President-elect Trump has not talked much about the gig economy.
But based on what we know today, it's likely the Trump administration is going to be very gig economy friendly.
The one area where we have details is tax policy.
President-elect Trump's tax plan calls for a flat 15% tax rate on business income.
This includes "pass-through" business income earned by an individual from an S corporation, LLC, partnership, or sole-proprietorship and reported on individual tax returns.
This means the top rate for business income reported by almost all independent workers/self-employed would drop from 39.6% to 15% under the Trump plan.
The 15% business income rate would also be well below the 33% individual top rate in the Trump tax plan and lower than even the 25% middle tax rate.
This would be a major tax reduction for independent workers and small business owners with relatively high taxable income - say $75,000 or more for those filing jointly and $50,000 or more for those filing as individuals.
Those with low income could see a slight tax increase under Trump's plan.
If enacted, a shift of this magnitude in the tax code would provide a strong incentive for highly skilled employees to become independent workers. It would also improve the after tax profitability of many small businesses.
Of course there's no guarantee this will happen. Also, Trump's plan calls for the elimination of many business deductions. This would reduce the tax drop benefits for some independent workers and many small businesses. But the net effect would still be positive.
Trump has also commented on Airbnb.
According to the Yahoo Finance article How the gig economy will fare under President Trump, the president-elect said he in favor of less regulation. Key quote:
“[Airbnb] is a very interesting thing that’s going on. A lot of people do like it. A lot of people are happy with it. A lot of landlords are liking it a lot. And then of course there are some groups, hotels in particular, that aren’t,” he said.
“Whether or not [Airbnb] should be regulated — I don’t like regulation. I’m not a person that believes too much in regulation. I think the concept is great for some people. I think it’s probably going to be successful over a period of time. I will not let it happen [in my buildings], but sometimes even if you say it can’t happen, you never know what people are doing behind your back.”
More telling is the Heritage Foundation's views on the gig economy.
The Heritage Foundation will likely be one of the key DC think tanks influencing the Trump administration.
Their report The Rise of the “Gig” Economy: Good for Workers and Consumers is very pro gig economy. Key quote from the report's conclusion:
"While most workers prefer regular 9-to-5 jobs with benefits, a substantial minority value flexibility more. The gig economy attracts these workers and meets their needs ... Congress should ensure that litigation does not stifle the gig economy. It should also create equal benefits between the self-employed and formal employees. The tax code should not penalize Americans who work for themselves."
This is pretty clear support of the gig economy, as well as a strong call for portable benefits and tax code changes that help independent workers.
We also expect Trump appointees at the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board will be much more sympathetic to the gig economy.
Both of these have been attacked by conservative groups for regulatory overreach during the Obama administration. Given Trump's and the Republican party's dislike of regulation, there will likely be a reduction in anti-gig economy efforts by these agencies.
To say Silicon Valley and the tech industry are generally not happy with the election of Donald Trump is a very big understatement.
But despite the tech industry's antipathy towards a Trump administration, the gig economy companies will likely find his policies to be very industry friendly.