Laurens ten Cate

Highlights of The Sharing Economy

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by Laurens ten Cate on Monday, December 19th, 2016, 5:26 PM PERMALINK

Recently the Federal Trade Commission brought out a report on the Sharing Economy. This very positive report included almost two thousand (2000!) individual comments submitted by Americans participating in this new style of economy. People use the sharing economy as a way to thrive and survive in the slowest recovery of a recession since the Great Depression and this sentiment is felt in almost all comments in this massive database.

In the midst of holiday cheer it’s good to spend some time thinking about not just why more choice for people and how flexibility in setting your own hours is good but also how the Sharing Economy has impacted the thousands of Americans working in it. I went through most of the by the FTC collected comments and picked out some of the most warm, heartfelt and inspiring quotes found among them.

Susanne Warfied from New Jersey talks about how she felt safe and empowered to invite guests to stay at her apartment through Airbnb’s platform and how this has helped her pay for the enormous increases in her healthcare premium through Obamacare.

“I joined AirBNB in March of this year as I was having problems making ends meet. I am self-employed and have been struggling to make mortgage payments and maintain my association management company and pay for the so-called Obamacare. The impact of Obamacare alone has raised my personal health care premium by over $300 a month! I thought it was supposed to help small business owners?”

Ridesharing was praised for reducing drunk driving deaths and tragedy for thousands every year.

“May 26, 2015

To Whom it May Concern, 

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has had great success since our founding in 1980 in reducing the number of drunk driving fatalities. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go. In 2013 over 10,000 people were killed due to a drunk driver. This accounts for almost one-third of all traffic deaths. While the best way to stop drunk driving is to couple strong drunk driving laws with strong DUI enforcement and educating the public on the consequences of breaking these laws, it is also important for those over the age of 21 to have a safe ride should they go out to consume alcoholic beverages. To that end, MADD supports new ridesharing platforms and alternative means of transportation that use new and emerging technologies to enable more transportation options throughout the country. MADD knows that the Federal Trade Commission is holding a workshop on the sharing economy and wanted to weigh in support of new rideshare programs and platforms which include companies like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar. Of particular interest to MADD is the potential for these new alternatives to take drunk drivers off the road and provide a safe alternative. Due to the competition that Uber has introduced into the market, people can now get a safe and cash-free ride home at the touch of a button. Please consider the tremendous social value that ridesharing companies offer as you put together your June 9 workshop. We urge you to take into consideration the issue of drunk driving as you continue to debate this issue.

Thank you and best wishes, J.T. Griffin”

And finally, Carlton Timeus regales the story of how he once saved a young man’s life.

“There was a night, a young man requested for ride while he was in a very bad area in Miami. He cried that I came quickly because he feared for his life. When I arrived, 3 guys were getting ready to jump him for his watch and wallet. So I quickly pull my car between him and those 3 guys. That's just one story.”

These are just three of the two thousand comments on the Sharing Economy collected by the FTC.

The Sharing Economy has empowered thousands of people with the opportunity to make their lives better. For Americans working in the Sharing Economy the case seems clear, they overwhelmingly like it. The report by the FTC found that over 90% of the two thousand comments were positive and of the 10% negative comments, many came from existing industry players such as hotels, bed and breakfasts and taxi companies.

For innovation to be possible, disruption of old incumbent industries needs to be allowed. The Sharing Economy is just another example of that. The market has spoken and they overwhelmingly shouted in favor. The Sharing Economy is here to stay. 

Uber Drivers Earn Significantly More Than Classic Taxi Drivers

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by Laurens ten Cate on Wednesday, December 7th, 2016, 2:23 PM PERMALINK

Economists Jonathan V. Hall and Alan B. Krueger recently released an updated version of their 2015 paper, An Analysis of the Labor Market for Uber’s Driver-Partners in the United States. They updated the work with additional data obtained in 2015.

Especially interesting is the renewed finding that even though the cost of using Uber as a consumer has gone down, the hourly earnings of Uber drivers have stayed the same.

