Episode 87

Obama on Democrats, Gig Workers, Licensing Laws

Ravi and Rikki start by discussing former President Obama’s appearance on Pod Save America and why his remarks on inclusivity seem so novel in today’s Democratic landscape. Then the hosts turn to a specific kind of deregulation that both Democrats and Republicans might be able to get behind: cutting back the red tape around licensing laws. Finally, Ravi and Rikki explain the Biden administration’s recent move to reclassify gig workers and debate whether the rationale adds up. 


Ravi reminisces on a brand of 2008-era Democratic politics that Rikki barely recognizes as they go through Obama’s recent comments on “buzzkill” Dems and the party’s failure to bring people together. 

Rikki explains how the arrest of a cross-state roofer helping rebuild after Hurricane Ian exposes glaring problems in America’s licensing laws.

Finally, Ravi unpacks Biden’s push, from the policy to the politics, to reclassify gig workers as full-time employees.

Obama on Democrats

Obama’s Advice for Democrats.” (Pod Save America, 10/15)
A Lost Manuscript Shows the Fire Barack Obama Couldn’t Reveal on the Campaign Trail (New York Times Opinion, 10/7)
Republicans Gain Edge as Voters Worry About Economy, Times/Siena Poll Finds (NYT, 10/17)

Biden & Gig Workers

Biden Proposal Could Lead to Employee Status for Gig Workers (NYT, 10/11)
Reddit thread responding to article (10/11)
The coming fight over the gig economy, explained (Vox, 10/12)
A Middle Ground Between Contract Worker and Employee (NYT, 12/10/2015)
Biden Goes After Gig Workers (WSJ Editorial Board, 10/11)
Benenson Strategy Group Poll (5/13/2021)
Unequal America: Ten insights on the state of economic opportunity (McKinsey & Company, 5/16/2021)
23 Essential Gig Economy Statistics (Zippia, 9/22)

Licensing Laws

Texas Roofer Arrested in Florida for Helping Hurricane Victims (Reason, 10/12)
Roofing Contractor Arrested for Conducting Business Without a Florida License (Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, 10/7)
Occupational Licensing Hurts the Vulnerable Without Helping the Public (Reason, 3/21)
License To Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing (Institute for Justice, 11/13/2017)
More and More Jobs Today Require a License. That’s Good for Some Workers, but Not Always for Consumers. (Harvard Business Review, 4/26/2018)