Lobbying and Cronyism

Chronicle columnist Chris Tomlinson makes an issue out of the fact that Uber lobbied the Texas legislature to block local efforts to regulate the company:

When Houston’s city council refused to bend to Uber’s demands, and Austin voters threw Uber out of the capitol, Kalanick hired a team of high-priced lobbyists to buy friendly statewide laws at the Texas Legislature. Uber now has its own set of rules that give it an advantage over local taxi drivers.

The advantage enjoyed by Uber is that taxi companies are subject to draconian regulations, which both Houston and Austin sought to impose on the company. Uber lobbied the legislature in an effort to protect its freedom.

Tomlinson and his ilk would have us believe that this is wrong, that we should obediently submit to whatever government officials demand.

In contrast, consider the lobbying efforts undertaken by taxi companies around the world whenever Uber enters a market. The taxi companies lobby for government to place more restrictions on Uber, rather than demand a lessening of the controls on them. That is nothing more than cronyism–government protection from competition in exchange for political support.

The fact is, the taxi companies don’t want to compete in a free market. They enjoy their cozy relationship with government officials and the monopolies that they have established.

There is a moral gulf between what Uber did and what taxi companies have been doing. Uber lobbied to protect its freedom; the taxi companies lobbied to enslave Uber.

Comments are closed.