How Cronyism Made Harvey Worse

The flood waters from Harvey not even stopped rising before pundits began casting blame. And the blame focused on man-made causes: climate change, the failure of city and county officials to control or mitigate flooding, and Houston’s lack of zoning.

The pundits got it partly right. There is a man-made factor that contributed to Harvey’s […]

Cronyism to the Left, Cronyism to the Right

In recent years, individuals from across the political spectrum have condemned cronyism. Former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, once remarked that she felt sad “for the American people, who have had their lives affected by the culture of cronyism and corruption that exists in Washington.” Current Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, similarly denounced […]

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 […]

Protecting the Middlemen

The Internet has revolutionized how we shop. We are no longer limited to the brick and mortar store down the street–we can literally purchase products from companies almost anywhere in the world. But some businesses do not like the choices that the Internet has given consumers. Auto dealerships are one example.

For the third time, […]

Beer Cronyism

Last week, the Texas House passed a bill that will establish new regulations for craft brewers who sell directly to consumers. The bill will require brewers who produce more than 175,000 barrels per year to sell their product to distributors, and then buy it back from the distributors before selling it to consumers.

In theory, […]

Cronyism vs. Competition

The Texas Legislature is considering a bill that will allow auto makers to sell directly to consumers. Currently, new automobiles must be purchased through a franchised dealership. Not surprisingly, the bill is opposed by dealership owners. Wyatt Wainwright, president of the Houston Automobile Dealers Association, recently met with lawmakers to explain why auto dealers oppose […]

Mayor Turner’s Latest Cronyism

The Chronicle reports that the city will lend $13.9 million to HEB to build a new grocery store near the Museum District. The money comes from a federal grant issued in 1995 to help revitalize downtown. Mayor Sylvester Turner said that he isn’t thrilled about the “deal,” but it will help provide fresh produce to […]

Title Insurance and Cronyism

Every day, we are subjected to the hidden costs of government regulations. Government drives up the cost of nearly every product and service, including title insurance. While title insurance isn’t a sexy topic, it impacts nearly every real estate transaction, and thus has an impact on housing costs, the cost of doing business, and everything […]

Cronyism Versus Uber

In October, City Council signed off on a taxi hailing that will all taxi drivers in the city will be required to use. The Arro app, which is already being used in New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago, will consolidate taxi dispatching for the city’s 146 taxi companies.

At the time, the Chronicle reported:

[…]

Protecting the Public From Lawmakers

In a previous post, I noted that the city had come to an agreement with Uber to loosen regulations. City Council approved the changes today, but not without dissent. According to the Chronicle:

“We are here today because one company has said if you don’t do these regulatory changes right now we’re going to leave,” […]