The paper analyzes various driver characteristics such as hours worked, demographics, reasons for partnering with the Uber platform, and hourly earnings.

For instance, in Boston the average hourly earnings are $20.86, in New York $23.69 and in San Francisco $23.87.

Some luminaries on the Left have aggressively criticized independent contractors and the sharing economy. Hillary Clinton said she: “will crack down on bosses that exploit employees by misclassifying them as contractors or even steal their wages.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said: "I am not a great fan of Uber—you can quote me on that."

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that taxi drivers only earn on average $13.00 an hour working for classic taxi companies.

Enemies of the sharing economy will say that this $7.00 an hour difference doesn’t matter because some taxi drivers don’t have to pay for gasoline, vehicle maintenance and depreciation. However, they conveniently forget the fact that ridesharing drivers are independent contractors who submit 1040s and Schedule Cs to the IRS, on which they can deduct expenses made during business operations. Such as, you guessed it, expenses for gasoline, vehicle maintenance and depreciation.

Hall and Krueger use figures calculated annually by the AAA to estimate per hour driver expenses. For a full time driver with insurance and registration in a sedan this averages to $4.29, all deductible of course.

In the short summary of the paper, Hall and Krueger shy away from mentioning that expenses incurred when driving on a ridesharing platform are deductible. In the full report they do mention this, saying: “Note also that drivers may partially offset their costs by deducting work-related expenses from their income for tax purposes, including depreciation or leasing fees, gasoline, maintenance, insurance, mobile device and data fees, and license and registration fees.”

Another huge reason for people to partner with ridesharing platforms is flexibility, the ability to set your own hour’s week-to-week. This is again confirmed by the report: “In any given week, well more than half (65 percent) of driver-partners drive 25 percent more, or 25 percent less, than the amount they drove in the previous week.”

The report also notes that 53 percent of the people that are uberX Driver-Partners only work 1 to 15 hours a week and another 30 percent only 16 to 34 hours a week. Of the remaining 17 percent, 12 percent works 35 to 49 hours and 5 percent works 50 hours or more.

Just because politicians beholden to entrenched interests prefer people to punch a clock every day and cough up union dues (which end up as campaign donations) should not mean that the hardworking people of the America are worse off.

The research shows it again and again: the sharing economy makes everyone better off. Let’s stop this absurd movement back to the 1930s. 

Mercatus Study Shows Harmful Effect of Occupational Licensing

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by Laurens ten Cate on Thursday, November 17th, 2016, 11:19 AM PERMALINK

Recently a new study came out from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, focussing on the effect of occupational licensing on the chiropractic, physical therapist (PT), and physician labor market specifically.

The study, authored by Edward J. Timmons, Jason M. Hockenberry and Christine Piette Durrance, finds that: “Allowing chiropractors and PTs more freedom of practice may result in lower healthcare costs.” And that “Consumer welfare is likely to be improved by having greater access to lower-priced care and more choices for pain treatment.”

This is a recurring theme in markets nowadays with ever-increasing regulations ever Right now there are more than 1,000,000 restrictions in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) which has more than 175,000 pages.

The government has a fondness for occupational licensing which can be seen in the numbers. The amount of people working in jobs that require occupational licensing has increased from 4% in 1950 to 29% in 2006. Under the guise of “safety” politicians have created artificial barriers of entry to a multitude of industries. A famous example is the absurdity of the cosmetology license that is required for hair braiding.

In general, occupational licensing increases the barrier to entry in a certain industry and thus artificially increases wages of the licensed workers. In regard to the hair braiders it made a perfectly safe job illegal to perform without very expensive training completely unrelated to the job.

Right now a big reason why people tend to go to the higher cost primary-care physician is due to ‘scope-of-practice laws’. These laws state what a, in this case, chiropractor or PT can and can’t treat. Broadening these scope-of-practice laws for chiropractors and PT’s gives customers lower-cost alternatives for back and neck pain. This could improve the efficiency of the healthcare market and lead to lower spending on Medicaid.

