Presidential Candidates’ Views on the Gig Economy | DCR Workforce Blog

Presidential Candidates’ Views on the Gig Economy

Contingent work has finally arrived! Two recent developments affirm this with an emphasis that no industry insider can ever aspire to!

  1. The decision to officially take a reckoning of the gig economy, and
  2. The way the candidates for the upcoming presidential elections are vocal about their take on this economy and what they propose to do if they come into power.

Urged on by Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), who is probably the most vocal of politicians and an outspoken advocate for exploring policies that better address freelancers’ needs, the presidential candidates are taking a keener look at the issue. Let’s take a look at who they are, as on today and read about what they said on different occasions about this radically changed economy.


Hillary Clinton Bernie Sanders


Ted Cruz
John Kasich
Donald Trump

Interestingly some of them may have left the arena, but not before they expressed their views on and plans for the “gig economy.”

Hillary Clinton: One of the most vocal among the candidates when talking about the gig economy – she believes that the gig economy is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation, but it’s also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future. She fully intends to continue cracking down on bosses misclassifying workers as contractors.

Clinton wants to encourage innovation while ensuring that workers are protected through regulatory measures. She’s concerned with on-demand startups who may be misclassifying workers as contractors. She wants wages to be raised, workplaces to be protected and “solid labor practices” followed. She also has plans to scrutinize the breaking down of the relationship between employee and worker. Clinton has also come out clearly in favor of fair pay and fair scheduling, paid family leave and earned sick days, as well as child care as essential to our competitiveness and growth.

Bernie Sanders: Sanders refers to himself as a democratic socialist which basically means he emphasizes human needs and not private profit. This must pit him against the gig economy, which operates according to no known rules and definitely exercises no social responsibility.

Ted Cruz: Cruz believes in minimal government intervention and champions the on-demand platforms as disruptive application which are needed.  He also plans to ignite growth through a tax plan which veers away from the current payroll tax system, while keeping Social Security and Medicare fully funded. He proposes to replace the current corporate income tax with a simple Business Flat Tax at 16%. He wants to see that government regulations do not fetter down the creativity of entrepreneurs but gives no clarity on his plans for independent contractors and their freelance gigs.

Donald Trump: Trump proposes a 15% corporate tax, which encompasses the “business entities known as independent contractors.”

John Kasich: Like other Republican nominees, Kasich looks upon Uber as a symbol of all that is right with capitalism and legislated, as Governor of Ohio, to setting state-wide regulations on ride-sharing services charging for permissions and specifying applicable insurance levels for the drivers and pre-empting further regulation of by local governments. He also wants to “Uberize the federal government” itself, though no one really knows what he means by that.

Marco Rubio: Though not in the race anymore, he had his own take on the gig economy. He was all for an economy driven by tech startups and innovation and wanted the freelancing platforms to remain unburdened by regulations. Should he become president, Rubio vowed to cap the regulations government can impose on businesses and proposed to ask government agencies to analyze how proposed regulations would affect competition and innovation. He also wanted to create dependent contractors – somewhere, in between “independent contractor” and “employee” – to better reflect the realities of today’s economy.

Jeb Bush: Recognized the existence of the gig economy by taking an Uber ride before leaving the race!

Most freelancers express themselves as highly concerned about the following aspects of their quick gigs and their workplace reality:

  • The high cost of health care
  • The unpredictability of income
  • Their (in)ability to save for retirement
  • High levels of taxation on income
  • Difficulty in finding more work, clients or projects
  • Late or non-payment by clients

A recent survey estimates the number of people that do at least some independent or temp work at 53.7 million, or 34% of the workforce. That signifies a huge segment of the electorate and lobbies for their interests, as nothing else can! The gig economy offers no benefits such as retirement savings, disability insurance or unemployment benefits. Will these new administrators institute a system of portable benefits which employers could pay into based on the number of hours a freelancer works? Will they empower the freelancers to get into the driving seat, with regard to their working conditions and retirement planning?

Which of the candidates do you think will be favored?

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.