Thursday, March 31, 2011

Replacing What Works With What Sounds Good

"Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. In area after area - crime, education, housing, race relations - the situation has gotten worse after the bright new theories were put into operation. The amazing thing is that this history of failure and disaster has neither discouraged the social engineers nor discredited them."

~Thomas Sowell 

Exhibit A: From personal experience over the last two years in Washington, D.C. I have found that taxis in the city are cheap and ubiquitous, you can often get a cab within seconds, the drivers are usually friendly and helpful, and the fares are frequently run less than $10.  From a consumers' standpoint, I don't know of any other city in America where taxis are cheaper and more available.    

And yet it now looks like the D.C. City Council wants to engage in the practice that Sowell describes by replacing what is working with something that sounds good - restricting the supply of taxis by selling taxi medallions.  

Read about it here in yesterday's Washington Times.


8 Comments:

At 3/31/2011 5:32 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

It would be even better to just totally deregulate taxis, and let people run their own jitneys. Add to that, legalize street-cart vending, or push-carts, universally as well.

Jitneys and push-carts, as anyone who travels to Asia or Latin America knows, allow people with limited capital to start up businesses. The prices are great, too.

We have the freedom of speech written into the Constitution. Sadly, the freedom to conduct commerce is not written in. I can stand on the sidewalk an annoy you with political rhetoric, but I cannot have a push-cart to sell you a hot coffee for half of what Starbucks wants.

We are wiping out millions of entrepreneurs with such zoning laws, which are nearly universal and local in the US.

Inevitably, local businesses do not want the competition (even food trucks in L.A. are under attack), and others do not want push-carts in their ritzy neighborhoods.

Hey, "over-regulated" is only when it happens to people who can hire lobbyists or finance think tanks to do the mau-mau thing for them. Or form a group and give money to city councilmen.

Jitney drivers and push-carts? Not in my neighborhood, no sir! They need to be regulated right out of existence!

 
At 3/31/2011 7:58 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

There's nothing more irritating that replacing toilets that work with the mess we have now.


That's got to be the poster child of replacing something that works with something that sounds good.

That and showerheads

 
At 3/31/2011 8:12 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

French toilets have two buttons. You can save water but are not required to.

That said, I have a low water use toilet that works great. You had better stand back when you flush it, or you may be sucked in.

 
At 3/31/2011 8:51 PM, Blogger Bill said...

And the spray that is released when you flush - how healthy is that?

 
At 3/31/2011 9:08 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 3/31/2011 9:08 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

French toilets have two buttons. You can save water but are not required to.

It's a sad day when the government-happy French have more loo rights than the supposedly small government Americans.

I think the one button is for "number one" and the other is for "number two". It is assumed the Frogs will use it correctly. We Yanks cannot be trusted, of course.

Hydra...close the lid before you flush unless you want to brush your teeth with whatever you just sent down your toilet.

 
At 4/01/2011 6:53 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from Bejamin: "Hey, "over-regulated" is only when it happens to people who can hire lobbyists or finance think tanks to do the mau-mau thing for them. Or form a group and give money to city councilmen."

I think you have it backwards. The Constitution gaurantees the right to petition. Who is responsible for special privileges? The person asking for the privilege, or the person granting it?

 
At 4/01/2011 12:22 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Geoih-

Both.

 

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