Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Target Customers, not producers

SFO Officials Make Citizen Arrests Of Internet Rideshare Drivers « CBS San Francisco: "Dean Clark, a former taxi driver for nearly a decade, said authorities should be targeting the companies rather than the rideshare drivers.

He said the drivers are simply offering rides to people for a donation, and that unlike what the taxi industry claims, many of the drivers are working students, semi-retired people and single parents."

This is another reason that we should write laws to target the customers, not the providers, of services we make illegal. Targeting the customers and the drivers rather than the companies (the equivalent of 'drug kingpins') makes us face the fact that we are punishing people for engaging in an innocent and mutually beneficial transaction. Making ordinary citizens pay the cost of government's support of rent-seeking schemes makes those schemes more politically costly. If you just concentrated on the companies there would be little political cost.

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