Paris Uber protests: It’s government vs the consumer and not just in France

Violent protests are erupting against Uber in Paris. Taxicab drivers, threated by Uber’s innovative business model, have blocked access to airports and railway stations, overturning suspected Uber drivers’ cars. With massive travel delays frustrating Parisians, taxi drivers have given up trying to be popular or providing better service—they are instead pushing for political favors to protect themselves from competition.

The mayhem caused by taxi drivers was sparked by Uber’s non-compliance with a recent court ruling that prohibited matching unlicensed drivers with potential passengers using an app. Uber, which appealed the ruling, is not suspending operations in Paris, and will pay fines levied on drivers. This resistance should be welcomed: if Uber wins, so do consumers and entrepreneurs.

Only 17,702 taxis roam Paris, far below customer demand. Each time the city attempts to expand the number, French cab drivers respond with “Operation Escargot.” They drive slowly along Paris’s main roads, causing major traffic problems. When taxi drivers feel threated by new competition, they vandalize Uber drivers’ vehicles. Paradoxically, taxi-driver strikes help Uber’s reputation and earnings, because fewer taxis on the road mean that Uber trips are in higher demand and cost more.

Read the rest on Fox News here.

The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

This week marks the second anniversary of the Senate’s passage of the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill, SB 744. Although it did not become law, the bill would have produced substantial economic benefits. Emphasizing that fact is important if immigration reform is to move forward.

The 2013 bill would have transformed immigration more than any piece of legislation since the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Had the bill passed:

  • About eight million unauthorized immigrants would have received legal status and work authorization, according to the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO);
  • New guest-worker programs would have been created for up to 200,000 lesser skilled nonagricultural workers plus a similar program for agricultural workers;
  • H-1B visas for temporary high-skilled workers would have been doubled;
  • Employment-based green cards (permanent residency visas) would have been doubled by exempting new workers’ spouses and children, who currently count against the cap; and
  • Green cards for immigrants with doctorates or master’s degrees in science or technology would have been uncapped.

Read the rest on the Niskanen Center here.