Friday 2013-11-01

Stepped into a church I passed along the way
Well, I got down on my knees and I pretended to pray
You know the preacher likes the cold, he knows I'm gonna stay
California dreaming on such a winters day
-- California Dreaming by The Mamas & The Papas

Incentives matter. With the US median real wage stagnating, people are looking to economize, which benefits startups like Air BnB. However, their profit also seem like lost sales to hotel owners who are also feeling the hurt of a slow economy. So, the hoteliers complain to their good friends in government about all the illegal competition.

Since the author below believes the "sharing economy" isn't visible in numbers, then it's also not visible in tax revenues. Which means that government isn't a natural ally, so when big tax-paying hotel corporations start complaining, regulatory decisions start going against Air BnB.

Back in August, Business Insider published a story warning that the sharing economy and the rise of renters could have “catastrophic ripple effects.” A market strategy firm called the ConvergEX Group had been circulating a memo outlining how demand for new cars and houses would drop, with a potential effect on the consumer psyche “similar to that of the Depression.”
-- The Rise of Invisible Work

Government in the US is sized for an economy inflated by debt.1 Any massive pay-down in debt caused by "Depression era thinking" would shrink the economy's tax-base, and necessitate politically painful choices about how much each budget item should be cut. Few politicians want to do that, so government policies target support for current (or higher) debt and tax-revenue levels.

Except that all us citizens are trying to go in the other direction.

1. Tyler Cowen said something similar in TheGreatStagnation. He just didn't explicitly call out the direct tension between government and the governed with regards towards future paths.