Monday, August 6, 2012

The Growing Police State: DC Cronyism Edition

Living in Texas, and not directly in an urban center, I have my own car.  I love having my own car.  I don't have to wait for a train or a bus; I don't have to call a cab.  I can go wherever I want (within reason) whenever I want (within reason).  That said, I love the concept of the Uber limousine/sedan service.

For those not familiar, Uber works essentially as a dispatcher clearinghouse.  Someone who wishes to use the service makes a request (through a smart-phone app, I believe), and Uber farms out that request to the on-call car service which can most expeditiously pick up the rider.  The service is more expensive than traditional cab service, but the convenience is greater.  It's also less costly than many on-call services.  So it tends to be a win-win for the rider and the driver.

That is, unless the driver is a taxi driver.  In the areas where Uber is most likely to operate, they represent competition to the taxi services.  Taxi companies understandably dislike the added competition.  In most cases there is little, if anything, they can do except knuckle-down and compete.  Most places are not Washington, D.C.

After a price-floor initiative was scuttled, largely because of some citizen involvement and activism to prevent the highly-corrupt DC City Council from enacting it, the Feudal Lords on the Council have not given up on protecting their Vassals in the taxi services.  Now, they have passed an ordinance that explicitly places Uber under the authority of the DC Taxicab Commission.  Included in the ordinance is an amendment to stay the order until January 1, but DC has officially placed one company at the mercy of its competitors.

That is not "regulation," it's extortion.  It's not "for the people" it's for politicians' pocketbooks.  And it is another example of what is wrong with the rampant Police State.

In a free society, where each person was responsible for him- or herself, such ordinances would never pass.  Everyone would understand that more competition is virtually always a good thing, and that government intervention should be rare and as limited as possible.  Instead, the people of DC, who must rely on Nanny Government for their very safety, since they are de facto not allowed to own guns, simply trust that Marion Barry has their best interests at heart.

I hold out little hope for DC.  Corruption clings to it like a barnacle, and no one seems to be willing to scrape the hull.  However, it is a stark reminder that we must keep our own city governments in check, and must prevent them from enacting similar commerce killing initiatives. 

1 comment:

  1. I think that when anyone gets elected and gets their DC office, an iniation ceremony is held for these newbies. I think it must be a dark ceremony because all logic is removed from their brains...except for the few who have the 'exceptional' gene.