Why New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attempt to protect a government-enforced cartel ran out of gas
L. Gordon Crovitz writes: Progressive New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Socialist Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgofound common cause on a shared threat while attending a recent climate-change conference at the Vatican. “The people of our cities don’t like the notion of those who are particularly wealthy and powerful dictating the terms to a government elected by the people,” Mr. de Blasio declared. “As a multibillion-dollar company, Uber thinks it can dictate to government.”
“Uber made the fight personal by adding a ‘de Blasio’ mode to its app, estimating how long the wait would be under the proposed law. Model Kate Upton tweeted in Uber’s support.”
But before Mr. de Blasio could return from Rome, he learned that people really don’t like when politicians try to take away their favorite app for getting around the government’s taxi cartel. The mayor was forced to drop his plan to limit Uber to a 1% annual increase in cars, far below the current rate.
“Errol Louis wrote in the Daily News that ‘Mayor de Blasio is leaving N.Y.ers stranded—like a black man trying to hail a cab uptown.’”
It’s hard to see why Mr. de Blasio thought that would be good politics. Two million New Yorkers have downloaded the Uber app onto their mobile devices—a quarter of the city’s population and more than twice the number of citizens who voted for Mr. de Blasio. But it’s easy to understand why he views Uber as an ideological threat. A tipping point is in sight where big-government politicians can no longer deprive consumers of new choice made possible by technology—whether for car rides, car sharing or home rentals. Mr. de Blasio’s experience should encourage other politicians to sign up for innovation.
“You are dealing with a huge economic force which is consumer choice, and the taxi trade needs to recognize that…I’m afraid it is a tragic fact that there are now more than a million people in this city who have the Uber app.’”
— The Conservative mayor of London, Boris Johnson
Uber has become a wedge issue. The Conservative mayor of London, Boris Johnson, took the opposite approach from Mr. de Blasio. “You are dealing with a huge economic force which is consumer choice, and the taxi trade needs to recognize that,” he said recently. He told a gathering of taxi drivers in London: “I’m afraid it is a tragic fact that there are now more than a million people in this city who have the Uber app.” When cabbies objected that Uber drivers were undercutting their prices, Mr. Johnson replied: “Yes, they are. It’s called the free market.”
“Government-enforced cartels fall faster and harder to disruptive innovation than most businesses. When change comes, it is more dramatic than in industries that already have competition.”
Presidential candidates are divided as well. Hillary Clinton implicitly criticized Uber in her campaign speech on economic policy, saying the “so-called ‘gig economy’ ” is “raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like.” Read the rest of this entry »
BREAKING: Rob Ford Gets into Screaming Match, Knocks Over Councillor as Council Seeks to Strip Him of Mayoral PowersPosted: November 18, 2013
Toronto City Council broke into chaos Monday afternoon after Mayor Rob Ford seemingly charged towards a spectator in the galley, knocking over a city councillor in the process, after his brother Doug Ford screamed “scumbags” at the public.
The mayor took off running after his brother got into a verbal argument with the crowd, hitting Councillor Pam McConnell, knocking her backwards, before catching her and helping her steady herself.
Councillor Ford, who had earlier denounced the “special interest groups” and union members he said were sitting in the audience, was yelling at them: “You got your hands in the cookie jar!”
“Saving money? You don’t like saving money? I save money!” Mayor Ford yelled, as city hall security guards descended, raising their hands in an attempt to get everyone to calm down. Read the rest of this entry »