This study confirms, with data, what we already suspected. Occupational licensing, just like overregulation, reduces efficiency in the marketplace, causing higher costs for everyone.

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Koskinen’s IRS At It Again: Tea Party Groups Denied Tax-exempt Status After Nearly 7 Years

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by Laurens ten Cate on Wednesday, November 16th, 2016, 4:32 PM PERMALINK

The Albuquerque Tea Party has received a decision on their request for tax-exempt status. It came just a little later than expected. How much later? Almost seven years after applying the tea party group got denied tax-exempt status.

Even now that decision came with the IRS dragging it’s heels. The IRS had to be forced to deal with three Tea Party groups that were very much delayed under orders of a federal judge. Only one of the three groups got approved. The other two – including the Albuquerque group – got denied.

The groups have the option to appeal the decision but the group’s chief counsel, Jay Sekulow, said:  “It is clear that we still have an IRS that is corrupt and incapable of self-correction,”

The only group that was approved is the Michigan-based Unite in Action. They applied for tax-exempt status more than six years ago. Next to the Albuquerque group, Tri City Tea Party from Washington State was also denied in their request.

Even though the Michigan-based group was finally approved, the more than six year waiting period is gross overreach of IRS power and a clear-as-day example of the targeting of conservative groups by the agency.

Recently IRS commissioner John Koskinen appeared in front of the House Judiciary Committee to face impeachment charges leveled by congress due to his role in the Lois Lerner targeting scandal. Under Lois Lerner’s leadership the IRS only approved one conservative group non-profit status in the three year period of 2009 to 2012.

The finishing of these three applications after a staggering seven years doesn’t mean the end to this controversy though. Another group, the Texas Patriots Tea Party, still hasn’t received a decision on their application. They are part of a class-action lawsuit against the IRS in Ohio in which last week, on November 6, a judge granted a preliminary injunction against the IRS on strong evidence of discrimination based on the conservative background of the groups.

This case is of extra interest because of the fact that the discrimination happened after May 2012 when, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s report, the IRS changed their sorting system for political cases.

The filed injunction will force the IRS to deal with the application like they would with any other but one can’t help but imagine this is nigh impossible after years of consistent discrimination against conservative groups.

Regardless of what happens, a federal agency delaying an application for almost seven years before denying it is unheard of and completely unacceptable. The IRS needs a complete overhaul to get rid of the anti-conservative bias that has infested the agency.

More from Americans for Tax Reform

State Tax Ballot Measure Roundup

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by John Kartch, Laurens ten Cate on Wednesday, November 9th, 2016, 2:15 PM PERMALINK

Taxpayer Wins:

Washington state rejects carbon tax - Initiative 732 got rejected by a 58.5% to 41.5% margin. The initiative would have phased in a $25 per metric ton carbon tax over a period of two years. After reaching $25 it would have continued to increase by 3.5% plus the rate of inflation until the tax reached $100.

Colorado rejects payroll and income tax hike – By a 79.9% to 20.3% margin, Colorado voters rejected Amendment 69, a massive tax increase that would have imposed a 10% payroll tax and a 10% tax on all non-payroll income.

Oklahoma rejects 22 percent sales tax hike  -  State Question 779 got rejected by a 59.4% to 40.6% margin. State Question 779 would have hiked the sales tax by 22% (from 4.5% to 5.5%).

Oregon rejects business tax increase - By a 59.2% to 40.8% margin, Oregon voters rejected Measure 97 which would have implemented a 2.5% gross receipts tax on all corporate sales exceeding $25 million.

Colorado rejects tobacco tax increase - By a 53.7% to 46.3% margin, Colorado voters rejected Amendment 72, which would have increased the tobacco excise tax by $1.75 per 20-pack. Additionally, all other tobacco products excluding e-cigarettes would have been taxed at 62 percent of the manufacturer's list price.

