Government Outlaws Freelance Work

Freelance jobs are “feudalism,” says California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.

She persuaded California’s legislature to pass a new law reclassifying freelance workers as employees. That means many people who hire them must now give them benefits like overtime, unemployment insurance, etc. Politicians said it would help freelancers a lot.

Of course, much of the media agreed. Vox called it “a victory for workers everywhere”!

Sigh. Young reporters just don’t understand that stifling economic freedom always creates nasty side effects.

Actually, more understand now, because they got a very personal lesson. Once the bill passed, Vox media cut hundreds of freelance writing jobs.

When Gonzalez was asked if she felt bad about that, she sneered, those weren’t “real jobs.”

The arrogance of politicians! People choose jobs. Freelancers like flexibility. Politicians have no right to say certain jobs aren’t good enough.

“You’re thinking you’re helping us, but you’re not,” says musician Ari Herstand in my new video. He says the anti gig-work law could “crash the California music economy.”

Why? Before the law passed, if he played a gig where he’d hire a drummer, bassist and guitar player, “I just cut (each) a check for $200. Now, I have to take that drummer, put him on payroll, W2 him, get workers’ comp insurance, unemployment insurance. I have to pay payroll taxes. I also have to now hire a payroll company.”

All to hire musicians for one just night. The paperwork alone might cost more than the music.

The anti-gig-work law originally targeted rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, because unions claimed the companies abuse drivers.

But now many rideshare drivers are upset because the law takes away their freedom.

“I liked being independent!” said one. “I don’t want a boss to tell me when or where to drive.”

Herstand says Uber and Lyft drivers would often tell him: “I’m a photographer and this is my fourth side gig. I want to do this when I want to do this, and if now I’m an employee, and I’m W2’d, they’re going to dictate my hours. I don’t want that. (The law is) preventing us from doing what we want to do.”

The law upset independent truck drivers, too. After some nosily drove big rigs in front of the legislature, they got an exemption from the law. Other politically connected professions, like lawyers and realtors, got exemptions as well.

Now Herstand’s working on getting an exemption for musicians, too.

“Why is that good law?” I asked him. “An exception for whoever is clever enough to get to the politicians?”

“It’s definitely not the solution,” laughed Herstand. “‘Write us out of this law and help us out? Here’s money for your next campaign.’ No, that doesn’t seem like that’s a way to legislate.”

But that’s how it’s often done. The more rules politicians pass, the more money they extract from people who are regulated.

Now other politicians want to copy California’s law. New York, New Jersey and Illinois have their own versions of gig economy bills. The House of Representatives wants to nationalize the law. And, this week, Democratic front-runner Joe Biden cluelessly said such a law “will give workers the dignity they deserve.”

Democrats do what unions ask them to do. Politico points out that just a few years ago, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called gig work “a great service for people, giving people jobs. I don’t think government should be in the business of trying to restrict job growth.” He even joked that Uber drivers might earn more than he does.

But now he wants to outlaw most gig work and calls it “exploitive, abusive!”

It’s no surprise that Gonzalez’s biggest political donors are unions. She talks a lot about “protecting our union jobs.” But now that her bill is killing jobs, she wouldn’t agree to an interview.

Neither would the California unions, or any of 75 law professors, political scientists, sociologists, etc., who published a letter in support of the law.

Yes, we contacted all 75.

Herstand says that’s because the law now embarrasses its supporters, but politicians won’t repeal it because “no politician ever wants to admit they did something wrong.”

11 thoughts on “Government Outlaws Freelance Work

  1. An excellent article. ! Im a proud member of Freelancers Against AB5. a facebook page,with over 15,000 members and growing. We are organizing to support any candidate who opposes AB5. Former canidate Elizabeth Warren supported it seems Biden does to. We cannot have someone in the White House who is unaware of the devastating effects of this labor law.

  2. A politician who would admit they didn’t have the whole story AND is now willing to act to reverse their error would be a fresh take.

  3. Politicians don’t want anyone to work for themselves because these individuals will most likely not pay the many taxes that employers are forced to do with employees.

  4. I’m very afraid that the New Democrat legislature in Virginia may attempt the same thing at some point. I hope that the 56% of registered Virginia voters who did not bother to get off their butts in last November’s election will vote them out next time. We have enough big government in Washington and we don’t need it in the Old Dominion.

  5. Based on the actual loss of jobs and increased financial burden placed on perspective employers, what can be done to overturn or repeal this law and prevent the same nightmare from spreading? This seems like back door corruption. IE; forcing the little employer not to play the game while forcing the freelance employee into a stereotypical work box.

  6. This Law is indeed killing business and peoples livelihoods, Loreana Gonzalez is a power hungry greedy politician bought and paid for by the AFL CIO , I am not against Unions at all, if they are actually good ones and really represent their members , unfortunately the AFM union is a bad joke and has been all my professional life ,I joined it in the 60’s and quit it in the 60’s because it is useless. Went on to develop a successful 50 year career as an independent negotiating my own contracts and prices, and made more money than any Musicians Union member I have ever met. The independent and freelance workers business was. not broken and we never asked Lorena to fix it. This is an idiotic and devastatingly terrible law which is going to backfire on her very quickly.

    One of my trumpet players has made substantial amounts of money multiple times, that I know of, driving for Uber Black, which has a higher echelon of wealthy and celebrity riders, that hired him for long runs and waiting for hours to get the ride back home. AB5 got him a three day notice of termination and he was forced to turn in his vehicle that he had been making the lease payments on as well. His boss pulled the plug on his money making business on Dec 27th 2019. I even hired him to drive the band to some gigs out of the area to make it worth his while to travel to Lake Tahoe to play a gig with us, on several occasions. He often made more money driving the band there and back than he did as a player. In two months he has lost his apartment and a vehicle that allowed him to get to and from music gigs. Show me Loreana How the Hell this is Helping him and many other like him. Oh yeah and guess how much he is gonna owe in taxes this year with no employment income because it was ripped out from under him.

    One of our Trombone players also lost his gig with UBER in December as well. They were doing well supplementing their music employment, and usually scored a ride on their way home from many of our gigs that sweetened their gig income substantially with the ride and a good tip.

  7. Forgotten are the hundreds and thousands of us little tiny businesses, face painters, balloon twisters, heck that kid who organizes his buddies to help mow lawns! There’s no way we can face the financial admin burden a payroll taxes, payroll companies, workman’s comp insurance!!! The most injured where women-owned businesses and great little part time jobs for people with disabilities.

  8. These law makers like her don’t have shut to do or not have any good business to make people’s lives easier here. Mate. Why? You after me more money 💰 to cut our taxes and shits? Please go to hill go bless. Mate crap law makers.

  9. Good morning all! It’s FRIDAY!!!! I used to drive for Lyft until a passenger tried to pull a knife on me! I drove like a NY’r which scared him and went rambling in Yiddish, English, verbage of who knows what. He stated, Damn you’re one crazy _____! And went out. I called up Lyft and told them what happened. They did nothing. I stopped working for them that day. I was working three “gig” jobs because no one was hiring a skilled clerical applicant who was over 55 years of age. The other two jobs did not even make a living wage! Because InstaCart pays way below the minimum wage! The politicians are not representing us (We the People!) In today’s age, it is youth that gets jobs. People with experience are not being hired because of AGE DISCRIMINATION! That has been the case!

    Also there are many employers who are hiring illegals and paying them a better wage than citizens! Oh I do reside in California.

  10. I think this is about controlling people. Making people dependent on government. Enforcing the idea that “you can’t do that “.
    It’s also about money. How else can they raise taxes to 60% if they don’t control distribution of funds?

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