According to a new article in the Seattle Times, 9,200 Uber and Lyft drivers are permitted to work in the Seattle-area. And, apparently, Democrats wants us to be shocked and appalled by that.
The information was originally sought by a group of attorneys as part of an investigation into these rideshare companies’ employment policies. Presumably, the information is relevant for former drivers who have sued Uber in several cities based on the claim that they should be classified as employees rather than independent contractors. This is a new application of an old labor trick to try and blackmail businesses into submission.
Attorney Steve Ross stated, “Under the present system, Uber and Lyft shift business expenses such as gas and vehicle maintenance to their workers without providing the benefits of employment, such as guaranteed minimum wage and workers’ compensation… Government officials and the public deserve to have this information as they consider the many important and dynamic transportation issues facing our region.”
There is, however, a small consideration those eager to limit the rideshare industry have failed to consider. Many drivers contracted with Uber or Lyft do not drive on a full-time basis, they consider it a means to earn extra income outside of their regular employment. A total of 9,200 drivers do not drive around Seattle, and the surrounding cities, on a regular basis. Touting that figure as some sort of horrible surprise is ridiculous.
If the Left is interested in protecting workers, they should consider fostering equal opportunity by ending heavy regulations. Seattle’s taxi industry continues to struggle under bogus regulations put in place by the City Council eager to please union bosses, and other special interests, including the market-limiting caps placed on how many taxis can operate in the city.
These caps only serve to create a monopoly that operates with the good graces of the city government – and politicians who need campaign contributions – rather than serve consumers.
The rideshare companies have success because they meet market demands, addressing the undependable, pricey taxi services brought on by regulations. Rather than concern themselves with how many people have contracts with Uber and Lyft, Democrats should worry about what they have done to the taxi industry.
The Left’s vendetta against free market innovation doesn’t end with the rideshare industry. The Seattle City Council is now considering regulating Airbnb businesses within the city. King5 reports,
“Besides wanting hosts to get city business licenses and pay ‘appropriate’ city taxes, [Seattle City Councilmember Tim] Burgess was non-committal on any specific regulations. Burgess said it’s more likely to be easy on homeowners trying to get (sic), and will probably be more strict on landlords or commercial companies looking to cash in.”
Shawn Telford, an Airbnb host, had the prefect reply to the news. He said, “If you find a way to make money, the government’s gonna want its cut. I understand what they’re trying to do, but they better put a crosswalk over here and fill the potholes in my street.”
The Democrats’ attacks against Uber, Lyft, and now Airbnb are not winning issues. Their actions only prove to voters that they will always side with special interests over free enterprise.
Unfortunately, Democrats have proved time and time again that they are all too willing to implement stifling regulations that hurt innovation—and even key segments of their base—in order to benefit unions, which heavily fund their campaigns.
Photo via NewsWeek.com