• The Licensing Problem

      Government's at it again - licensing poor people out of the taxi business. Today's WSJ reports:

      Lawmakers are on the verge of approving sweeping changes to New York's taxi industry with the aim of improving cab service outside Manhattan.

      Improving service? Hardly. What improves service is competition. Free competition would cause fares and waiting time to decrease, and driver courtesy to increase. But the politicians won't allow that.

      I've pointed out that similar stupid rules make it hard for poor people to escape poverty. You can no longer just lease a taxi and go into business. First NYC demanded Taxi owners buy a "medallion" - a license that now can cost more than $800,000. Now it's a new type of taxi service that will cost an extra $1,500 per taxi. Please. Why doesn't government butt out and let the market work its magic?

      As economist Walter Williams said on my show:

      There are not many black-owned taxis in New York City. But in Washington, most are owned by blacks.

      Why? Because in Washington, D.C:

      It takes $200 to get a license to own and operate one taxi.

      All those licensing laws do just one thing: keep outsiders out.