Privatization

Capitalists in Cuba, Communists in Connecticut

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cuban taxi

Want to catch a cab in Havana? Good luck. No new taxi licenses have issued since October 1999, fees are set by the state, and license renewal fees are high. But last week, Cuba took a surprising step and announced that it was going to loosen up the rules, even going so far as to let taxis set their own rates in the city. Rates are still capped, and the number of licenses will be determined by local officials, but it's a pretty big step for Cuba, where nearly all aspects of commerical life are state-controlled:

The move by President Raul Castro's government also breaks with the policies of his ailing brother Fidel, who long accused private taxis—legal and otherwise—of seeking "juicy profits" and fomenting a black market for state-subsidized gasoline that Cuba "had sweated and bled" to obtain.

Unfortunately, capitalism isn't yet on the march for Connecticut taxi drivers. A few large companies dominate the market in the state, and independent taxi drivers are routinely denied licenses after a long wait.

"More than half are rejected in part because they were unable to prove their business was necessary. Imagine if we required a restaurant to prove that a town didn't have too many restaurants before they were allowed to open a new one," said Robert McNamara from the Institute for Justice.

Last month, Connecticut drivers rallied in Hartford to get the state laws changed. There's one advantage they have on their Cuban bretheren—if you tried a stunt like that in Cuba, you'd probably wake up dead.

More on taxi reform here, here, and here.  

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  1. Hmmmmm . . . where is Episiarch to argue against having his streets clogged with taxis?

  2. Communism sure does require a significant suspension of disbelief.

  3. “Communists in Connecticut?” Really?

    Katherine Mangu-Ward, you are by far the worst writer on this site – an embarrassment really. Maybe NRO is hiring? You’d fit in there great.

  4. Cue LurkerBold on merits of Cuba in 5,4,3,2….

  5. Idle question: what happens when a political party decides that all private property should be abolished? Are they like, extra-communists or somethng? Mega-communists? Because if denying cab licenses makes you a communist, clearly the word doesn’t mean much.

  6. MAX HATS, well she did go to Yale, just sayin’

    It’s not a bad post, the title is hyperbole, but that’s the fucking point.

  7. MAX HATS you fool!!! Not worshiping the only remaining libertarian goddess is a punishable offense here!

  8. The more intelligent one is, the easier it is to be intellectually lazy.

  9. I heard a BBC radio show about Cuba in which the host noted that any Cuban with a car was obligated to give rides to hitch-hikers. Being that he had a private car, he used this law to get ordinary citizens into his car where they would talk off the record about how communism sucked. It’s like “Taxi Cab Confessions–Havanna edition”

    Either way, the mandatory free rides rule has gotta hurt the private cabbie business.

  10. Worst? You’re familiar with Steve Chapman right?

  11. The more intelligent one is, the easier it is to be intellectually lazy.

    I must be a genius then, because I can’t work up the interest to figure out what the hell that means.

  12. Actually, I know what it means. I just don’t see the basis for the claim.

  13. Cheeel, MAX. She’s drawing a comparison between Communist Cuba and Connecticut. If Connecticut is to the left of Cuba, it is logical to assume that CT is also communist.

    Of course, you’re right. We’re just talking about regulation of taxis. Extrapolating such a sweeping conclusion on the basis of one issue is absurd. But it’s a tongue-in-cheek way of making a valid point.

  14. Worst? You’re familiar with Steve Chapman right?

    Sorry, but I would vote for any of the Michaels: Moynihan or Young as the worst reason writers

  15. “More than half are rejected in part because they were unable to prove their business was necessary. Imagine if we required a restaurant to prove that a town didn’t have too many restaurants before they were allowed to open a new one,” said Robert McNamara from the Institute for Justice.

    Is Mr. McNamara excluding the concept of moratoria in his imagination?

  16. Everyone that I disagree with is the worst writer!!

  17. *excluding….from

  18. This is a silly thread.

  19. And let’s not forget how much Dave Weigel suxorz.
    And Jacob Sullum.
    And Nick Gillespie.
    And Damon W. Root.
    And that doofus, Tim Cavanaugh.

    Jiminy Christmas! What have I been reading?!?!

  20. Just so you guys know, I’ve never posted here before. All the people using my handle are impostors.

  21. If Connecticut is to the left of Cuba, it is logical to assume that CT is also communist.

    But there is nothing in the post to suggest that CT is to the left of Cuba. The rejection of Taxi licenses in CT seems to be the result of the political influence of several large private corporations, not due to a state-owned taxi industry…a problem, sure, but, sort of, the problem that “communism” was designed to combat (in theory).

