by: the Common Constitutionalist
In a free society which has a free market economy, is there any reason a person shouldn’t be able to pick up a passenger in his or her own car and drive them to their destination for money? The passenger willingly makes the decision that it is safe to enter the vehicle, as does the driver of the passenger and they both agree on a price for the trip. That’s the free market and it is the crux of ride-sharing businesses like Uber and Lyft.
But of course we do not live in a free society nor do we have a free market economy – at least not in cities and states controlled by authoritarian liberal democrats who prefer government supported monopolies. They abhor the free market because, by definition, the market is free of their influence and meddling.
So as ride-sharing becomes more and more popular, governments and their crony partners-in-crime, the Unions, are stepping in to attempt to “control” these companies, or put them out of business.
Until the advent of these free market companies, taxis were the only game in town. One of my heroes, Walter E. Williams, wrote in August that in order to become a taxi operator in a place like New York City, a city commission, filled with bureaucrats on the take, must first grant you the privilege of purchasing a taxi license. Then that license must be purchased from an existing cab company for an astronomical fee of as much as $700,000 or more – and that’s for each vehicle.
In other words, the game is rigged. Over the years, large cab companies have become crony corporate partners with corrupt local and state governments and once they’re in, they close the door behind them, creating a monopoly.
But Uber and Lyft are disrupting this relation of thieves, so Unions, the cab companies and their partners in crime in government are fighting back. It’s a classic David vs. Goliath scenario.
Ride-sharing services are already barred from picking up passengers at train stations and airports. There is no logical reason for this – it’s just government decree to protect the cab companies.
In October there was a call for a national “strike” day by a disgruntled former Uber driver, where he and like-minded idiots were demanding, among other things, that Uber raise fares and offer a tip option on the customer’s App. Curiously, one of the Uberstrike posters just happened to be sporting the Communist “Workers Unite” raised, clenched fist. Huh.
The “strike” was a miserable failure, as well it should have been. Ride-sharing drivers are drivers by choice. Many, if not most, only do it to supplement their income. But apparently these current Uber type arrangements are just not good enough, and in what I figure is pressure or influence from Unions, some drivers are demanding to be considered employees, rather than independent contractors. If the government overseers determine that drivers are indeed employees, it will kill off ride-sharing – which is their intention.
And leave it to the cronies in California to get the ball rolling. Uber is now “facing a class-action lawsuit in California by drivers challenging its business model and seeking to be treated like employees.”
Wow! There must be a lot of disgruntled Uber drivers to form a class-action. Actually no. There can be as few as 20 plaintiffs to begin a lawsuit such as this. In a state as large as California, finding at least 20 useful idiots or agitators should be easy.
Be careful what you wish (or sue) for. You may regret it. Maybe the plaintiffs win – then what. If Uber can’t survive the crush of hiring all those people (which they can’t), they fold and everyone is out of a job. If they can survive, they become a glorified cab company with drivers treated like those in New York City, who are then beholden to dispatchers. These benevolent overlords hold all the cards and they expect to be paid – paid in the form of bribes, so as to not be given bad shifts or no shift at all. And then if you do get a shift, you receive a medallion, which you must lease from the company at a rate of between $75 and $130 per shift. Good luck making any money with that arrangement.
Maybe instead of killing off the Golden Goose, you “disgruntled” drivers should be thankful that such a thing as Uber of Lyft even exists for you to take advantage. But sadly this is no longer the American way.
In our current entitlement society, good enough is never enough.