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Biden’s attack on 64 million freelancers makes them less free

OpinionBiden’s attack on 64 million freelancers makes them less free

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The same people who talk about the importance of choice when it serves their purposes don’t seem to care about choice when it comes to your work. You have value to offer in the form of your labor and all that comes with it, whether that be skills, experience, insights or otherwise. If a business wants to contract with you for your labor, and you agree to the terms, everyone is better off. 

Certainly, the government wouldn’t want to interfere with that, right? Providing your labor to a willing buyer of that labor produces more economic output, which generates more revenue and wages that can be taxed.  

However, under the Biden administration, bolstered by the interests of unions and “labor activists,” the government is doing exactly the opposite: they are trying to kill the work of an estimated 64 million people, as well as the businesses (including small businesses) that depend on that labor. 

‘MERIT-BASED HIRING’ MIGHT BE ‘UNFAIR’: AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION

If you think that sounds insane, it is. And it’s nefarious and a complete bastardization of our individual rights to be able to provide our labor and work flexibility the way we want. 

video call at work

So-called gig work or freelancing is under attack by the Biden administration’s Department of Labor. (iStock)

The Biden administration went around Congress and used the Department of Labor (DOL) to finalize a rule in early January that is anti-gig and independent contractor work. Based on the disastrous “model” policy that was incubated in California called “AB5”, this new rule will create a devastating outcome for tens of millions of workers who want to work flexibly and independently instead of becoming employees. 

The unions and activists say independent work is “unjust,” but what is really unjust is some third-party meddling in your work and a contract that doesn’t involve them. Studies and polls continually find that independent workers themselves want and prefer to work that way. The reasons vary from flexibility-related preferences to being able to earn more as a contractor or gig worker. 

But the reason doesn’t matter. People should be able to work how they want, period. There is no justification that should be required. Your work should be your choice: not that of a union, a politician or a grifter activist. 

This DOL rule, which undoes protections and clarifications for independent work put in place under the Trump administration, seeks to force many (if not most) independent workers into employment status, and thus, effectively eliminate their jobs.  

It is set to go into effect on March 11, but has already received pushback, including lawsuits like the one filed by the founders of a nonpartisan coalition of freelancers called Fight for Freelancers USA, represented by Pacific Legal Foundation (Warren v. U.S. Department of Labor), among others. 

This could up-end the entire economy. Upwork’s Research Institute estimated that almost 40% of the US workforce did some freelance work in 2023. That’s about 64 million Americans whose livelihoods are at stake. 

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Not only will jobs be eliminated, and smaller businesses will struggle to stay afloat with this change, but companies will end up outsourcing more contractor work to foreign workers who aren’t subject to the same rules and restrictions. 

Fewer jobs for Americans. Less economic output and growth. Less tax revenue. Less freedom. Only someone who believes in Bidenomics would not think this is an absolutely imbecilic idea.  

The unions and activists say independent work is “unjust,” but what is really unjust is some third-party meddling in your work and a contract that doesn’t involve them. Studies and polls continually find that independent workers themselves want and prefer to work that way.

And this is a despicable abuse of power and infringement on individual rights.  

So, what can you do? As we have seen with a few recent grassroots victories, using your voice does matter, and in some realms, shame does too (although, we know that some politicians have no shame at all).  

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Use your voice to write to your congressmen as well as advocates in your state (governors, treasurers, etc.) who might be able to lend their support, as this ruling impacts just about everyone. Even better, organize a writing campaign. The more noise that can be made, the better. Consider supporting some of the lawsuits and the nonprofits working in support of them, like the one described above, or even filing one of your own.  

It should be to everyone’s benefit to remove barriers to earning a living. But, as usual, when it comes to your rights, it is the government that adds barriers and from whom you need protection. We must stand up and not allow the government to tell us how we can be productive and earn a living. 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM CAROL ROTH 

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