When the politicians in our nation’s capital aren’t the butt of jokes for, say, not paying their taxes or behaving scandalously, well, they’re causing even more trouble.
One of their favorite areas of official mischief-making is assaulting — er, regulating — the city’s taxicabs. Last week a number of cabbies went on strike, protesting a proposed system, not dissimilar to New York’s taxi regime. The new scheme would require cab owners to buy a very expensive medallion to operate each cab.
Larry Frankel, one of the strikers quoted in the Washington Post, said, “We are here to protect our rights as owners and operators.”
The protesting cabbies object that this is not just another expensive regulation. This one threatens their very livelihoods. It’s almost designed to favor large companies over driver-owned cabs.
Which seems almost universally the case with regulations: They protect big interests from competition.
District Council member Jim Graham, who introduced the bill to “medallionize” taxicabs, said he feared the city would be “overrun” with taxis. There are 8,000 already, with 300 adding on every month.
Why, some day there could be more cabs than politicians and lobbyists combined! Imagine the disaster: Folks getting across town too easily or, worse yet, too inexpensively.
Just another bit of ill-thought-out regulation. It is par for the course in our nation’s capital. It makes you proud to . . . live somewhere else.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
News Flash: After this commentary was recorded, the FBI arrested a top aide to DC City Councilman Jim Graham on charges of accepting cash bribes and free trips in exchange for pushing the taxicab legislation discussed here. (See this news coverage and this article in the Washington Post.)