What happens in Vegas… can’t happen in an Uber — for now.

Uber Las Vegas

In January of this year, Uber launched a public campaign to bring its ride-sharing service to Nevada — whose largest city, Las Vegas, is a premier destination in the U.S. Using the Twitter hashtag #VegasNeedsUber, the company began increasing awareness of its services to those who frequent the city’s attractions.

The R Street Institute recently published a study on the regulatory framework of the taxi, limousine, and ride-sharing industry in 50 of America’s top cities. At the time, Las Vegas received the lowest rating possible.

From the Ridescore report:

Las Vegas has a heavily regulated vehicle-for-hire market that benefits special interests at consumers’ expense. It comes in as the worst-rated city in our survey.

Competition in the Las Vegas taxi market is restricted by a regulatory limit on the number of entrants, which takes the form of a medallion system. Commodifying the right to do business is far worse than a fleet cap, as it creates a rent-seeking cartel of medallion owners with incentive to influence policymakers and promote regulatory capture.

Limos in Las Vegas are encumbered with numerous regulations undermining their ability to be competitive. These include high mandated minimum fare and use times, and a requirement to carry triple the commercial liability insurance of taxis.

San Francisco’s big government nannies become first to micro-manage worker schedules

San Francisco Mall

Just when you thought big government nannies couldn’t interfere anymore in the employer-employee relationship, think again: San Francisco has become the first-in-the-nation jurisdiction to require chain stores with 20 or more locations worldwide and 20 or more employees within the city to give two weeks notice for any employee schedule changes or pay a “predictability pay” premium to the employee whose schedule is altered with less notice.

This is a particularly curious regulation, especially during the height of the holiday season when retailers must accommodate part-time employee schedules and an increase in customer traffic.

POLITICO has the report:

“We know that while the economy is doing well for some, there are too many workers and families struggling in low-wage jobs with unpredictable shifts,” said Supervisor David Chiu, who in September introduced the predictable scheduling measure as part of a “Retail Workers Bill of Rights.” In addition to limiting schedule changes, the bill requires employers to pay part-time employees the same starting hourly wage as full-time employees in the same position. Employers must also give part-time employees the same access to time off enjoyed by full-time workers, and equal eligibility for promotion.

Obama’s EPA rolls out ‘most expensive regulation ever’

Obama's EPA

President Obama is showing no signs of slowing down his big govenrment liberal agenda on the heels of the 2014 midterm elections, where Republicans re-captured the Senate for the first time since 2006 and increased their majority in the House. The day before Thanksgiving, Obama proposed a new EPA regulation that business groups are calling “the costliest regulation of all time,” according to POLITICO.

From their account:

President Barack Obama has already blinked once on the rule, which aims to limit smog-creating ozone pollution after 2020 from power plants and factories: Just before Labor Day in 2011, he forced the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw an almost-final version of the rule, infuriating green groups that accused him of capitulating to industry pressure to ease his reelection. Obama said he was acting to “underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty.”

Hillary — not ‘truly well off’ — Clinton made $300k for one speech, FOIA request reveals

Poor Hillary Clinton

Over the summer, Hillary Clinton made headlines when she defended her husband’s commnets on their personal wealth. In June, the Washington Post reported:

In an interview with Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Clinton was asked whether she could be a credible champion for fighting income inequality in the United States despite her wealth.

“But they don’t see me as part of the problem,” she told the paper, “because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we’ve done it through dint of hard work.” The Guardian wrote that Clinton let off “another burst of laughter” in answering the question, suggesting that she found the question “painful.”

Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, have earned well over $100 million giving paid speeches and writing books since leaving the White House in 2001.

The National Journal reported that Clinton would likely be wealthier than four of the five former Presidents.

So why is this relavent now?

#BlackoutBlackFriday sends the wrong message to consumers, hurts urban communities

Blackout Black Friday

The jury is still out on the long-term effects of the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the wake of the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Americans will continue to debate police use of force, urban crime rates, and racial inequality. There’s no doubt we’ve come a long way since the days of Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement, where leaders like Dr. Marting Luther King, Jr. dreamt of an America where “little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

But incidents like Ferguson pull back the curtain on lingering racial and socioeconomic inequality. They tear at the fabric of American life and cause unrest in communities of color. Now, this author isn’t calling for government intervention to solve the problem. In fact, there is a lot evidence that government intervention has only worsened the plight of the poor in America’s inner cities.

Thanksgiving lessons conservatives can use at the dinner table

Thanksgiving

Across the United States, millions of Americans will sit down to Thanksgiving dinner with friends and extended family to enjoy turkey, dressing… and political conversation. It never fails: the liberal aunt, the conservative cousin, the libertarian brother — they all have political opinions they’ll undoubtedly attempt to share in mixed company today.

I distinctly remember respectful conversations with my late great-uncle, who’d often say, “If you carry your lunch to work in a pail, you’re a Democrat.” And though we’d often disagree on public policy, we remained respectful of one another’s views. He and my other relatives were (and are) Southern Democrats, who long for the days of FDR-style big government.

