The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
When my work was vastly hit by the economic downturn in 2009, I found myself struggling to pay my mortgage. It was hard to get to sleep at night trying to trust God for the mortgage money. The option of renting individual rooms out to long-term roommates wouldn't bring in the high amount of money that I needed to keep from going into foreclosure, or keep me from having to dip so deeply into my retirement that I would have to eat cat food when I'm old. I have now been an Airbnb host for over 5 years. I LOVE IT. The sharing economy is warm, friendly, and financially wise. I claim my earnings on my taxes every year, which means the feds get their "portion" too. I have been able to purchase new windows for my home, adding to the comfort and financial stability of my heating and cooling bills (which means the window manufacturer, installer and salesperson could pay their bills and taxes too!). I have also managed to alleviate the huge loss in value that I sustained by purchasing this house in 2005 and losing more than 35% of its value as the economy tanked. Without Airbnb, I would realistically have a foreclosure or short sale on my hands, be left with ruined credit (preventing me from being a healthy US consumer}, and have a huge amount of living situation stress to deal with on a daily basis. Instead, thanks to Airbnb, I have a lot of joy from the wonderful people I get to meet and bless with a clean and happy place to stay. A number of them have, in turn, become valued friends and business contacts for me in my day job as a Realtor. I have never been forced to ask for a federal hand out or HARP loan from the government to make ends meet either!! That helps EVERYBODY! I hope you will think hard about pressing down on such avenues as a tax base or source of control. We faithful and honest "little people" will be hurt immensely if/when you do.