I don’t use Uber, but I know a lot of people who do, and they love it. For those unfamiliar, Uber is a company that pairs drivers looking to give rides with customers looking for a ride. They do this by using an app to connect drivers with passengers. To ensure quality and safety Uber pre-screens all of their drivers, knowing that if they do not provide a good product they will quickly lose customers. The result of this cool innovation is that people can conveniently get a ride and a good price, often in a luxury car. Free-market capitalism at its best.
But of course big-government types want to stop Uber, warning that it is a dangerous precedent. They claim the service is not regulated enough and therefore is unsafe. This is consistent with how Reagan once characterized statists’ beliefs- “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” The Gipper was wise indeed. Many on the left believe that nothing good can happen unless it is closely controlled by the government. They ignore the fact that the government mostly screws up whatever they get involved in because they don’t care. They are driven by an ideology that society can’t operate unless Ivy-league educated tinkerers centrally plan it. Oddly enough, they think politicians and bureaucrats know whats best for people because they often believe that the average person is not smart enough to make his own decisions.
Ideology, however, is not the only motivation behind killing Uber. While consumers love the company, Taxis hate it. In most cities taxis pay a lot of money for a license to work. The stated purpose of the license is to ensure the safety and quality of taxis, but truthfully they only work to restrict the supply of taxi drivers, allowing existing cabbies to raise their prices without fear of their competition undercutting them and taking business away. But Uber does not possess traditional taxi licenses and thus competes with taxi companies. The result of this competition is lower cost and higher quality rides for consumers, which taxis don’t like because that means they make less money. With Uber, consumers win. But I’m sure you won’t see Elizabeth Warren bragging about this type of consumer protection.
Despite liberal resistance I am confident that Uber will survive because people enjoy the service they provide. Is it possible that liberals are right and Uber poses some threats to consumers and employers? Yes. Nothing in this world is perfect. But I can assure you that the benefits of Uber far outweigh any costs. Liberals will just have to accept the fact that the internet is allowing people to interact and improve society without the government controlling every action we take.