Free market competition fosters the highest quality products for the lowest possible consumer costs. Republicans from the most local of volunteer precinct captains to the the Speaker of the House hold this tenet to be true. Republicans decry centralized planning boards, death panels, executive orders, and TARP bailouts of banks. But what happens when Republican elected officials engage in the same practice they decry?
We call federal policies, of restricting consumer choice in the light bulb industry tyranny, but when it comes to taxicabs, local Republican officials are doing the same exact thing.
Like in Escondido. Newly elected Assembly member Marie Waldron sponsored an ordinance to restrict competition in the taxicab industry. While she wasn’t present to vote on the ordinance, support for this measure came from Republican Mayor Sam Abed and Council member Ed Gallo. Gallo arrogantly defended this practice of rotarian socialism:
Gallo said it was a “nuisance” to have a cabdriver talking during a trip even if it was on a hands-free device, adding that it complicates efforts by passengers to give directions to the driver.
Well Ed, I suppose that the EPA apparatchiks think it’s a nuisance, that incandescent light bulbs have a shorter life than the compact fluorescent light bulbs, but more choices in the marketplace are good. Even in the taxi cab marketplace. Moreover, it is not the role of local elected officials, to impose their personal preferences on the rest of the consumers.
It’s not just the Republicans in Escondido who are practicing rotarian socialism. Every single Republican on the Oceanside City Council, except Gary Felien, voted to micromanage the taxi cab industry in Oceanside, restricting competition and ultimately driving up consumer costs. Jerry Kern, Jim Wood, and Jack Feller all supported this anti-consumer measure. Even more disconcerting, the Oceanside Republicans raised business taxes on the surviving taxi cabs:
Fees for cabs also were raised by the council to reflect what city officials said was the cost of reviewing applications and inspecting cabs. The initial application fee was raised from $25 to $475 and the annual renewal fee was raised from $160 to $360.
This is not good news for the Republican brand. Republicans either stand for less taxes and less regulations or we don’t. In Escondido and Oceanside, it seems obvious that…Republicans don’t.