Missouri rejects 23-cent cigarette tax increase - Missouri voters rejected Proposition A by 55.3% to 44.7% margin, which would have increased the cigarette tax by 23 cents per pack by 2021. Further, all other tobacco products would have been subject to an additional 5% sales tax.

Missouri rejects 60-cent cigarette tax increase  - By a 59.2% to 40.8% margin, Missouri voters rejected Constitutional Amendment 3, which would have raised the cigarette tax by 60 cents per 20-pack in 15 cent increments by 2020. Additionally, an 'equity assessment fee' of 67 cents per pack would have been imposed on manufacturers who did not sign the Tobacco Masters Settlement Agreement (TMSA) of 1998.

North Dakota rejects Tobacco Tax Increase - North Dakota voters rejected Initiated Statutory Measure 4 by 61.7% to 38.3%, which would have increased the state tobacco tax from 44 cents to $2.20 per pack. Also, it would have raised the tax on other tobacco products (including liquid nicotine and electronic vapor products) from 28 percent to 56 percent of the wholesale purchase price. 

Illinois safeguards gas tax funds – The Illinois Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox Amendment passed by a vote of 78.9% to 21.1%. The Amendment will prevent lawmakers from using transportation funds for projects other than their stated purpose.

New Jersey safeguards gas tax funds - By a 53.6% to 46.4% margin, New Jersey voters passed Public Question 2, which dedicates all gas tax revenue to transportation projects, so politicians will be unable to raid it for their pet purposes.

San Diego, California, rejects hotel room tax increase - By a 57% to 43% margin, San Diego voters rejected Measure C, which would have raised the city's effective hotel room tax by 60% (from 10.5% to 16.5%). The tax hike funds were to be funneled to the construction of a new stadium for the San Diego Chargers. 

Taxpayer Losses:

California extends income tax hike – California Proposition 55 passed by a vote of 62.1% to 37.9%, extending the “temporary” income tax rates hike approved by voters in 2012, on incomes exceeding $250,000 a year.

California passes Tobacco tax increase  - By a 62.9% to 37.1% margin, California voters passed Proposition 56, which increases the state cigarette tax by $2.00 per pack to a total of $2.87 per pack. This increase is also applied to all other tobacco-derived products including e-cigarettes.

Missouri extends sales tax – By a 80.1% to 19.9% margin, Missouri voters passed Amendment 1, which extends a 0.1 percent sales and use tax for another ten years.

Too Close to Call:

Maine Question 2 - Maine residents voted on Question 2, a 40% tax hike (from 7.15% to 10.15%) on household incomes exceeding $200,000 per year. At this point the result is too close to call.







More from Americans for Tax Reform

Hillary Clinton Endorsed a VAT As High As 22 Percent in 1993

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by Laurens ten Cate on Monday, November 7th, 2016, 11:58 AM PERMALINK

Add a VAT to the list of tax increases Hillary Clinton has endorsed in her career. Back in 1993 Hillary Clinton endorsed a Value-Added-Tax as high as 22 percent. This was reported by Rowland Evans and Robert Novak in their Chicago Sun Times column on 23 April 1993.

“The first lady calmly told a closed-door senators-only briefing that a value-added tax is indeed being studied to finance health care. As one senior Democratic senator remembered, Mrs. Clinton said the range under consideration runs all the way up to 22 percent.”

She endorsed it back then as a way of paying for her ‘Hillarycare’ plans. Hillary has mentioned that she wants to reform Obamacare if she gets elected, so there is a risk she will revive this idea of obtaining funds for her plans.

Around the world, politicians use VATs as a cash cow to grow the size of government. One of the Left’s long term tax goals is to impose a VAT in the United States.

The fact that she endorsed a VAT is unknown to many but is just one tax hike on the list of many she has proposed.

