The problems with “one size fits all” thinking are legion. It stifles creativity. It crushes individuality. It fails to recognize the vast differences in the variables present in every situation. It cannot foresee inevitable changes. And, unless by some happy coincidence you hit upon the absolute best option when you introduce that sort of thinking, it guarantees that you will be working with less than the best solution available. Perhaps a lot less …
In an observation that should surprise no one, let me note Government loves “one size fits all” solutions. Which explains a lot, actually.
We have, right here in Nashville, an excellent example of the folly of such thinking. In June of 2010, the Nashville Metro Council passed a law that fundamentally changed the way limousine services are delivered in our city. Doing so, they applied the “one size fits all” approach in all of its grotesque glory. Only certain vehicles could be used. Those vehicles all had to operate a certain way. Worst of all, they established exactly how much a limousine ride would cost. Prior to the law taking effect, a limo ride would set you back $25. Thanks to the bill, it’s now $45! One size fits all.
Rod Williams, over at A Disgruntled Republican, has the details.
“Drivers were prohibited by law from charging less. Other new regulations forbid limo companies from using leased vehicles, require cars to be dispatched only from the place of business, compel companies to wait 15 minutes before picking up a client, and ban parking in front of hotels and bars to wait for customers. More laws that take effect in January 2012 would also require companies to replace all sedans and SUVs over seven-years-old, and all limos 10-years-old and older. Vehicles older than five years cannot enter into service.”
You may be wondering who on the Council had this bright idea. It wasn’t a Council member at all. It was the owner of a large limo company here in Nashville; Matthew Yorke, president of the Tennessee Livery Association and owner of Signature Transportation. He found something that wasn’t broken and fixed it in a way that put money in his pockets.
Yorke drafted a bill that will pay him more for every limo ride he provides; puts current competitors at a disadvantage at best or closes them down at worst; keeps current competitors from growing and keeps future competitors from getting involved at all and guarantees that he will have more customers that have to pay him more for every ride he provides. Talk about a conflict of interest! Then he takes that bill to the Metro Council AND THEY PASS IT!
I don’t know about you but I am unaware of any crisis in the limo business that required fixing by the Council. Did we have too many people working in that field for some reason? Were there tourists and customers complaining that they weren’t paying enough for the service and demanding to hand over even more of their money for a ride downtown? Did the Council get a petition from Nashvillians and those planning trips here complaining that there were too many companies and that competition was driving prices down and service levels up? What, exactly, were they fixing with this bill.
At a minimum, they were fixing prices. The Government acted to specifically benefit a select company or two and penalize everyone else, including the public! That fixing of prices made life more expensive for Nashville and those who are here long term or short term; from the business traveler to students going to Prom. This is a problem that never should have happened. Since it has, THIS needs to be fixed.
Fortunately, Councilman Davette Blalock, a voice of sanity just elected to the Council, has a bill to do just that. Tomorrow night, Tuesday the 20th, the Metro Council will have a second reading on Council bill BL2011-49 that would repeal the price fixing aspect of the current law. Those of us who are interested in sound governance, individual liberty, freedom of choice, Free Markets, Capitalism and the entire panoply of sound fiscal options that created a robust US Economy should support Blalock’s bill.
Contact your Councilman and tell him that you want him to support Davette Blalock’s bill. Tell him to stop fixing things that aren’t broken. Tell him to stop price fixing in Nashville!