FTC Commissioner Josh Wright, a former TechFreedom Adjunct Fellow, blasted the D.C. Taxicab Commission’s proposal to protect the taxi oligopoly from Uber, Lyft, Hailo and other disruptive Internet-based competitors in the Washington Post:
A wave of creative destruction is now crashing down upon the taxicab industry…. As is to be expected with any outbreak of creative destruction and innovation, consumers are reaping the benefits and entrenched interests are fighting back to suppress this new form of competition. The entrenched interests include not only taxicab drivers but the bodies that regulate them….
The appropriate referee for that competition is not the commission but consumers in the marketplace. Unlike the Taxicab Commission, the FTC does not weigh the interests of various groups in deciding to take action. The FTC serves the interest of only one group: consumers. And in the context of the taxicab industry, the FTC has long made clear through its advocacy efforts that local regulatory bodies should not stand in the way of companies like Uber that use new technology and new business methods to meet consumer demand unless there is the potential for substantial consumer harm.
The FTC has sued to break up such regulated oligopolies in the past. But for now, the Commission is starting with stern comments to regulators captured by the taxicab incumbents they’re supposed to regulate, for example: