Annapolis curbs Uber, Lyft

In cities in the United States and around the world, people are discovering a welcome alternative to costly, unpredictable and inconvenient taxi cabs. Car-for-hire communications companies like Uber and Lyft enable people to use their smartphones to arrange and pay for affordable limousine (“black car”) service or else get a cheap lift (“ridesharing”) from private drivers who have passed the companies’ background checks. The companies are a godsend to car-less urbanites, make more efficient use of vehicles on the road and are a welcome source of income for drivers.

Despite all the “winners” from these services, there are some politically well connected losers: taxi cab companies. Decades ago, those companies worked with state and local governments to establish a licensing and regulatory system that makes their business model the king of the road. As a result, taxis can overcharge passengers, under-serve certain communities and give unpleasant rides to customers without the cab companies having to worry about competition from other business models. Now, by helping customers connect easily with black cars and private ride-sharers, Uber and Lyft are forcing the cab companies to do a better job at a lower price.

And the cab companies are fighting back, with help from the politicians. For instance, in Annapolis — a city where ridesharing would be especially useful both to get people around town and deliver them to Baltimore, Washington and Ocean City — Mayor Mike Pantelides recently announced that the city will fine any driver using Uber’s communications services. This comes on the heels of last summer’s attempt to regulate such companies like taxis statewide, under the auspices of the Maryland Public Service Commission.

Some people may side with the mayor, saying that though Uber and Lyft conduct background checks on drivers, gather customer feedback and keep records of transactions, some form of government intervention is also needed to keep customers safe. Perhaps that’s true, but Mr. Pantelides and other politicians specifically demand that all cars for hire follow the taxi cab business model. They prohibit other models that are less expensive, more flexible and — judging from Uber and Lyft’s popularity — preferred by many customers.

Read the rest at the Baltimore Sun…

Like Scott Walker, 68 percent of Americans don’t have a bachelor’s degree

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has come under fire from Democrats for not finishing his bachelor’s degree while attending Marquette University in the 1980s. Democrats might think the attacks are a surefire way to make Walker look uneducated as he ramps up for a potential 2016 presidential bid, but the attacks may alienate more people than they win over.

Sixty-eight percent of Americans ages 25 or older do not have a bachelor’s degree. That’s 142 million potential voters who might be offended by attacks on Walker’s educational status. Attacking Walker for not having a degree is basically telling 68 percent of Americans they’re unqualified to be president.

Furthermore, Walker still has more education than nearly two-thirds of the country. He amassed college credits equivalent to three-quarters of a bachelor’s degree during his time at Marquette. Only 37 percent of Americans over age 25 have at least three years of college education.

Read the rest at the Washington Examiner…

Advocate Alexander Interviewed on the Bob Harden Show

Advocate Alexander McCobin was interviewed on the Bob Harden Show about the success of the millennial libertarian movement and the future of Students for Liberty .

You can listen to the full segment below.


If you’d like to book Alexander or any other Advocate, please contact Young Voices.