The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #00647

Submission Number:
Wendy L. Kaysing
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
"Rents are increasing at over 3 percent per year while average hourly earnings are increasing slightly below 2 percent. This gap has been going on now for three years. This is unsustainable of course but in the mean time, more money is flowing into the new feudal landlords...In California we have 4.1 million people of food stamps (up from 2.6 million in 2009)...Having rents grow at a faster rate than wages is problematic. This split is causing a pull on GDP lower because it suppresses household formation, takes a direct hit to consumer spending, and also constricts labor mobility. This is simply unsustainable but for the mean time, more money is being diverted in the form of rents." (from Dr. Housing Bubble) So then just how DOES a home owner pay for his rent (or mortgage), especially when WAGES do not keep pace with RENTS?? One way is Airbnb--what a lifesaver for me and millions of other cash strapped households. When I see a homeless older woman pushing a cart down Hollywood Boulevard I say, "There but by the grace of God and Airbnb go I". As a newly retired person with very small savings and only $435 per month social security, I could not afford to live ANYWHERE but the street, IF NOT FOR AIRBNB. My Airbnb guests are very happy to stay in my very small apartment--a place that is clean, safe, and convenient. I am happy to provide them a place for a few nights for a very reasonable amount of money. I provide a bed, clean sheets, towels, and toast and tea in the morning. I also provide my guests with information about the community--where to shop, where to eat, how to get places and avoid traffic, what attractions not to miss, etc. They feel safe, I feel safe (because they are verified by Airbnb), and I can pay my rent, which is very expensive in Los Angeles. I thought of moving but find it's getting expensive in other cities around the country as well (thank you landlords). Therefore I am better off staying here where I can attract guests from around the world, who are happy to pay a small sum to stay in an otherwise costly city. It is a win win situation all the way around...the sad part though is that there is very little affordable housing anywhere in the country and relative few jobs to pay for it, even if it did exist! So thank you to all the policy makers who created the necessity of HAVING an Airbnb come to our rescue!I am talking about the policies that have allowed American jobs to be sent overseas, and allowed the mortgage crisis to exist!! (another cause of high rents--see Dr. Housing Bubble for more on this) Therefore--let Airbnb BE--so that we of little incomes can have a roof over our heads and not be among the growing homeless population--16% higher than last year in Los Angeles county alone--note that FAMILIES are the fastest growing group of homeless people! Great! So thanks again for the policies that have contributed to the rapidly growing homeless population--so if you want to see less homeless, I suggest you wholeheartedly support AIRBNB and other similar listing services that allow American citizens to stay in their homes. oh, and while I have your attention (do I?) please build places where older homeless people can live safely and comfortably. "Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.~Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973), My Several Worlds [1954]. PHOTOS: One of my many happy Airbnb guests enjoying my small living room (with a convertible sofa bed). Two young couples--one from China and the other from England enjoying the Venice Boardwalk for a few days, while staying (inexpensively) with me through Airbnb.