The Uber Wolf In Stars N Stripes Clothing

Posted on March 5, 2015 by - Also by this author

By now, we are attuned to how Uber misleadingly speaks the language of free markets and competition in its political and lobbying efforts. The TNC has co-opted the jargon of libertarianism in its fight against regulators and other ground transportation sectors.

As on cue, a cadre of free-market supporters and deregulation advocates has leaped to Uber’s defense, turning the $40 billion capitalized TNC into an innocent poster boy victim of ant-market forces. The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, did an analysis that claims TNCs are “too different from traditional taxis and warrant their own regulation system,” according to an article in U.S. News.

How so? A Transportation Network Company like Uber still puts drivers into cars and charges passengers for rides. Just like a taxi service, a limousine company or a charter bus operation. A TNC simply uses an app to connect provider and passenger instead of a telephone, website or street hail. And many taxi and limo services now offer app-based reservations and ride-prompts as well.

My theory is that Cato has been seduced by linguistinastics. That’s my invented term for some really nasty gymnastics involving the English language. By defining itself as a technology company doing ride-hails as part of a sharing economy, Uber and its acolytes can set the core vocabulary of the debate to tilt the argument field in its favor. A technology-driven ride-hail service that’s part of a sharing economy will sound different than a for-profit ground transportation company that employs people and puts owned metal on the road.

The Cato Institute’s position on Uber and TNCs falls flat. It doesn’t even consider the very basic Constitutional premises of property rights and equality before the law. How free is a limousine service, and how secure is it in its private property, if it must abide by a stricter set of laws than a TNC? If it is categorized differently based on its operational model?

Another unfolding revelation about Uber has been its hiring of former Obama adviser David Plouffe as its publicity maven and political strategist. This is the same political courtesan who served the most anti-Main Street business, pro-crony capitalist, and pro-regulatory Presidential administration in U.S. history.

Don’t think that an ideologue and apologist like Plouffe suddenly has morphed into a free business marketer just because he's doing flack jobs for Uber. He works for Uber because it stands for the same bullying, high-handed, elitist mentality that defines his previous employer. That’s why he’s good in that role.

Limousine companies are overwhelmingly part of Main Street America, i.e. the small business, entrepreneurial, Rotarian, Chamber of Commerce, retail business sector. You won't encounter any big wolves in this crowd. They don't have the billions in capitalization that buys Wall Street level political access and favors.

To find the Cato Institute and David Plouffe on the same side not only makes for strange bedfellows but mocks fair and free market ideals.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More Editor's Edge Blog Posts

December 14, 2016

Bad Driver Behavior Beckons A Driverless World

With or without gadgets in hand, drivers can do the most dreadful things behind the wheel.

November 30, 2016

Populist Peeps On The Rebound

The 2016 election year also marked LCT's own brand of anti-establishment activity.

November 29, 2016

No Sympathy For Passengers With First Class Envy

Air rage among coach class passengers resenting first class occupiers is not rooted in reality.

November 9, 2016

Enough Now: Facebook Hysterics Are Bad For Business

In a nation so evenly split, why do so many fall into the trap of publicly alienating the other 50%?

September 28, 2016

Why So Much Ta-Da, To-Do About Driverless Cars?

Separating hype from human reality will challenge even the smartest driverless technology experts.

See More

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment



See More

See More

See More

See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - January 2017 $12.95 THE MONEY ISSUE COVER STORY: * Dashboard Helps Steer Company Finances * *


Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment


Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close