Category Archives: United States

Uber Drivers Go Where New York City Taxis Won’t

The rise of innovative transportation companies has been the most important change in the way urban travelers get around in decades.

It is well understood that transportation network companies (TNC) like Uber and Lyft have changed the way middle class and affluent people travel within the cities they live in, but critics often say they don’t do enough to help the urban poor. Supporters, however, will point out that these companies make for-hire cars available in neighborhoods where cabs rarely roam.

Until recently, this debate has been largely theoretical. That changed last week with a new study by the Manhattan Institute’s Jared Meyer. Meyer received data on all trips taken using UberX technology in New York City in 2014, including the starting and ending postal codes. He then compared this data to info on New York City taxi trips.

Put simply, Meyer’s study found that compared to taxi services, UberX serves areas outside of Manhattan and airport terminals with far greater regularity. Moreover, Meyer found that UberX’s growth was strongest in lower income neighborhoods, and that the service was most used outside of typical peak commuter hours.

Read the rest on the PanAm Post.

 

Scott Walker’s border fence exposes the isolationism of the GOP

There is a growing isolationism in the modern GOP. The party is no less hawkish on foreign policy, but there is an increasing suspicious and hostility towards the outside world. This isolationism reached a climax last week, when Governor Scott Walker voiced support for a border fence separating the US and Canada.

Isolationist has long been a piercing insult in American politics. A favorite of Republican hawks, the label has been used to dismiss the foreign policy views of everyone from Obama and Clinton, to Rubio and Rand Paul.

President Obama has only increased military engagements, and there is no sign of any American withdrawal. So clearly the term has been misused. But there is more to isolationism than foreign policy restraint. Hostility towards trade, immigration, and diplomacy are all aspects of an isolationist approach. And their prevalence is increasing in the modern GOP.

Opposition to relations with Cuba, and a general hostility towards free trade, and a sheer stubbornness to contemplate any Iranian nuclear deal are just a few examples of this isolationism in the Republican Party. These positions exist despite the Cuban trade embargo costing the US an estimated $1.2 billion in annually, and America’s economy strength relying heavily on its status as the world’s largest trading nation—with $2.3 trillion goods and services exported in 2013. As for the Iranian nuclear deal, it will not turn Iran into a liberal democracy (it was never intended to), it still the best way to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon.

But no policy exemplifies this isolationist streak better than the desire to literally build a wall to cut off the outside world.

Read the rest on CapX, or FEE.

Decriminalization: The way forward for New Jersey municipalities

This summer, the Asbury Park city council joined the 53 percent of Americans who support legalizing marijuana, with a resolution citing both the economic benefits of legalization as well as the unnecessarily severe sanctions imposed on users of the relatively harmless drug.

Unfortunately, this is largely a symbolic gesture. Governor Chris Christie’s opposition to marijuana legalization is no secret. An Assembly bill introduced in 2014 would create a ballot initiative to remove all penalties for possession under one ounce. But the bill is unlikely to overcome Governor Christie’s expected veto.

Marijuana prohibition, it seems, will continue in New Jersey for as long as Christie is in the Governor’s Mansion, let alone the White House.

But there is still a lot Asbury Park, and other New Jersey municipalities, can do. While they may not be able to access millions of dollars in tax revenue from legal marijuana sales—like local governments in Colorado and Washington—they can dramatically reduce the human cost associated with marijuana prohibition by decriminalizing marijuana.

How are legalization and decriminalization different?

Read the rest on Watchdog.org here.