Roper: Left-wing logic — economic freedom for me, but not for thee

By Rob Roper

The left-wing blog Daily Kos ran a funny/not funny article on California’s new law, AB5, passed to ostensibly “protect” people from the opportunity to make money as a freelance worker or independent contractor. AB5 mandates that companies like Uber, Lyft and others treat freelance workers as if they were direct employees. Vermont has strict laws along these lines as well.

The government does not like this kind of free economic activity because it makes it difficult to enforce unfunded mandates — really hidden taxes. It’s politically popular, for example, for a politician to stick your boss with the cost of your workers’ compensation, but not so much to mandate that you, as an independent contractor, buy the insurance yourself.

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Left-wingers love this government command-and-control approach to labor policy because the average worker is clearly too stupid not to be exploited by a system in which they make their own decisions about how, with, for whom, and for how much they want to work. Left-wingers think it is compassionate for the police state to step in and force the employer and employee into a relationship that neither may want to be in — except when the object of this government compassion is themselves! Then it sucks.

You see, AB5 capped the number of articles a freelance writer can submit to a single publication at 35 before that writer had to be treated as an actual employee of the publication, which, according to the article would mean roughly a 30% increase in labor costs. And oh, how Daily Kos did howl! “It means that we at Daily Kos had to make drastic changes to our own ways of featuring a wide range of voices, because it’s both economically unfeasible and operationally nonsensical to have occasional weekly voices as employees. It literally limits the voices that can be featured in the media landscape…. Not everyone wants or needs to be protected.”

Yeah. So misguided unfair! Imagine the nerve of bureaucrats who have no understanding of how your business works coming in telling you how to run it and putting “economically unfeasible and operationally nonsensical” requirements on how you do so.

Kos further laments, “That arbitrary number [35], pulled out of nowhere, means death to the California newsweekly, the weekly columnist, cartoonists who aren’t part of a syndicate, anything of that sort. It means newspapers can’t have a weekly movie critic, or stringers that cover underserved communities, city council meetings, niche topics, and the like.” But, by left-wing logic, so what? If your business model can’t afford these mandates, you’re just evil and exploiting people so it doesn’t deserve to survive. Good riddance.

The folks at Kos don’t care that if Uber is forced to treat all of its contract drivers as employees they might be forced to “make drastic changes to” their “own ways of featuring a wide range of” options and opportunities to affordably get customers from point A to point B. Which, practically speaking, is more important to society than having access to the occasional opinions of a freelance movie critic.

Yeah, if the entire ride-share industry business model collapses that’s justice, but if internet surfers are deprived of someone-you-never-heard-of’s whining about what the talking heads said on the Sunday shows, the horror. The horror.

You see, by Kos’ logic, it’s okay to have a business model that relies on freelance contractor work if you’re a left-wing opinion blog. You’re not exploiting those writers at all by denying them health care coverage, workers’ compensation, etc. because your freelancers, being left wing intellectuals, have the capacity to determine for themselves “that they do not want or need to be protected.” But if you’re a carpenter who makes extra money driving for Uber in the off season, well, you’re just stupid and are being exploited whether you know it or not.

I’ve had some fun with Daily Kos here, but they are exactly right to be complaining, and they sum things up as well as anyone when they conclude:

It’s a boon when people either engage in those gigs as side hustles—earning a little extra side money during their free time—or when life circumstances prevent them from having a full-time job with the attendant full-time hours, such as certain medical conditions or disabilities. For example, my partner suffers from chronic migraines and can’t work in an office environment, but she has built herself a comfortable living through freelancing, working when she’s able to, on her own schedule. Many stay-at-home parents freelance, able to set their own hours around their parenting duties. There are even people who prefer the freedom that freelancing provides, the ability to set their own hours, work wherever they want, and take time off when warranted. Daily Kos, 1/10/20

Yes, Daily Kos, you just need to apply this level of understanding to everybody everywhere, and not just the people inside your bubble. They say a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged. Well, now that Daily Kos has been mugged by the government, maybe their experience will inspire some empathy with other employers and employees victimized by “arbitrary,” “unfeasible,” “nonsensical” laws coming out of governments ostensibly to protect us from ourselves.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

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3 thoughts on “Roper: Left-wing logic — economic freedom for me, but not for thee

  1. This is a part of The New World Order, plain and simple. Control the masses via the very minority of the population thru the power of government. It’s by design. A ray of hope is the anti-gun control movement that’s realizing the 2nd Amendment is there to protect the citizens from a tyrannical government: aka the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc.

    From https://www.vox.com/2016/8/22/12559364/second-amendment-tyranny-militia-constitution-founders a couple of paragraphs:

    From the beginning, concerns about tyranny
    When the proposed Constitution was before the people for ratification, many anti-Federalists worried that the new government would be too powerful, and could become tyrannical. In Federalist No. 46, James Madison reassured the public that the many checks and balances in the Constitution — the separation of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, for example — made it very unlikely that a tyrant could seize power. If a tyrant did, he would speedily be deposed by the state governments, who would lead the armed people in the militias.

    Democratic Vice President and Minnesota Sen. Hubert Humphrey, the congressional leader of the civil rights movement, expressed a similar sentiment nearly two centuries later. For three decades after World War II, he was the embodiment of a liberal Democrat. In 1960, Humphrey wrote: “Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. This is not to say that firearms should not be very carefully used and that definite safety rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced. But the right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.”

    I feel VT is awaking along with VA and other states.

  2. If I write a couple more notes to True North, I’ll be over 35 submissions,
    Will I get paid vacations, minimum wage, health care?
    Will you have to deduct taxes from my rich pay for these mini-essays submitted.
    This is a lucrative side hustle for me !!

  3. If the California legislature start sticking their collective noses into the free enterprise system, you have to know they’re screw it up and they have!!!!-

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