When you see a regulation promulgated in the name of public safety, always ask yourself: Which special interest is profiting off this new intrusion of government?
Often, the answer is: the large incumbent businesses in the industry being regulated.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal has an editorial on the new regulatory moves by the Nevada Transportation Authority, classifying party buses as limousines -- which happen to be strictly capped by NTA rules. Here's the facetious lead:
If it looks like a bus and drives like a bus, then it’s a bus. Unless, of course, the Nevada Transportation Authority soon decides that a bus can be called a limo. In the name of safety, of course, because that’s what regulations are always about. They’re never about suffocating competition.
Here's the meat:
Backers of the new language — primarily the Livery Operators Association, an organization composed of Las Vegas’ six largest limousine, bus and taxi companies — say it’s designed to prevent unlicensed and uninsured out-of-state companies from operating in the city during large conventions and special events. Regulators say such companies are potential threats to public safety.
In addition, the proposed regulation would block charter bus companies from entering the lucrative and growing party-bus industry.
Here's the solid conclusion:
To be blunt, it’s protectionist. Existing companies are using regulations to protect themselves from competition. The Transportation Authority should shoot down this proposal and replace it with a better idea: Stop using government force to stifle competition, and instead, start competing.
Read the whole LVRJ piece. It's good.
For related stories, see the list at the bottom of this old post.