May 18, 2016


Austin is home to the University of Texas at Austin, countless startups, and the widely popular South by Southwest festival. But even though the city is commonly referred to as the tech capital of the South, as of May 9 Uber and Lyft no longer operate there.

Why can residents of an innovative city that was among the seven finalists for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s $50 million Smart City Challenge Grant no longer access the leading ridesharing services? The answer lies in regressive regulatory overreach that shows how even the country’s most progressive cities are often still hostile to innovation.

The above article in US & News World Report is written by Jared Meyer, a member of the conservative/libertarian Manhattan Institute, so I can only assume he’s being ironic and that he knows the true meaning of “Progressivism.”  As John Daniel Davidson writes at the Federalist,How Austin Drove Out Uber And Lyft — Uber and Lyft were driven out of Austin under the guise of ‘consumer safety,’ a textbook example of how government-backed cartels force out competition:”

It shouldn’t have to be spelled out, but of course Uber and Lyft drivers own their own vehicles, unlike cabbies, which means they already have to clear several regulatory hurdles like having a driver’s license, vehicle insurance, and current inspection and state registration. Creating a separate license for them would be redundant, just like most occupational licensing schemes are. If you’re street-legal, then you should be able to give anyone a ride, whether it’s a friend or someone who hailed you on an app. If there’s one thing we shouldn’t try to recreate for a new generation of app-based, on-demand companies like Uber and Lyft, it’s the archaic, collusive model of the taxi cab business—especially not under the pretense that doing so is in the best interests of the drivers, the riders, or the public.

When it comes to regulation, “Progressivism” invariably means more and more of it. Perhaps someday US News & World Report will explore the P-word’s real history and what it means in real-life practice.

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