Posts Tagged uber

This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Brad Bumsted Talks Keystone Corruption


Radio Program Schedule for the week of September 10, 2016 – September 16, 2016

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • David Taylor of the PA Manufacturers Association is joined for a Capitol Watch look at corruption in Pennsylvania with Brad Bumsted author of Keystone Corruption Continues
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on regulation uber alles

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Dr. Tracy Miller of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University about paying for roads and bridges
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on congress’ Fall agenda
  • Lowman Henry talks with Dr. Alan Axelrod author of the new book Full Faith and Credit about the danger of the skyrocketing national debt
  • Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on the passing of conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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Regulation Uber Alles


In nearly every study of state-by-state economic competitiveness Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom.  The most recent Keystone Business Climate Survey conducted by the Lincoln Institute found 53% of business owners and chief executive officers think our business climate is getting worse, only six percent think it is improving.

State government is doing everything in its power to prove them correct.

Two recent cases of regulatory excess and job crushing taxation illustrate the point.  The first involves the ride sharing company Uber; the second is the vaping industry.  Ride sharing and vaping have little in common aside from the fact both are being victimized by state government over-reach.  Sadly, they are just the latest example of how public policy in Penn’s Woods discourages business growth and job creation.

In the case of Uber it is an un-elected government regulatory agency, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) that has levied an $11.4 million fine because the firm supposedly operated for six months without the appropriate license.  I use the word supposedly because the Uber concept was so innovative it did not fit neatly into any existing regulatory category.  What we have here is not a company flaunting the law, but a hyde-bound bureaucracy unable to keep pace with technological advancements.

Rather than work with Uber, the regulators flexed their muscle by issuing a cease and desist order – which Uber ignored.  Uber thus committed the greatest of sins: failure to bow before the power of the bureaucrats.  So out-of-bounds is the fine that Governor Tom Wolf and Republican legislative leaders urged the PUC to reconsider.  Those folks don’t normally agree on much, so their unity on behalf of Uber was striking.

For its part Uber remains committed to Pennsylvania.  The company is testing a new driverless system in Pittsburgh.  Apparently if such a system can navigate the circular roads, hills and bridges of the Steel City it will work anywhere.  That research has brought much needed jobs to the southwestern part of the state – something the PUC apparently failed to take into consideration.

It’s not just regulators who are crushing jobs; some legislators are doing their part.  After splurging on $1.4 billion in new spending in this year’s budget lawmakers went in search of the revenue to pay for their spending spree.  Part of the answer was to impose a 40% tax on vaping stock.

Vaping is an alternative to smoking that utilizes what is in effect a personal vaporizer to turn vaping liquid or juice into steam.  Such liquids can be infused with various amount of nicotine – or none at all – and has been known to help smokers quit using tobacco products.  As vaping has become more popular mom and pop vape shops have sprouted across the commonwealth.

A 40% tax on any product or service is excessive, but in the case of the nascent vaping industry it is a killer.  Since the tax is applied to any items in stock at the time the tax takes effect next month it will crush many if not most of the small businesses.  For example, if a shop had $100,000.00 of vaping stock on hand they will immediately have to write the commonwealth a check for $40,000.00.  For some that exceeds their annual profit margin.

The end result is one of the few industries available for first time or small entrepreneurs will close and disappear, or the industry will be dominated by a few larger operations capable of surviving the tax onslaught.  The end result will be fewer small businesses, lost jobs and fewer choices for consumers.  Oh, and those sales and personal income taxes paid by the vape shops, they go away too.

The General Election campaign is now underway with half of the state senate and the entire state house on the ballot.  This is an excellent time for voters to demand their elected officials stop imposing job killing taxation on businesses and call upon them to reign in the power of regulatory agencies.  Unless a stand is taken at the ballot box Pennsylvania has no hope of shedding its well-deserved reputation as an unfriendly place to do business.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Rep. John Maher Talks Ride Sharing Legislation


Radio Program Schedule for the week of September 20, 2014 – September 26, 2014

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from paindependent.com
  • Lowman Henry talks with State Rep. John Maher about a new law governing ride sharing companies
  • Eric Montarti and Frank Gamrat have an Allegheny Institute Report on the first teacher strike of the school year
  • Anna McCauslin from the PA Chapter of Americans for Prosperity has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on the unfinished work of the state legislature

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Sam Batkins of the American Action Forum about the economic impact of Obamacare
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on what congress did before heading home to campaign for the November elections
  • Eric Boehm and Jason Hart have a Watchdog Radio Report on high paid labor union leaders decrying income inequality
  • Col. Frank Ryan, USMC (Ret.) has an American Radio Journal commentary on a president who thinks he knows best

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: General Assembly Returns


Radio Program Schedule for the week of September 13, 2014 – September 19, 2014

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from paindependent.com
  • Matthew Brouillette and Katrina Anderson of the Commonwealth Foundation have a Capitol Watch look at the General Assembly returning to unfinished business
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on why government regulators should stay out of the way of new ride sharing companies

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Veronique de Rugy from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University about the impact of the growing federal debt on the economy
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on the increasing chance of the GOP reclaiming control of the U.S. Senate
  • Eric Boehm and Ken Ward have a Watchdog Radio Report on foreign nationals over staying their student visas
  • Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College has an American Radio Journal commentary on the passing of Chick-Fil-A founder Truett Cathy

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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Need A Lyft?