Payroll Tax Hike – Hillary said she would not veto a payroll tax increase on all Americans should such a bill reach her desk. She said she would set her middle class tax pledge aside. This took place Jan. 12 in Iowa, and it’s on video:

Moderator: “Democrats have introduced a plan that Senator Sanders supports that you’ve come out against because it is funded by a payroll tax. If that were to reach your desk as President, would you veto it in order to make good on your tax pledge?

Hillary Clinton: “No. No.”

Soda Tax Hike – Hillary endorsed a steep new soda pop tax in Philadelphia. This will cost soda purchasers an extra $2.16 per 12-pack. Bernie Sanders called out Hillary’s violation of her middle class tax pledge:

"Frankly, I am very surprised that Secretary Clinton would support this regressive tax after pledging not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000. This proposal clearly violates her pledge," he said.

Sanders also said: “The mechanism here is fairly regressive. And that is, it will be increasing taxes on low-income and working people.”

25% National Gun Tax – Hillary endorsed a new national 25% retail sales tax on guns. “I am all for that,” she told the Senate in 1993. On June 5, 2016 she was asked about her gun tax endorsement by George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week. She acknowledged her gun tax endorsement and did not disavow it, saying she wanted the gun tax money to pay for Hillarycare. If you have any doubts about her strong desire to impose a new gun tax, watch her face in the video.

65% Death Tax – Hillary is now pushing a 65% Death Tax. And her own finances are arranged to shield herself from death taxes.

Capital Gains Tax Hike – Hillary has proposed the most complex and Byzantine capital gains tax regime in American history, with ten different rates. She raises the top capital gains tax rate from 23.8% to 43.4%.

Carbon Tax – Hillary’s campaign has opened the door to a carbon tax if she wins the White House. Democrat Senate Leader Chuck Schumer is also fantasizing about a carbon tax under Hillary, and a carbon tax is part of the official 2016 Democrat party platform.

Many of these proposed tax hikes break her pledge not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $250,000. The VAT tax is another example of her breaking her pledge. A value-added-tax is highly regressive.

Clinton’s overall tax plan raises taxes by $1.4 trillion. Americans for Tax Reform is tracking all of Clinton’s tax hikes at

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Report: Hillary’s State Department Spent $79,000 On Obama Books

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by Laurens ten Cate on Friday, October 28th, 2016, 1:40 PM PERMALINK

$79,000 of taxpayer money was used to buy copies of Barack Obama's books during Hillary Clinton’s tenure in the State Department.

Hillary Clinton's State Department used millions of taxpayer dollars for frivolous expenses and odd, non-State Department essential items such as $630,000 to increase Facebook "likes" on State Department pages and $450,000 to send three comedians to India on a tour called "Make Chai Not War."

These findings were published today in a 21 page in-depth report by the Republican National Committee that is based on findings from the State Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG issued two Management Alerts relating to the State Department's oversight of contracts and grants during Secretary Clinton's tenure.

The OIG reported over $600 million de-facto waste in their reports. The RNC did a random sample analysis of State Department's line item expenditures and they identified over $9 million in expenses that were seen as extremely frivolous and excessive.

Why did the State Department, under Hillary Clinton's lead, spent so much taxpayer money on ridiculous items that are obviously not necessary? One can only guess for reasons why the State Department would need to spent $79,000 on books written by Barrack Obama. At an average of $15 per book that’s more than 5,000 (five thousand!) books. The State Department library must be overflowing.

Or why the Clinton State Department decided that it was good use of taxpayer’s money to spent $5,400,000 on a no-bid contract for crystal stemware. Perhaps to drink the 32 bottles of wine from for which they paid $4,837.

Donald Trump mentioned during the third debate that under Clinton’s tenure $6 billion went missing since 2008. This was most likely based on a memo from the OIG in 2014 where they found that:

“Specifically, over the past 6 years, OIG has identified Department of State (Department) contracts with a total value of more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all.”

Funnily enough Hillary said these claims were debunked (they are not). This new report by the RNC ads more proof to the mountain hill of evidence that the State Department wasted millions of taxpayer dollars under Hillary Clinton’s tenure.

