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Letters Sept. 18-25


Kamala Harris, For Which People? Feature, Sep. 25

Harris Will Not Be President

Harris is somewhat of a nothing burger. She cajoled, faked and did much worse to slime her way through a very slimy system. Her behavior at the Kavanaugh hearing was atrocious; rude and self-obsessed to a fault, but not for seeking truth about Brett just the big show for herself to begin to get her name out there. Now, she's flopping mightily at this point, sinking fast. As a senator she is already way over her head. She will not be president.

Ken White

Reform of the Gig Economy A Wonderful Thing, Raising the Bar, Sep. 18

The New Economy is a Smokescreen

The writer of this article is right on point. This so called "new economy" is a smoke screen for a modern elite class of venture capitalists to take back basic economic benefits that American workers have earned through collective bargaining over the last 150 years. In exchange for services rendered, workers are entitled to receive a fair wage, safe working conditions and benefits. This whole notion of workers being contractors not employees is a concept contrived to keep all of the profits at the top of the corporate structure while exploiting low skilled working class people. These companies keep all of the money and take none of the risk or responsibility that comes with running a company. As a society, we cannot allow companies like Uber and Lyft to provide the exact same services to the public as a taxi cab company, but not be required to compete while playing by the same rules. This warped sense of competition should be branded for what it is, GREED. It is the kind of greed that is ultimately destructive and unsustainable. In fact, the participation in this farce by so many is a sign of just how broken this US economy has become. Corporate profits up, CEO pay up, stockholder share values up, worker compensation as a percentage of profits have been stagnant for the last 30 years. Just look at what happened with the Trump tax cuts for the wealthy. It did not stimulate the economy at all. Companies bought back their own stock and gave raises to executives. The jobs that were created in almost all case were low paying jobs that do not provide for a family in the world we live in today. Government is always a step behind technology, but I am glad to see California step up to the plate as it relates to this gig economy. Similarly, at some point the federal government will catch up to Facebook, Google and others and establish some rules of the road before their greed destroys not only the economy, cut the society as a whole. Technology and innovation without guard rails has never been good for capitalism and what we experience today is no different


Mr. Youngdahl has written a misguided piece. He forgets that driving for Uber represents an opportunity to work that many people have not had. Many drivers were able to drive part time and earn a few dollars. As independent contractors they could come and go at will. By making Uber drivers employees, and giving them additional benefits, you reduce the available opportunities for work. Also, Mr. Youngdahl is unaware of how the market mechanism works. As the company pays out more in various types of benefits, it pays the driver less in direct compensation. Generally, the Uber drivers are seeking direct compensation for specific needs. As Mr. Youngdahl makes driving for Uber more complicated and costly, the opportunities will decline. Uber will be more like a Cab Company, and less competitive. The end result will be fewer opportunities to earn a few bucks when needed. "Do-Gooders" like Mr. Youngdahl interfere in the market mechanism only to reduce opportunities. In this case, it will reduce the impact of competition which Uber has brought to the Cab industry.

Jerry Udinsky

I love that just because companies have to provide benefits means that they "have" to pay drivers less and become somehow "less competitive." This argument is so tired and lacking in an understanding of how the "market" really works. If ALL the companies have to do the same thing, there is no competitive disadvantage. That is the positive role government can play to make sure that companies that opt to do the right thing in supporting their workers don't suffer at the hands of those who are willing to take advantage of people who otherwise have no power. Especially given that said "government" at all levels (currently crippled and destroyed by the "free market" Friedman crowd) has been whittled down to providing almost NO social safety nets at all.

ALSO, I do not think it is a given, writ-in-stone proposition, that companies HAVE to make a certain amount of profit. In the current "free market," anti-regulation, free-for-all period we are living through, companies are forgetting that they make their money off the backs of the people who actually do the work. In reality these companies can well-afford to make less money at the top for themselves and "investors" and give more back to the people struggling just to keep a roof over their heads, stay healthy and feed themselves and their loved ones.


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