Uber has brought taxicab regulations, unlike other manifestations of Big Small Government, onto the national stage. It has scrambled partisan lines. Republicans have attempted to turn Uber into a symbol of free-market economics that can appeal to young and urban voters. Uber hired David Plouffe, the Obama-campaign whiz, to run its political operations. Plouffe’s hire provoked a wave of recriminations from the left wing of his party—here was another D.C. sellout working for the Man. But Plouffe’s support for Uber could also be understood as a natural extension of Obama-style moderate liberalism. At the federal level, where government power is checked by a hostile Republican Party, liberalism means advocating for subsidized medical care, or funding for science and infrastructure. At the local level, moderate liberalism may in fact be at odds with regulation, and advocates of “more government” are sometimes defending an organized racket.
intra-Democratic politics is not optimized to root out most government failure. Democratic voters tend to apply an ideology shaped by high-profile national struggles to their local voting habits; they may, for instance, associate arguments against regulation with the sorts of spurious claims made by polluters, Wall Street, or other robber barons, even if Uber’s argument against intrusive regulations has vastly more merit than the coal industry’s.
Worth a read. While it starts with a discussion of Ferguson, it gets what the liberal position on local regulations should be. Restricted to concerns about public safety, equal access and accountability to the public. The fact is that most of the worst regulations are at the local level. Most of the crony capitalism happens on the local level. It’s not the EPA and OSHA, it’s local intrusive regulations that are a problem.