In Texas’s progressive enclave of Austin, the government has regulated Uber and Lyft out of the city.
Massachusset’s uber*-progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren cautions that the “much-touted virtues”of the “gig economy” that these services represent are actually dark signs of the times, providing workers a false “step in a losing effort to build some economic security in a world where all the benefits are floating to the top 10 percent.”
Vermont’s Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, is also no fan. Why? These services are not regulated.
Sanders’s charge that these person-to-person (P2P) ride-sharing services are “unregulated” is of course the opposite of the truth. They are self-regulated for safety and efficiency in ways that taxi services never were. How much extra value did governments add, with their regulations of the taxicab industry? They just reduced competition and made cabs more expensive.
P2P online cooperation is revolutionary. And “progressives” are stuck in the past, itching to suppress that revolution. “Initially,” writes Jared Meyer in the July issue of Reason, “hostility mostly came from state and municipal governments, at the behest of local special interests.” But as the services became more popular, opposition shifted. To the national Democrats like Sanders, Warren and . . . Hillary Clinton. She promises to “crack down on bosses who exploit employees by misclassifying them as contractors or even steal their wages.”
Par for the course: the Internet provides more opportunity than ever, and all some progressives see are the old socialist fears of “exploitation” and “greed” . . . while they greedily suck up to unions and special interests.
The bright side, Meyer argues, is that they are on the losing side.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
*I guess the pun here is intended. Or not. You choose, P2P style.