public affairs and policy

Support for the new work model has come together swiftly, though, in surprising quarters. On the second day of the most recent Democratic National Convention, in July, members of a four-person panel suggested that gigging life was not only sustainable but the embodiment of today’s progressive values.

It’s all about democratizing capitalism,” Chris Lehane, a strategist in the Clinton administration and now Airbnb’s head of global policy and public affairs, said during the proceedings, in Philadelphia. David Plouffe, who had managed Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign before he joined Uber, explained, “Politically, you’re seeing a large contingent of the Obama coalition demanding the sharing economy.”

Instead of being pawns in the games of industry, the panelists thought, working Americans could thrive by hiring out skills they wanted, and putting money in the pockets of peers who had done the same. The power to control one’s working life would return, grassroots style, to the people.

The basis for such confidence was largely demographic. Though statistics about gigging work are few, and general at best, a Pew study last year found that seventy-two percent of American adults had used one of eleven sharing or on-demand services, and that a third of people under forty-five had used four or more.

“To ‘speak millennial,’ you ought to be talking about the sharing economy, because it is core and central to their economic future,” Lehane declared, and many of his political kin have agreed. No other commercial field has lately drawn as deeply from the Democratic brain trust. Yet what does democratized capitalism actually promise a politically unsettled generation? Who are its beneficiaries?

“The Gig Is Up: Many liberals have embraced the sharing economy. But can they survive it?,” The New Yorker, May 2017.

China Abandons One-Child Policy

Today, China abandoned its 35 year-old one-child policy. 

Based on the now debunked threat of overpopulation that was popularized by Stanford University scholar Paul Ehrlich, the communist government subjected the Chinese people to forced sterilizations and abortions. Many new-born babies were either killed or left to die. 

Today, the Chinese population suffers from a dangerous gender imbalance that favors boys over girls at a ratio of 117:100, and a demographic implosion that threatens future economic growth and prosperity. 

The one-child policy is a reminder of what happens when governments are allowed to interfere in deeply personal decisions of individual citizens and their families.

Verizon's response to the FCC's decision to regulate the internet using a law from 1934 is perfect

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission decided on a 3-2 party-line vote to begin regulating the internet using a law from the 1930s.  The law is the Communications Act of 1934, specifically Title II, and it gives the FCC broad power to tax, censor, and disrupt the free enterprise of the internet.  

Verizon responded to the news in appropriate fashion, using morse code, the form of communication that the original 1934 law would have been regulating. 

Here’s the translation:

Today (Feb. 26) the Federal Communications Commissionapproved an order urged by President Obama that imposes rules on broadband Internet services that were written in the era of the steam locomotive and the telegraph. The following statement should be attributed to Michael E. Glover, Verizon senior vice president, public policy and government affairs: 

“Today’s decision by the FCC to encumber broadband Internet services with badly antiquated regulations is a radical step that presages a time of uncertainty for consumers, innovators and investors. Over the past two decades a bipartisan, light- touch policy approach unleashed unprecedented investment and enabled the broadband Internet age consumers now enjoy. 

“The FCC today chose to change the way the commercial Internet hasoperated since its creation. Changing a platform that has been so successful should be done, if at all, only after careful policy analysis, full transparency, and by the legislature, which is constitutionally charged with determining policy. As a result, it is likely that history will judge today’s actions as misguided. “

The FCC’s move is especially regrettable because it is wholly unnecessary. The FCC had targeted tools available to preserve an open Internet, but instead chose to use this order as an excuse to adopt 300- plus pages of broad and open- ended regulatory arcana that will have unintended negative consequences for consumers and various parts of the Internet ecosystem for years to come. 

“What has been and will remain constant before, during and after the existence of any regulations is Verizon’s commitment to an open Internet that provides consumers with competitive broadband choices and Internet access when, where, and how they want.”