I stood in the doorway of the Ebenezer Coffee House watching a mid-summer thunderstorm dump water on Washington, D.C.  Although Union Station, and the taxi cab I needed, was little over a block away, getting there in the downpour would result in my getting soaked.  With appointments still to keep that was not an attractive option.

Fortunately, I had downloaded an app on my smart phone that allowed me to summon an Uber car.  Uber is one of the new ride-sharing companies that have revolutionized the transportation industry using the latest technology.

With the touch of a finger the app assigned a car to pick me up.  A photo of the driver appeared on my screen along with her name, a description of the car she was driving and an estimate of time, in this case less than five minutes, before the car would arrive.  I was able to watch the car’s progress on a map as it neared my location.  Not only did the Uber car pull up right in front of my door, but I didn’t even need to have cash on me to pay for the ride since I had previously established an account.

In addition to the creative use of technology and ease of use, I found other interesting aspects to Uber.  The woman who gave me a ride that day was a single mother in her late 20’s.  She has two small children and driving for Uber allows her to get her children off to school in the morning, work the hours they were gone and then be free to pick them up again in the afternoon.  Weekends when her children are visiting their father, she earns extra money driving again for Uber.

As with any major advancement in a business model, ride sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft have arrived in a blaze of controversy.  Public transportation, especially the taxi cab business, is highly regulated.   They also tend to be controlled by influential interests who jealously and zealously guard their turf.

The problem for the taxi companies is that they are moribund, having evolved little since switching from horse drawn carriages to motor cars. Getting a cab still usually involves standing on a street corner waving your arms, or placing a telephone call and enduring a long wait.  Neither exactly suits a highly technology-driven society that demands instant gratification from nearly every service imaginable.

Essentially taxi cab companies are rotary telephones operating in a smart phone world.  While some have evolved web sites and downloadable apps, few can approach the sophistication level of Uber and Lyft.  Technology aside, traditional cab companies operate on a centralized business model, while the new companies harness individual entrepreneurs.  People always work harder for themselves than they do for someone else giving the ride sharing drivers extra incentive.

The advent of this new model of public transportation has also caught regulatory agencies off guard.  Ride sharing companies don’t fit into any existing regulatory category.  This has created problems in that regulators first instinct is to say “no,” you can’t run your business that way.  But Uber and Lyft have persisted often to the point of defying cease and desist orders.

But the ride sharing companies have forced government regulators to find ways to accommodate them.  The danger though is that over-zealous bureaucrats pile excessive regulations on the companies. Regulators like to regulate, and with the taxi cab companies pressuring them to reign in the new kids on the block, the danger exists that government does what it usually does and over-regulate the new industry.

While regulators have a legitimate responsibility to ensure public safety they must carefully consider the impact of any new regulation.  Certainly cars must be inspected and insured, but regulators cannot institute rules simply aimed at making the ride sharing companies less competitive.  If they do the legislature will have to step in.

In the meantime, competition is good.  Uber and Lyft offer customers a convenient new option. And, perhaps the taxi cab companies will respond by coming up with an even better idea. The free enterprise system is operating as it should, rewarding those who innovate and pressuring those who don’t to do better.  In the end, we the consumer are the winners.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal. His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Take an Uber Ride


Radio Program Schedule for the week of August 23, 2014 – August 29, 2014

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from www.paindependent.com
  • Lowman Henry talks with Taylor Bennett of Uber about the ride share company’s expansion into Pennsylvania
  • Frank Gamrat and Eric Montarti explore land banks on the Allegheny Institute Report
  • Beth Ann Mumford of Americans for Prosperity/PA has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on preserving freedom

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Jonathan Williams of the American Legislative Exchange Council about the 2014 Rich States/Poor States report on economic competitiveness
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on Republican chances of winning control of the U.S. Senate in November
  • Eric Boehm and Benjamin Yount have a Watchdog Radio Report on the militarization of local police forces
  • Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College has an American Radio Journal commentary on the American Federation of Teachers’ left-wing agenda

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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