When I was in college, writing was my main source of income. I churned out hundreds of articles while keeping up with my studies. Even after I graduated and took a full-time job, I have been able to keep writing on the side, and am blessed to be making money doing something I enjoy.
Now, the state of California is putting an end to writers like me.
A new California law, scheduled to take effect on January 1st, will severely limit the ability of freelance writers to earn an income. Writers will be limited to 35 published pieces per outlet annually. To put that in perspective, someone who contributes to a client weekly will hit their cap far before the year is over.
And, this law does not just harm freelance writers like me – it hurts the livelihood of gig employees across the state. Ride-share drivers to consultants and everyone in between, the entire freelance and project-based working community is going to be severely restricted in what they can do.
While we could get into the weeds with the problems behind this law (and the union pressure that helped it pass), the spirit of the legislation is what worries me most. An idea is being spread across the country that gig workers must be saved from the gig economy.
We are lectured on the so-called “exploitation” that occurs every time a worker works for a company without receiving the full employee benefits. The political elite, in their condescending paternalism, takes any chance they can get to lecture us about how gig workers must be saved from ourselves, from our way of earning an income.
That could not be further from the truth.
Let’s call this bill and this movement what they actually are: an attack on workers. Attacking the gig economy means that you are attacking the livelihood of each and every single gig worker in this country.
It’s an attack on my family members who have built businesses out of consulting and project-based work.
It’s an attack on the mother who is able to work from home so she can spend more time with her kids.
It’s an attack on the Uber driver who is able to set his own hours and bring in more money for his family.
And it’s an attack on people like me, who put themselves through college using gig work and rely on it today.
An attack on the gig economy might seem like an effort to promote “workers’ rights” or to advance the wellbeing of Americans, but that’s not what it is at all. It is an effort that will kill the incomes of thousands of Americans, take away worker freedom and flexibility, and cause heartache and hardship for everyone who must now completely reorient how they work to fall in line with crushing regulation.
It might be too late for California, but it’s not too late for the rest of the country. An attack on the gig economy is an attack on working Americans. We must stand against it, wherever it shows up.