The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #00520

Submission Number:
Melinda Roughton
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
Dear Sirs: My husband and I are in our late 50's and have worked and payed taxes for the last 35+ years. We are currently repaying law school debts for one of our sons and have another in college. My husband has been employed at the same place for the last 30 years, but I lost my job in the down economy. Needless to say it is difficult for a woman in her late 50's to find a new job. Before the economy crashed, we bought a little in St. Simons Georgia for our future retirement. Once the crash hit, we had to sell our primary residence in Atlanta to pay the mortgage on our future retirement home, and we now rent a modest place in Atlanta so my husband can continue to work until retirement. The ability to rent our little house on AirBNB has been life-saving for us. The AirBNB website allows us to carefully vet our guests, and the income from the rentals allows us to pay our bills, including college tuition and college debts, without going into debt, despite my inability to get a new job at 59. The new sharing economy is the future, and trying to restrict it is like trying to stop progress. It is capitalism at its best....allowing individuals and families to market their assets to make ends meet. I can't imagine why there would be restrictions or a shutdown on something that encourages free enterprise. In fact, the only reason I can see for restricting a model like AirBNB is if the hospitality and hotel industry lobbyists use their weight and money to unduly influence legislators and government agencies. They don't want the competition, which tells you they may need to re-think the way that they do business in the 21st century. I don't know what we would do if we could not continue to rent our house (which by the way, we pay further taxes on from the modest income we make). Renting on AirBNB instead of a hotel is a choice every consumer should be able to make. The hotel industry should be prepared to face this competition like any other....with improved amenities and rates. If they don't they should suffer the consequences like any other industry does. Stopping a model like AirBnb is regressive and unfair in our Democratic society. Sincerely, Melinda Roughton