The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I was a former franchise owner of EconoLodge, one of Choice Hotel International's hotel lines. I was retired from my job as Treasury Manager in 2006 when I decided to try to explore a business opportunity in Kerrville, Texas that I desired as a second career option, and hopefully enjoy my retirement. The economic debacle in 2008 virtually wiped that "dream", and even almost thought of committing suicide as my investments including my retirement funds I placed into the business beginning in 2007, were wiped as well. Occupancy rates as well as property values went south I could no longer sustain operating the business with no more credit lines to tap. Fortunately, my house in New Jersey was spared, and rightfully so, we came to New Jersey to start a new leaf again. One thing was certain and dissappointing--the business support that I needed most from my franchisors, and the banks, were nowhere in sight. I was virtually a victim of greed from these institutions, including from people that had presented themselves to help, but were vultures in fact. I thank God for giving another chance in life. We are still currently financially struggling. I am 61 years old, and hopefully start to draw from my SS benefits. My wife is the sole family provider of 4 in the family. Our mortgage is currently under loan modification, as my wife's monthly income could barely meet the payment including household expenses. AirBnB came in very timely now that we have additional income to fill in the gap. The support I get from this sharing platform is enormous, and empowering to small "people" like us. Our government, both in the local and national level, must recognize the fact, that members in this sharing plafform are decent people with great responsibilities to uphold. It is about time the government should recognize that sharing platform such as AirBnB is a legitimate form of business and is here to stay, and is the future. The federal government must protect these members from local agencies that harass its citizens of local codes that prohibit such members to open their residences to other members. Big businesses that oppose this idea should not be allowed to break the arms of small "enterpreneurs" like us in our efforts to meet our financial ends.