In order to understand why California’s new Assembly Bill 5, (AB 5) is lousy you have to decipher who wins and who loses in the gig economy. If the losers are politically connected, it is logical that the losers will try to change the rules.
This is the downside of most government interventions. The goals of the “do-gooders” are overwhelmed by the special interests. Laws should be simple and have as little interference in the personal lives as possible.
The gig economy has provided opportunities for millions of Americans to make money. That’s not the same as having a “job” but that’s the point. Many gig workers have other jobs and many of the ones who don’t are in school or want to work part-time to make a little extra cash. Obviously, some of these people would like to have a different job which they can freely look for while doing gig work without any repercussions from an “employer” looking for loyalty or firm work hours.
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Consumer preferences, reduced technology costs and government policies that increase labor costs are driving a trend toward automation in the restaurant business. If you make something more convenient and less expensive, it tends to catch on.
As recently as the 1960s, gas-station employees would rush to fill your car’s tank, wash the windows, check the oil and put air in the tires. Telephone operators made your long-distance calls and bank tellers cashed your checks. Those jobs now are either gone or greatly diminished.
Today, we reduce jobs whenever we shop on Amazon instead of our local retail outlet, use an Uber app rather than calling a cab dispatcher, order a pizza online, use an airport kiosk to print boarding passes, or scan groceries. Each of these changes in behavior has increased convenience and reduced labor costs—and competitive businesses pass the savings to their customers.
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