Voters know that politicians lie for votes; still, they supply those votes anyway. By lying to themselves, mostly. We conduct our affairs (more or less) in recognition that we cannot have something for nothing but we suddenly erase that hard-earned knowledge in the voting booth. Slow learning species?
Politicians assure us that they will use their offices to “create jobs” and to “stimulate the economy.” Yet the jobs are not created nor is the economy, stimulated. In search of explanation, we noticed especially, two reports this week:
One was a report that the U.S. Federal and a bunch of local Governments are moving against the short term rental app Airbnb and its like. They provide typically, a few days or weeks rental quarters for vacationers or other travelers almost anywhere. A lot of the rented premises are people’s private homes. This is a service to property owners wishing some income and to travelers wishing to avoid the costs and milieus of hotels and such. It became a large, world-spanning service quickly.
But hotels et al do not like this at all. It is effective competition. Large hotel chains donate to politicians. So cities outlaw rentals of your private home for less than 30 days, require burdensome licensing and regulation and in various ways, prevent such rentals by property owners. Taking boarders is often treated the same way.
The second report concerns government actions in California, the Federal government, France, Germany and no doubt, elsewhere. These actions are directed at Uber, Lyft and other “ride sharing” internet operators. These often provide cheaper and better service to passengers than old-style, unionized and heavily regulated cab companies. The cabbies feel similarly about ride sharing as hotels feel about folks short term house rentals. So again, governments are doing their best to prevent the new business; in this case, by forcing Uber etc. to treat all its thousands of drivers as employees, with overtime pay, vacations, work breaks, overtime pay, etc. Each driver has been an independent operator until now, taking a cut of his fares and paying his own expenses. (Or hers, or its). California just ordered Uber to employ its drivers and the Feds are working on it too. The cost increase may destroy the business.
In short, government is doing all it can to prevent new businesses that provide incomes to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. If this had been going on in Henry Ford’s day, we might well still be needing barns rather than garages.
These are real government actions, a greater reality than political rhetoric or so we believe, The pols may claim job creation in their speeches but these concrete actions drown out such claims … if they ever reach the ears of the citizens. Mostly, they do not; they’re somehow, “not news.” It can be difficult to decide whether the politicians or the “newsfolk” are the greater hypocrites, at least as we see it.
Anyway, we find the moribund U.S. economy unsurprising. We can’t rent our house to vacationers for a week, find an affordable ride in the suburbs or take in boarders to offset unemployment. It’s illegal, or about to be. Job creation, right? And economic stimulation, too …