Leslie Linthicum had a great story in yesterday’s Albuquerque Journal. She interviewed a one-man taxi company headed up by a guy she affectionately dubs “taxi Bob.” Aside from praising his personal initiative and the usual “human interest” stuff, she discusses the need for this new taxi company to endure “eight years of applications to the PRC, hearings, lawyers, and challenges from big cab companies” in order to go into business.
As Linthicum notes, “state officials …only allow a new taxi business if there’s a demonstrated need.”
First and foremost, not every businessperson is as tenacious as “Taxi Bob.” Most of them will either abandon their efforts or go to another state that doesn’t have such ridiculous regulations.
More importantly, the government should let the free market determine “demonstrated need.” Even knowledgeable experts in the field have no idea what the market (us) really wants. In 1977, Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, said “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
Oops! Most Americans now have several computers in their home including their cell phones. If government had stepped in an asked Steve Jobs and Bill Gates to “demonstrate need” for their products, the personal computing revolution would have been strangled in the cradle. How many other rules and regulations are there that make New Mexico un-competitive? Stay tuned, we’ll be releasing a “regulation of the day” email starting in January.