Right Hooks

Mass. Cronyism Favors Taxis

Massachusetts puts the squeeze on the free market.

Political Editors · Aug. 23, 2016

Supposedly, nobody likes a rigged system. It’s unfair and un-American. However, those governing Massachusetts don’t see it that way. Take the recent law signed by Massachusetts “Republican” Governor Charlie Baker. In light of the taxi industry’s complaint against the growing competition it faces from ride sharing services Uber and Lyft, the new law levies a 20-cent tax on all rides received through Uber and Lyft. To add insult to injury, the law is aimed at propping up the taxi industry by raising money for it to develop “new technologies and advanced service, safety and operational capabilities.” In other words, the government of Massachusetts is literally taxing the taxi industry’s direct competition and then giving that money to the taxi unions. This would be like giving the home football team a two touchdown lead before the game even starts.

The irony is that Baker and others are claiming this new regulation is needed to further innovation within the taxi industry. Nothing encourages innovation more than a capitalist economy freed from the intrusive hindrance of government over-regulation. The Massachusetts legislature, having been long dominated by a socialist perspective on governing, has once again decided to pick winners and losers. Ultimately the real losers from this will be the citizens of Massachusetts who are seeing their taxes raised yet again.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Socialist Elizabeth Warren, who practically declared war on Uber in a speech back in May, has called for the same kind of economic punishment against free market hotel competition from Airbnb. So this tactic isn’t new, nor will this be the last time it’s employed.

(Updated.)

Click here to show comments