I never cease to be shocked over how people who I meet on a regular basis are held back by regulations. For instance, I was having a nice conversation with a cab driver who was transporting me to my home after a business trip. He recently came to the country from Africa and he was ecstatic to be living here, especially in beautiful Southern California.
Naturally, I was curious to learn about the different kinds of regulations that taxi drivers must comply with. In California, my driver explained, cab drivers who have a local-government-issued permit to pick up passengers in one city are not necessarily permitted to make pickups in a neighboring city.
“How does this impact you?” I asked him.
He indicated that he often picks up passengers from John Wayne Airport in the city of Santa Ana, where he is licensed, and takes them to Disneyland. But since Disneyland is in the neighboring city of Anaheim, he is legally forbidden to pick up passengers there and take them back to the airport. Instead, he is forced to drive back to the airport without a passenger, wasting his time and costing him a potential fare.
Of course, he could try to jump through the regulatory hoops to get a permit from the city of Anaheim as well. But this requires money, time, and a lot of paperwork. And even if he tries, the city of Anaheim might not give him a permit anyway, because they may want to cap the number of cab drivers who are allowed to operate in their city, just as some other cities do.
This is yet another example of the often unseen aspect of the regulatory state: an imbroglio of rules that make it more cumbersome for decent, hardworking people to earn a living.
(This is cross-posted from Voices for Reason.)