WASHINGTON — The explosion of startups such as Uber and TaskRabbit is creating a new army of workers, many of them from the Millennial generation, who cobble together freelance gigs and contract work to earn a living — and that is raising new questions for policymakers.
“This next generation, where they are in the ‘sharing economy,’ the Millennials, 80 million strong, they have no safety net at all: no unemployment, no workman’s comp, no disability,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., told Capital Download. “Somebody may be doing very, very well as an Etsy seller and Airbnb user and Uber driver and part-time consultant … but if they hit a rough patch, they have nothing to stop them until they fall, frankly, back upon government assistance programs.”
Warner, who earned a fortune as a tech entrepreneur before entering politics, hopes to spark a debate in Washington and among the 2016 presidential contenders about how to respond to the complications of the new American workforce. He discussed his ideas on USA TODAY’s weekly video newsmaker series Wednesday and is slated to deliver a speech about it at the New America Foundation on Thursday morning.