• Taxi? $800,000!

      Today’s NY Times reports on stupid Greek business rules:

      To break into the business, an aspiring pharmacist generally has to buy a license from a retiring one. That often costs upward of $400,000. “It is an absurd system.”

      Yes, it is.  At least the Times reporter understands the damage done by:

      the cozy system of “closed professions” that has existed here for decades, costing the economy billions of dollars a year … “Greece is the last Soviet-style economy in Europe,” … Greece has issued only a few new licenses for truckers since 1970, though Greece’s economy has more than tripled in that time. This created a hot market for the licenses, which have sold at prices approaching $500,000. Not surprisingly, experts say, trucking costs in Greece are far higher than anywhere else in the European Union … “All these regulations must go away,” said Theodoros Pangalos, Greece’s deputy prime minister. “I don’t understand why there can be only one pharmacy outside a hospital — and often it’s closed. There is surely one pharmacist who would come there and stay open all night, if he had the chance.” …The way some professions run here would be hard to fathom elsewhere….

      Apparently so hard to fathom that the Times’s editors don’t see it right outside their building.

      Do they wonder why it’s often hard to find a taxi, why a taxi ride isn’t very pleasant, why driving a taxi is such a miserable job that it’s mostly done by recent immigrants who only drive taxis a few months and then eagerly leave for other jobs?

      The reason  is the Greek-like cartel on Taxi service established and preserved by stupid NYC governments.  It’s also the reason that the more expensive limousine-like “Black Car” car-services car clog NYC streets.  Once there were more taxis that limousines, but now the Black cars outnumber the Taxis five to one.  They are less convenient —“for hire” cars cannot legally stop to pick someone up on the way to a call (although they do).  All this happened because NYC government decided that to “protect consumers,” it should regulate the taxi business and limit the number of taxis.

      The Times is rightly outraged that a Greek pharmacist who wants to open a drug store must pay  $400,000 for a license. I wish they noticed that their Taxi driver can’t open a business without paying $600,000, or if he has a corporation, $800,000.

      American bureaucrats are just as stupid as Greek ones.