As the U.S. economy shows sudden weakness, American consumers understandably express increasing anxiety…
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Elizabeth Warren Prepares to Punish the U.S. Economy and Investors with Her Misnamed "Stop Wall Street Looting Act"

As the U.S. economy shows sudden weakness, American consumers understandably express increasing anxiety.  A troubling new Gallup survey reports that economic confidence has now declined to lows unsurpassed since the early days of the Covid pandemic in 2020.

Undeterred by that accumulating weakness and alarm, however, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D - Massachusetts) appears restless to strike yet another dangerous hammer blow by re-introducing her misnamed "Stop Wall Street Looting Act."

She may think that title can conceal the bill's danger, but Americans and elected officials mustn't be fooled or invite the potentially catastrophic economic peril.

Senator Warren’s bill includes significant tax increases, as well as new legal liabilities and bureaucratic regulations on U.S. investment…[more]

October 18, 2021 • 01:48 PM

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“Progressive” Bureaucrats and Crony Capitalists Target the Gig Economy Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Wednesday, October 14 2020
Isn’t it odd how 'progressives' such as these seek to permanently impose a strict 1940s-style employment model on our dynamic 2020s world? How is that in any way 'progressive?'

In recent years, the “gig economy” has introduced a universe of new conveniences for consumers, and new flexibility for workers.  

That trend only accelerated amid the coronavirus pandemic, which brought unanticipated procurement needs for consumers, and new health, family, telework or other lifestyle demands for workers.  

Unfortunately but predictably, overzealous bureaucrats, labor unions and crony capitalist special interests consider the gig economy a threat to be stifled rather than an opportunity to be perfected.  

Here’s how TechTarget neatly defines the term “gig economy”:  

A gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations hire independent workers for short-term commitments.  The term “gig” is a slang word for a job that lasts a specified period of time.  Examples of gig employees in the workforce could include freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers and temporary or part-time hires.  

For workers, the advantages are obvious.  They can set their own hours and work when it’s most convenient for them and their family needs.  They can set their prices.  They can accept or decline job offers based upon their own safety concerns, expertise, time commitments or anything else.  They can even work simultaneously for different and competing companies offering the same service.  It can put food on the table for furloughed or laid-off workers, and it can provide additional income for people who spend their time in other paid or unpaid pursuits such as musicians or artists or homemakers.  

For consumers, the advantages are equally obvious, offering services unheard of a decade ago or even five years ago.  For example, think of Uber rides and speedy food delivery services.  

Indeed, amid coronavirus health concerns, American consumers understandably feel greater reluctance to venture outside the home for meals, and many restaurants remain either closed or significantly restrictive of on-site dining.  Enter gig economy food delivery, which has provided that invaluable service to quarantined or reluctant consumers.  

As referenced above, however, the gig economy’s success has not escaped the jealous eye of government, labor unions and special interests seeking to cripple it.  

Because the National Labor Relations Act and antitrust laws prohibit unionization of independent contractors, “progressive” lawmakers in Congress and states like California, New York and Illinois seek to forcibly reclassify gig workers as formal employees.  In turn, that would end worker flexibility in terms of hours, which days to work and other aspects of job performance that they now choose for themselves.   But to labor unions and the politicians they support, that’s of little import compared to boosting union membership while numbers continue to plummet, in turn reducing the dollars that they can contribute to leftist election campaigns?  

Isn’t it odd how “progressives” such as these seek to permanently impose a strict 1940s-style employment model on our dynamic 2020s world?  How is that in any way “progressive?”  

In similar vein, is there any better barometer of what public policies do not merit Americans’ support than an endorsement from The New York Times?  In a recent opinion piece entitled "California, Reject Prop 22," its editorial board instructs voters an entire continent away to reject a ballot initiative that would protect gig workers’ independent status.  Never mind that gig services like Uber, Lyft and others would likely cease operations in the state if the Times gets its way.  

Elsewhere, interest groups like restaurant owners seek to impose price controls and commission caps on food delivery services, which would threaten similar harm.  

Currently, restaurants can offer online order and delivery via services like DoorDash or Grubhub, and pay a percentage of the order’s cost.  Restaurants and the delivery services agree on a bargained-for commission rate in their contractual terms, and restaurants are obviously under no obligation to retain their services at all.  Restaurants can offer delivery service themselves, use other non-commission services or choose to not offer delivery at all.  

But why tolerate a free market when “progressive” politicians can step in and impose commission caps and price controls, right?  

As one prominent example, consider an organization operating under the deceptive name "American Economic Liberties Project."  It has petitioned Congress, as well as various state legislatures, to tip the market scales in favor of restaurants by capping the commissions that delivery services, with whom they freely contract currently, can legally earn.  How does that in any way accord with the "Economic Liberties" in its organizational name?  

In any event, their price control and commission cap proposal is a terrible idea because those commissions not only pay delivery drivers’ earnings, but also for such things as driver background checks, safety measures, customer support agents, auto and personal insurance, credit card fees that often constitute 3% to 4% of order subtotals, app and website maintenance and marketing costs.  

Moreover, such price controls and commission caps would hit smaller restaurants particularly hard, since delivery services would understandably shift toward larger restaurant chains due to the higher volume and prices that they offer.  

Gig workers contribute $1.3 trillion to the U.S. economy, in addition to the opportunities and conveniences referenced above.  The last thing we should do is allow reckless politicians and self-serving crony capitalists to threaten that through suffocating new regulations like price controls, commission caps and stifling labor reclassifications.  

Quiz Question   
In which century were the first mandatory vaccination laws enacted in the United States?
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Notable Quote   
 
"At the end of last week, there were 584 container ships idling off the world's ports, waiting to be loaded or unloaded. Disruptions in the bulk cargo sector look to be even worse.Experts suggest the problems are temporary. For instance, Bloomberg columnist Brooke Sutherland maintains that three weeks of declines in ocean freight rates tells us 'the worst may be over for the supply-chain snarls that…[more]
 
 
—Gordon G. Chang, Author of "The Coming Collapse of China"
— Gordon G. Chang, Author of "The Coming Collapse of China"
 
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