Imagine what kind of shopping she would do as president. 

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Five Tax Takeaways from the Debate

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by John Kartch, Laurens ten Cate on Thursday, October 20th, 2016, 10:46 AM PERMALINK

Five key tax points to consider from last night’s debate:

Hillary is open to a payroll tax on ALL Americans of any income level: Hillary mentioned her support for lifting the payroll tax cap. And back in January at an Iowa forum Hillary said she would sign a payroll tax hike on all Americans of all income levels. She said so in a high-profile venue but the press has not focused on it. Here’s the key video excerpt:

Moderator: “Democrats have introduced a plan [Family Act] that Senator Sanders supports that you’ve come out against because it is funded by a payroll tax. If that were to reach your desk as President, would you veto it in order to make good on your tax pledge?”

Hillary Clinton: “No. No.”

The payroll tax increase she green-lighted would hit all wages under $118,500. And last night, she green-lighted a payroll tax increase on those making above $118,500. Nobody at any income level is safe from her payroll tax desires.

Hillary has already admitted she would violate her $250,000 tax pledge: Hillary said: “I have said repeatedly throughout this campaign: I will not raise taxes on anyone making $250,000 or less.Americans for Tax Reform has debunked this claim multiple times already. Her own words (see payroll tax item above) and actions run contrary to her oft-repeated pledge. She has also endorsed a steep soda tax, which Bernie Sanders called her out on, saying: "Frankly, I am very surprised that Secretary Clinton would support this regressive tax after pledging not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000. This proposal clearly violates her pledge.”

Clinton has also refused to support repeal of the seven tax hikes in Obamacare that directly hit Americans making less than $250,000.

Hillary’s gun taxes are a threat to the Second Amendment: During the discussion on the Supreme Court, Hillary slammed the Second Amendment community. Her hostility runs deep. She is on video strongly endorsing a 25% national gun tax and also endorsed a doubling of the existing federal excise tax on guns in 1993. These taxes are a direct threat to the Second Amendment. Anti-gun Democrats continue the push to impose gun taxes after doing so recently in Seattle and Illinois.

Hillary has no tax reform plan: There is overwhelming consensus among Republicans and Democrats agree that the tax code is way too complicated and that tax reform is required to simplify the IRS tax code. Hillary is an outlier. She has not offered a comprehensive tax reform plan and never speaks about the need for structural tax reform. The only thing she offers is tax hikes, and lots of them.

Hillary continues her dishonesty about the progressive nature of the tax code: Once again during the debate Hillary Clinton mentioned that she wants to: “have the wealthy pay their fair share.” She is once again being dishonest about the current tax structure in the United States of America. The tax code in the US is already steeply progressive. According to recent data from the CBO, the top 20 percent of households pay 88% of federal income taxes and 69% of total federal taxes.

Hillary Clinton continues her disingenuous comments about her tax plan and America’s tax plan. She will raise taxes on all Americans. Tax Policy Center recently released a report admitting that Clinton’s tax plan offers no income tax rate reduction for any American of any income level. No rate reduction for any business or any individual, regardless of size.

Clinton’s overall tax plan raises taxes by $1.4 trillion. Americans for Tax Reform is tracking all of Clinton’s tax hikes at

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Hillary Can’t Stop Stealing Furniture From the American People

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by Laurens ten Cate on Tuesday, October 18th, 2016, 9:40 AM PERMALINK

Furniture owned by the American taxpayer keeps disappearing when Hillary is in charge

The FBI on Monday released a new batch of interview summaries related to the investigation into Clinton’s private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State. These so-called 302s were released under the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) and include some interesting new facts about Hillary Clinton’s scandal marred Secretary of State term.

As shown on page 44 of this FBI document, Hillary and her staff walked out with taxpayer-funded furniture and lamps and took them to her Georgetown home:

“Early in CLINTON’s tenure as Secretary of State, she and her staff were observed removing lamps and furniture from the State Department which were transported to her residence in Washington, D.C.”

