Not long ago on Townhall.com I briefly told the tale of two journalists, both arrested for taking pictures at a public meeting. This stunk of tyranny, to me. “Government cameras on citizens? Dangerous. Citizen lenses trained on government? Essential safety devices.”
What I didn’t mention was that the public meeting was for the District of Columbia’s taxi-cab commission. The commission oversees what was once a remarkably free system of taxis, but has become more regulated while also earning a reputation for corruption. Pete Tucker, one of the reporters, was on the scene to cover a breaking story related to that corruption: The commission’s proposal to regulate the industry using the over-used and idiotic “medallion” system, familiar to New Yorkers and far too many other city-dwellers.
Well, Tucker’s work has reached the completion stage, now, with Reason TV’s video about the medallion system up on YouTube. It’s an eye-opener.
The gist of the piece may be familiar: Government regulation helps bigger businesses at the expense of smaller ones . . . as well as consumers. You may have read similar tales from economists such as those in the French Liberal School (Frédéric Bastiat), the Chicago School (Milton Friedman), the Austrian School (Ludwig von Mises), and Public Choice (James Buchanan). Courtesy of the Reason video, now you can see ordinary citizens making the case. One said, “We know tyranny when we smell it.”
The stench is also of corruption, which has driven the politics behind the new regulatory scheme.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.