March 9, 2011

Going to jail for giving people rides

By Going to jail for giving people rides

Author: Timothy Sandefur

Aspen, Co., taxi driver Phil Sullivan spent more than a week behind bars for giving people rides for which they sometimes would slip him a little money. He doesn't have a license with the state's Public Utilities Commission, you see. But Sullivan is unrepentant, and says he's going to go right on giving people rides:

There is absolutely nothing that I can think of that's wrong with what I do. I drive a car, I've got a license, I'm insured. There's nothing wrong with that. I pick up people. I've been picking them up for years and years, strangers and friends, not only in Aspen but in the streets of Chicago and the streets of Stockton, Ill., etc., and I take them where I want to go and I've had nice times talking to them and I take them to their destination. I generally help them into their house if they need to be there. There's absolutely nothing wrong with what I do.

Taxi licensing laws are a scandal in a nation that pledges itself to freedom of choice and the right to pursue happiness. As I write in The Right to Earn A Living, these laws restrict economic opportunity for those entrepreneurs most in need of economic freedom, and benefit politically well-established companies at the expense of the consumer. Whatever one thinks of Sullivan's civil disobedience, these types of restrictions on taxi services should all be abolished.

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