uberX and Lyft have become mainstays for the younger crowd as they try to get around Denver. With their cheaper fares and use of mobile apps that make it an easier convenience to hail a ride, the companies are a no-brainer for anyone tech-savvy enough to operate a smart phone. Yet, as with any market innovation, entrenched interests have much to lose from the market disruption and are against them. As The Denver Post writes:
It isn’t just taxi companies and the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that are trying to stamp out these new outfits offering on-demand, low-cost rides that passengers engage through a smartphone app. The entire insurance industry has lined up against these innovators, too.
While the Senate has passed a bipartisan bill that makes commonsense regulations for the uberX and Lyft market, as the bill goes to the House we are afraid House Democrats will cave to pressure (see here). See, Democrats have long stood on the side of special interests when it comes to economic issues, favoring the inefficient status quo and deep pockets of the entrenched, over a thriving and innovative economy. Just last year Uber’s founder took Governor John Hickenlooper to task for Hick’s innovator talk, but luddite walk:
“The PUC of Colorado tried to put some regulations – really the governor of Colorado and his Public Utilities Commission put out regulations that are essentially trying to put us out of business,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said at the April 23 event…
“He’s an entrepreneur and he’s technology friendly and he embraces innovation every step of the way until he actually has to,” Kalanick said. “He talks the talk, but we have not seen him walk the walk.” [the Peak emphasis]
Democrats are clearly not on the right side of history when it comes to issues of the free market. Senator Marco Rubio recently illustrated how easy it is to convert young voters into de-regulated, free marketeers by giving them a concrete example:
[T]he general issue came up in a class he teaches at Florida International University. “I suddenly had a bunch of 21-year-old antiregulatory activists on my hands,” he joked at Uber’s office. [the Peak emphasis]
Politically, Democrats could not make us happier in over-regulating uberX and Lyft. They would be handing Republicans across Colorado a clear and concise example to take to young voters everywhere of how exactly Democrats have it wrong when it comes to economics. But, really, for the sake of doing what is right for Colorado, hopefully Dems will not stand in the way of the self-regulation of a new, free-market innovation. We’ll see today.