In mid-October, Uber and Lyft decided to skip a congressional hearing where their safety and labor practices would have been reviewed.
The two companies have been under the public microscope lately in regards to their treatment of drivers and their passenger safety policies. Because of the pressure on these companies, the House Transportation subcommittee assembled a hearing to bring the companies to testify on the future of ridesharing.
Transportation Committee Chairman Peter A. DeFazio made a fuss about the ridesharing companies’ failure to show up at the hearing. He declared that the panel would continue pursuing legislation that addresses labor and safety concerns, regardless of whether the companies cooperate with Congress.
In all honesty, the huffing and puffing of busybody politicians are amusing. The two companies were likely going to be hauled out in front of politicians keen on finding any excuse to regulate them further. They were better off giving Congress the cold shoulder.
Yes, some companies aren’t great and have questionable services. That’s the nature of actors in the market; they aren’t infallible. Dealing with the state is a whole different matter. Governments have proven to be incompetent and heavy-handed throughout history.
Unlike how markets operate, in the public sector, there are no profit and loss signals that demonstrate whether a good or service is meeting customer standards. In fact, the lack of such mechanisms in the government realm makes state-provided services susceptible to inefficiencies, corruption, and business decisions based on politics, not consumer inputs.
The only sane political voice on this matter has been Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie. In a tweet, he stated, “Let the people choose and the free market can provide.”
The rest of his congressional colleagues should get the memo.