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  • Aug 25th, 2015 @ 12:33pm

    Like any tool, government can be misused

    While I agree with the sentiment of this piece, I think the blame is misplaced - it presents government, at all levels, as this thing apart from us. Local, state, and the federal government generally only react in response to pressure - and in most of the cases above, the pressure is coming from established business interests afraid that their legacy business models are in danger. And they're right of course, a business model that fails to account for change isn't a model that will last long. The better question would be why is government doing more to protect dinosaur business models than to help its citizens. You can't blame unions or governments without also being willing to blame the corporate interests that, with their political contributions, call the shots.

    The other part of it is that governments have become beholden to the revenue from existing tax/licensing structures. This isn't necessarily the fault of governments but of the people who bristle at any attempt to honestly address funding of government services. Don't like how a city government is jumping to the defense of traditional taxi services? Perhaps if they weren't so dependent on every cent from those hack licenses, they would be so worried.

    And don't let off these on-demand services either. Every Uber driver is putting a more-than-normal demand on a city's infrastructure - in the traditional taxi models, taxi surcharges and hack licenses were intended to help defray those costs, yet Uber drivers don't have the same requirement to pay for the services they're using from the city.

    In short, and to put it in the classic libertarian terms: TANSTAFL. On-demand services are using infrastructure paid for by other people and not contributing to the maintenance or improvement of that infrastructure at a level commensurate with their usage. Don't ask me to cry tears for them, when their entire business model is essentially a hack of the existing system. Sure it's clever and all, but that doesn't mean it contributes to the overall greater good.

  • Oct 18th, 2013 @ 9:29pm

    (untitled comment)

    Embiggened Grifters

  • Aug 7th, 2012 @ 10:50am

    (untitled comment)

    Wow, this was the most slanted piece I've read on here in quite some time. Very disappointing.

  • Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:28am

    So if there are false positives . . .

    does anyone know the rate for false negatives? If that's higher than a few percent, you kind of have to wonder what the whole purpose of this approach is.