Saturday, November 22, 2014

Is There Really Much Difference Between The Two Political Parties?

John C. Goodman writes:

If you listened to the candidates on TV during the last election, you would think the fate of western civilization hung in the balance when voters chose between Democratic and Republican candidates for office. Yet when you look at actual governing decisions, the difference between the two major political parties is far from obvious.

This is most evident at the state and local level, where columnistJosh Barro observes that it’s not clear Republicans are any more pro-market than Democrats when it comes to business regulation. For example:
  • Despite more than a decade of solid Republican rule, Florida is one of just three states requiring a license to practice interior design.
  • If you live in Florida you also need a license to braid other people’s hair, or auction their property, or run a ballroom dance studio.
  • Laws restricting the sale of coffins to licensed funeral directors, which impose large markups on their customers, have existed mostly in strongly Republican states in the South; the one remaining state with such restrictions is Republican dominated Oklahoma.
In August, the Republican National Committee urged supporters to sign a petition in support of Uber, which is “cutting into the taxi unions’ profits.” But at the local level, Republican office holders are as bad as or worse than Democrats. The R Street Institute has released a report grading 50 cities across the United States on the regulation of car services — ranging from taxis to limos to transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. It discovered no clear partisan trend. Among the findings: 

  • The eight cities receiving failing grades include ones in blue areas (Philadelphia and Portland, Ore.) and red ones (Omaha, Phoenix and San Antonio).
  • Democratic California is one of just two states to have enacted a comprehensive, statewide regulatory framework that is friendly to an open taxi/limo market; the other is Colorado, also run by Democrats.

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