Lyft and their drivers that were taking money away from taxi companies and their drivers. But, of course, Uber and Lyft are not exactly helpless, so California revised its legislation to exempt Uber and Lyft. But tough if you are a freelance writer or actor or musician.
Guess what: President Biden is planning to take the ban on independent contracting nationwide.
Ever beholden to organized labor, President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats have ignored the lessons of AB 5 in California and are advancing similar legislation as well as regulatory efforts to impose the restriction by fiat.
Yeah, because minimum wage and benefits and the right to strike are basic human rights, correct?
Except that, in the end, God, or rather the market, is not mocked. If you price yourself out of the market, because political power, then one fine day your industry and your job will go pooof. Thomas Sowell in his Basic Economics:
Unfortunately, the real minimum wage is always zero, regardless of the laws, and that is the wage that many workers receive in the wake of the creation or escalation of a government-mandated minimum wage, because they lose their jobs or fail to find jobs when they enter the labor force.
But try to persuade your union neighbor of this. I was in a discussion with a couple of neighbors a year ago: one was a retired Boeing union engineer, and the other’s father had been a union carpenter. Unions were good, period, according to those two gentlemen. And indeed, unions had been good to them.
Only, of course, Boeing is in a long, slow process of moving its operations to non-union states. And most carpentering for homes these days is done by Hispanic workers, who, I suspect are not even working as independent contractors but as under-the-table cash workers. I got a brief look at this a few years ago when we got a fence built. The contractor was cashing our check at a check-cashing place and paying his Latino workers under the table. After writing about this I heard from a guy in Florida who couldn’t get a job as an auto mechanic that wasn’t under the table and therefore couldn’t get a home mortgage because he didn’t have a formal income to boost his credit score.
Yeah, I should care. I worked as an engineer and/or software guy and now I’m retired. Never had to worry about the minimum wage, never worked around a union. And by the way, don’t have to worry about whether my corporate pension will some day go belly-up, because all my retirement income comes from IRAs (apart from Social Security).
Funny, isn’t it how it’s always the poor that gets screwed. Minimum wage? No problem, unless you are a kid that’s got no work skills. Unions? Great as long as you have the connections to get an apprentice job. Union/corporate pension? Great, except that they usually require several years before “vesting” and you’d better be sure that the fund is still around 30 years from now.
The fact is that politics is about dishing the enemy — greedy corporations — and spreading benefits among your supporters with free money, carve-outs and ten percent for the Big Guy. But in the end, you and I and the biggest corporation and the most powerful government in the world have to mark to the market, otherwise we go broke, first slowly and then suddenly.
Our modern welfare / administrative state has built up a veritable Tower of Babel of interlocking and conflicting subsidies, benefits, credentials, regulations. Every now and then there is a partial collapse, as in the 2008 housing crash.
Imagine if there was a total collapse. No, let’s not imagine a total collapse.
But meanwhile your local politician has an election to win. Know what I mean?