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Jul 31

Government scrambles to protect its vast stupid regulatory schemes from the threat of Uber

government, law enforcement, criminals

To operate a taxi cab business is to navigate through one of the most over-regulated industries in the world.

But the actual act of cab-driving is relatively simple, and poor people of limited means should be able to participate and enter the market.

This disconnect is caused by decades of stupid overregulation of the taxi industry. Legislators, mayors and city councilmen everywhere have given rich crony cab companies a wonderful gift: they license and regulate taxi companies as “public utilities” and impose vast, stupid regulations on competitors: new cab companies must get “certificates of need” (often from boards of cab companies that do not like competition); fees and prices are set and imposed by government; routes must be government-approved, etc.

Such stupid regulation leaves customers with high-priced, unclean and unsafe (but government approved) taxi service. It is likely that hundreds of people have been killed or arrested for DUI because the U.S. taxi industry is so overpriced and overregulated.

Recently, people have realized they can create “an app for that.” Companies like Uber and Lyft have devised mechanisms allowing people to summon a friendly driver to their curbs using simple I-phone or other Smart devices. Drivers sign up to be available to give rides to passengers, frequently making a few bucks on the side.

Uber and Lyft drivers (and their cars) are often smarter, cleaner, neater and safer than traditional government-approved cabs.

But the good-old-boy cab companies (and their powermad politicians) are fighting back against this new feeling of freedom.

Here is a story about how the mayor of New York City is trying to stop the “threat” of free-market competition.