President Trump and the gig economy

Over at Gig Employer Blog Rich Meneghello speculates about what impact a President Trump will have on the gig economy. Mr. Trump has said absolutely nothing about the gig economy, so we're truly in the land of speculation. Here are Meneghello's main points:

  • Lower tax rates for independent workers. Gig workers should fall into the 15% tax bracket under Trump's tax plan. Meneghello isn't sure this will actually increase gig workers' pay.
  • Less business regulation. Trump obviously favors less regulation of business. Meneghello says that "could be a good thing for the nascent gig economy, still struggling to survive in a world where government entities are applying 20th-century regulation to a 21st-century economy." But new and pending regulations are coming from the states and local governments, so a new person in the White House won't matter much.
  • Partnering to boost the economy. Although the election campaigns (both parties) talked about returning manufacturing jobs as a help for the middle class, they are missing some points. In manufacturing, robotics are replacing people. Young workers – both skilled and unskilled, both educated and less-educated – would rather not work in manufacturing or mining.

My view:

  • The gig economy (think Uber, Lyft, Airbnb) is a huge – long-term – cultural shift.
  • Union officials ride in Uber cars while they bemoan the fact that drivers can't bargain collectively and claim that drivers are misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees.
  • Traditional "jobs" are drying up.
  • Many workers are attracted to the personal freedom and flexibility they find in the gig economy.
  • Governments seem clueless as to what the problems are with the gig economy.
  • Governments seem clueless as to how to fix these problems.