The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
Sharing Economy (Housing). I believe the sharing economy is one the most important products of the information age. It has allow me, a regular citizen to think and act as a small business owner by trying to compete with my peers for customer dollars and having to learn and pay the taxes I owe to my city for my business activity.(I pay in average quarterly taxes of $1500). I also generate employment for a single mother, a friend that can not afford child care and it is able to come and clean my guest bedroom and bathroom while literally being able to bring her child to work. This person used to be in food stamps and through my referrals got enough work from other hosts to the point that she does not qualifies for government help any more. I paid her last year $2100 for cleaning. She also moved on from cleaning and now works at a restaurant owned by one of the hosts that she used to clean for. As far as health risks of the sharing economy I believe they are very low because feedback and rating in the share economy is an integral part of the community. We all have a reputation to protect. It only takes one bad review to affect your business negatively so both, guests and hosts work very hard to maintain clean places. As a host I clean or inspect the cleaning done at my guest's space better that my own place. All my linens are white so they are washed and bleached for disinfection every time. We wipe clean everything, even the top door edge, something it never occurred to me to clean in my own house. Demographics: 80% of my guests are retired parents of grandparents visiting a newborn or for a weeding of a family member that usually leaves less no more than a mile away. They walk to their family homes or use public transportation. They boost the local economy of family owned restaurants and shops by asking for tips of where to eat near by. Housing Affordability: In areas of the country like Seattle with unaffordable housing I know of a couple of friends that were able to afford their houses by renting one empty room. When the economy went south I know of hosts that tell me the only reason they are not homeless today was because of renting there house in airbnb for extra income that allowed them to keep making mortgage payments. In my case all the money I have earned goes back into house improvement that generates added employment and business for Lowes and Home Depot. Conclusions: Please be smart when considering legislation. The sharing economy has allowed me, a regular citizen, an immigrant, to increase the efficiency of use of a finite resource (land) without increasing my carbon foot-print very much. It generates many hours of employment for traditionally unemployable people while generating the same tax revenue that the big guys like hotels generate. We offer safer lodging and help combat illegal activities like sex trafficking or prostitution because we micromanage our businesses, we know what is happening inside our homes. Thanks for the opportunity!!