But there are a couple Thanksgiving lessons that advocates of limited government can use to advance their views: one, historical; and the other, more modern.

John Stossel wrote about the Thanksgiving of 1623 back in 2010, noting that — after two grueling winters with very little food — Governor William Bradford empowered colonists to produce their own crops, rather than the previous communal farming techiques they had used in the previous two years.

Stossel writes:

When people can get the same return with less effort, most people make less effort. Plymouth settlers faked illness rather than working the common property.Some even stole, despite their Puritan convictions. Total production was too meager to support the population, and famine resulted. This went on for two years.

Dems in Disarray: Chuck Schumer attacks Obamacare strategy

Chuck Schumer

A shocking change in tone in the Democrats’ “top message man,” according to POLITICO:

Democrats’ top message man Chuck Schumer criticized how his own party handled Obamacare’s political strategy on Tuesday, joining a list of prominent Democrats who’ve chastised their own party in recent days as they struggle to come to terms with a crushing defeat earlier this month.

Schumer commented at an event in Washington that Democrats “blew the opportunity the American people gave them” by concentrating on health care during the teeth of the recession in 2009 and 2010, calling it a focus on “the wrong problem.”

But this isn’t the first time Schumer attacked the strategy of passing Obamacare rather than focusing on economic issues. Jeffrey Toobin wrote in an August 2010 interview with Schumer for The New Yorker:

What Else Falls with Fallen Standards? Obama’s “Mean Girls”

Obama's Mean Girls

Anyone who’s been paying attention to national politics may have gotten the strange, discomforting feeling that the United States has, for the past several years, been led in a manner more befitting a Student Council rather than a world power. Whether it’s Harry Reid’s whiny vendetta against the Koch brothers, or the more recent indecent back stab of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the seats of power are behaving not unlike a high school popularity contest. Peggy Noonan zeroed in on one such example recently in a blog post at the Wall Street Journal regarding a phone call President Obama made to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and, apparently, a loose-lipped staffer in the Senator’s office:

Presidents don’t call senators to complain that someone in their office got them mad. That is below a president. (It is especially below one during a crisis.) If persistent leaks get under a president’s skin, he has one of the tough guys around him make that call. If it’s really serious, he has his chief of staff do it. But a president doesn’t lower himself to making accusations, he doesn’t stoop to expressing personal anger at a mere congressional staffer. Presidents have bigger things to do. They also know that everyone leaks. They roll their eyes and keep walking.

Senators don’t have staffers surreptitiously listen in on phone calls from the president of the United States. If they want to request that someone listen in and take notes, they can, and the White House can give or decline permission in advance of the call. Has any senator ever violated this etiquette? Probably, sure. But it is a violation, and they would know it is a violation and not something to brag about.

Big Government at it again: FDA proposes two sweeping “calorie count” labeling rules

Calorie Count Requirements

Two proposed rules from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this morning could radically increase the number of locations that are required to post calorie counts next to food items. Language that was snuck into Obamacare by Democrat Senator Tom Harkin (IA) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT) mandates expanded labeling that could reach as far and wide as vending machines, grocery stores, and even more restaurants.

POLITICO reports:

Restaurant chains will soon have to post calories for every dish of chicken Alfredo, every cheeseburger combo, every margarita and most every other item on the menu thanks to new rules from the FDA expected Tuesday.

The two long-delayed and far-reaching regulations will cover foods served at chain restaurants, grocery stores, vending machines and even movie theaters.

But this piece of President Barack Obama’s legacy on food policy won’t take effect without a fight.

Big chain restaurants are on board: They pushed for a national standard to override a patchwork of state and local menu labeling rules. McDonald’s adopted its own nationwide labeling in 2012. But grocery store and convenience store chains, the likes of Whole Foods, Sheetz and 7-Eleven, are expected to put up a fight about slapping calories next to their kale salad, nachos and Big Gulps. Movie theaters and the alcohol industry are also expected to fiercely protest being included in the mandate.

House finally sues over Obamacare

Boehner sues Obama

Late last week, the House of Representatives filed suit against Obamacare, naming Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and their departments as defendants. The House passed H. Res. 676 in July, giving Spoeker Boehner the authority to begin the litigation process. Noticeably absent from the suit is President Obama, who was not named as a defendant.

POLITICO’s account of the suit lays out the claims made by the House:

The new lawsuit claims that two specific aspects of implementation of the Obamacare law violated the terms of the legislation.

First, the suit complains about repeated delays of the employer mandate, which was supposed to kick in in January of this year. The administration delayed the requirement until next year for some employers and until 2016 for others.

Second, the litigation challenges payments to insurance companies under a cost-sharing provision that the suit argues was never authorized by law. Such “offset” payments amounted to $3 billion in 2014 and could total $175 billion over 10 years, the House claims.

“The administration is instead unlawfully and unconstitutionally using funds from a separate Treasury Department account — authorized for other purposes — to pay insurance companies and thereby unilaterally altering the structure of the health care law,” Boehner’s office said.

 


The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.