I was out at the Starbucks in the Montrose area close to KPFT 90.1 FM preparing for my 3:00 PM Politics Done Right show. I had my headset blasting Alessia Cara -- I love that young woman's music -- and took it off momentarily and overheard a man talking about driving for Uber and their IPO. Well, you know me. I asked him for an interview. He was not kind to the company.
Steven Bennett pulled no punches on Uber
It is clear that Mr. Bennett was not just venting. It was also evident that he was not going to allow Uber to hoodwink him. Mr. Bennett understands the concept of real expenses, business models, and much more. Most importantly, he correctly read the tea leaves.
CNBC and other business networks like to sell the gig economy as a panacea for those looking for labor independence, freedom, and economic success. Unfortunately, that model has the same indentured servitude flaw of capitalism.
The people with the pricing power aren't the drivers but the masters who control the software that directs the drivers. They decide who will have the honor to have them command the drivers pay and indirectly much more.
Mr. Bennett said he used a spreadsheet to accurate reflect his income and expenses (fuel, maintenance, and more). By the times it was all over, he was making less than what one would make on a minimum wage job. He made about $3.00/hour.
And that is how the pilfer works. The Gig Economy gives one the semblance of control. The top line payments may seem fine. But what occurs is companies offload much of the expenses that they would typically be responsible for as employee expenses to the individual driver. All of that now comes out of the driver's top line.
Uber knows that as more drivers start figuring out that the business model is exploitative, they will start doing what Mr. Bennett did.
"Uber is working on driver-less cars now," Bennett told me after the interview. "What does that mean for the drivers. They don't care about us."
The Plutocracy continuously sucks all they can get out of workers. They don't want to pay the taxes that will create essential programs like Medicare for All, family-leave, pay-it-forward college, and banker-politician-fraud induced student loan forgiveness, that would make their exploitative model that more bearable.
America is waking up! All we can hope is that it is not too late.
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