This observation comes from an interview held on the September 2, 2015 with a Special Agent of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The agent also mentions that he does not know whether the items were ever returned after Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State ended.

Helping herself to the public’s furniture seems to be a recurring theme in Hillary’s political career. When the Clintons transitioned out of the White House the Washington Post reported that the Clintons took with them nearly $200,000 worth of furniture, artwork, china and rugs.

They received these items initially as gifts to the White House and the donors obviously expected that they remain there. Like Joy Ficks, widower of the manufacturer of a table given during the 1993 White House redecoration project, told the Washington post that “it was meant for the White House, not the Clintons, and she thought it would stay there.”

Then White House chief usher Gary J. Walters told the Washington Post: "As far as we were concerned, they were government property," he said of all the gifts obtained for the $396,000 redecoration project.

The Post also notes:

This week, they [Clinton] agreed to return another set of gifts that had been donated to the White House in earlier years, including six items they had not previously disclosed as having been taken. These included the coffee table, the armoire, the gaming table and the wicker table that Walters has asked about a year ago.

Not long after the Washington Post broke this story the Clintons had to return over $114,000 worth of these gifts. That wasn’t enough for Congress though, they requested an official investigation in this matter and a report was made in 2002 by the Committee on Government Reform.

The Committee found:

The committee also finds that the subcommittee’s investigation revealed startling information about retained gifts, valuation of gifts, missing gifts, legal rulings about gifts, and other findings”


“The fact that so many gifts were undervalued raises many questions. The fact that gifts were misplaced or lost shows sloppy management and maybe more. The fact that U.S. Government property was improperly taken is troubling.”

And lastly, most concerning:

“And, the fact that, after the former First Lady’s election to the U.S. Senate and before she was subject to the Congress’ very strict gift acceptance rules, the former First Family accepted nearly $40,000 in furniture gifts and the First Lady solicited nearly $40,000 in fine china and silver is at the very least disturbing.”

The fact that the Clintons steal everything they can is a recurring issue and lays bare deeper character flaws that show up in their tendency to promote extreme tax policies. As they don’t have a moral issue with taking what’s not theirs, opposition to their proposed tax hikes must seem absurd to them.

McKinsey Report: The Real Size of the Sharing Economy

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by Laurens ten Cate on Wednesday, October 12th, 2016, 5:29 PM PERMALINK

This week a new report by the consulting giant McKinsey was released, and it shows the real size of the gig-economy in the US and the EU. McKinsey estimates that 162 million people in the USA and the EU work in the gig-economy, this is about 20% to 30% of the workforce.

The impact of this report might be bigger than you'd think at first. Not only does it prove what people have been seeing over the past few years, namely that traditional job formats are changing very rapidly, but also that the people that are working in these new type of prefer the flexibility afforded by being their own boss.

They find that for these 162 million people 70%, or 113 million people, working in the gig-economy is their preferred choice. This group can then be divided into two subgroups based on whether for them it is primary income or supplemental income. They call these groups 'Free Agents' and 'Casual Earners'.

Next to that McKinsey finds that another 16%, or 26 million people, work in the gig-economy because they are financially strapped. Basically all these companies allow people to do some part-time extra earning with incredible flexibility. Allowing those in financial need to choose a few hours every week to earn a little bit extra, completely on their terms.

Research by Arun Sundararajan and Samuel Fraiberger from New York University and Harvard University respectively from October 2015 figured this effect out already. They found that: “Peer-to-peer rental marketplaces have a disproportionately positive effect on lower-income consumers across almost every measure.” They also say that the Sharing Economy is: “a force that democratizes access to a higher standard of living.”

McKinsey's report adds to the growing list of evidence of the positive effect the sharing economy has on our society. Especially for those on the lower end of the earnings spectrum the sharing economy has a huge positive effect. 

More from Americans for Tax Reform