Three stories about regulations purported to protect consumers . . . that hurt consumers.
- In Minnesota, a classic case of cartel protectionism as the owner of a funeral home owner fights the needless regulations that help others in his business gouge grieving families. My favorite part of this story is when the head of the rent-seeking trade organization uses the phrase “entrepreneurial dynamo” . . . as an insult! He’s hard working! He’s winning customers by charging them less money! He must be stopped!
- Fox News looks at the infuriating regulatory barriers innovative tech start-ups are facing. The “Uber” ap, for example, lets you summon a black cab from your phone, track how far it is away, and pay through your phone. Great, right? Not according to the historically corrupt (allegedly!), terrified-of-transparency D.C. Cab Commission: “They’re operating illegally, and we plan to take steps against them,” says D.C. Taxi Commissioner Ron Linton. “What they’re trying to do is be both a taxi and a limousine,” Linton has said. “Under the way the law is written, it just can’t be done.” The cab/limo distinction is nonsense. It’s only important to cab and limo companies who have a financial interest in keeping them separate. There are more examples at the link.
- A federal judge has ruled against a motion to dismiss the lawsuit some independent Nashville driver services have filed against the city’s new livery regulations. My intern Jessica Greene wrote about these blatantly protectionist regulations a couple months ago. The regulations require all driver services to charge a minimum of $45 per ride, which could be double what some independent driver services were charging. And proponents of the regulations—mostly bigger driver services already charging that much—of course say the regulations are vital to “protect consumers from ‘rogue taxis.'”
And of course it’s not just consumers who get hurt. The Nashville regulations will likely put several immigrant and minority-owned private car service companies out of business. (“Companies” probably gives the wrong impression. Most of them are one guy, one car.)