  22. All the people using my handle are impostors.

    I’m Brian, and so is my wife…

  23. Indeed . . . IMPOSTER!!! How can people tell? You link to a vegetarian blog in EdinBurgh you idiot!

  24. …you’d probably wake up dead.

    Hey, I’m the only one who can pull that off.

  25. If Nick Gillespie and KMW traded bylines for a week, there would be universal concern that he had suffered some sort of brain injury. Vociferously as I may disagree with the man’s fashion choices, he does have a talent for writing engaging articles that effectively make arguments.

  26. Now what about Cuba’s health care? I’m going to be completely honest with you, I’m not that familiar with it…is it a government run system?

  27. Worst Reason writer…

    Sort of like picking the worst record by Loverboy…what’s the point.

    FWIW, I read H&R for the discussions, not for the writing in the posts, and sometimes the best discussions are generated by the worst posts by the worst Reason writers, so…

  28. “Communists in Connecticut?” Really?

    Katherine Mangu-Ward, you are by far the worst writer on this site – an embarrassment really. Maybe NRO is hiring? You’d fit in there great.

    ZOMG NO WAI!!1 My lack of a sense of humor is your problem! RAAAAGE! Katherine’s posts are usually tongue-in-cheek, which anyone who can read and think should be able to recognize.

  29. Speaking of Gillespie, he appears to have a few admirers in the baseball fan community:

    http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/gawker/2009/01/blagobreasts_01.jpg

  30. Y’know, a really bad Loverboy album doesn’t just happen by itself. It takes lack of care, little or no craftsmanship, and a singular drive to posess no talent.
    REO Speedwagon albums, on the other hand…

  31. Zing. Jordan made my point much better than I did.

    Apology/concession, please, Mr. HATS.

    How do you say that, BTW? If I were to greet you on the street, would I have to scream your last name?

  32. MAX HATS,

    Wait! Now you are suggesting a guy with a Fonzi jacket isn’t “fashionable”? Jesus, man! Who’s gonna fix a jukebox on the fritz? You? With your collared shirt? I think not.

  33. Anybody know where this insane cab licensing policy that has infect all of the USA came from?

    I remember reading about the NYC cab “token” policy back in the 1980s and that seemed pretty crazy even then.

    What the hell is so wrong with giving people rides for a fee that requires such a shitload of paperwork and fees?

  34. Guy,

    Untaxed revenue. Nuff said.

  35. Nobody ever concedes anything in discussion threads, do they? Do you think it’s embarrassment, or do people just convince themselves of the rightness of their argument no matter what?

    Let’s have a long and unproductive discussion about that.

  36. The commies in Conn. line was pretty clearly satire. People obviously getting varying mileage out of it.

  37. erm,

    I disagree. En garde!

  38. Imagine if we required a restaurant to prove that a town didn’t have too many restaurants before they were allowed to open a new one,

    Now ALL restaurants are Taco Bell.

  39. Her last post that I can recall was on how in Pakistan, local police gave a man a permit for an AK-47, because they could not protect him. Thesis: this disproved an argument for the Brady Bill.

    I’m not even joking.

    That’s just off the top of my head.

    And now this post here is just Coultierism, echoes of another widely criticized author whose defenders allege that critics “just don’t have any sense of humor” about. Communists in Cuba did something. A liberal government in the U.S. did something that, if presented totally without context, looks similar. Therefore that liberal government equals communism! Whiz, bang, column done.

    This is all well and good if she’s auditioning for a job on Fox News, which honestly I think is very possible. It is, however, a bit below the usual pattern of operation here.

  40. Devil’s advocate- Taxis operate on public roads, restaurants operate on private property. Not that I support this.

  41. This is H&R and we are in a motha-fucking echo chamber. I dare any of you to claim H&R posts are required to be scholarly arguments with no room for hyperbole or humor.

    The comparison to Coulter, that’s just low man.

  42. If you like it, that’s great. But personally, I come to H&R for a bit of a more open-minded, free-wheeling type of discussion, and that necessitates a level beyond name calling. There is no shortage of conservative or “libertarian” websites that specialize in making baseless comparisons between liberals and, say, Stalin. Not my scene, personally. I was banned in Redstate on day two.

  43. MAX HATS!!!

    *shakes fist in air*

    I move for a ban on MAX HATS!

  44. MAX HATS

    Why do you hate women?

  45. Worst? You’re familiar with Steve Chapman right?

    Sorry, but I would vote for any of the Michaels: Moynihan or Young as the worst reason writer
    Stop arguing! They’re ALL bad.

  46. The conversation elevates above name-calling for those who choose to do so. The beauty of H&R is that its requirements for posting are very libertarian. You can choose any name and have all the anonymity you want. Many of the posters here are very intelligent and willing to spar on civil and throughly reasoned grounds. Some, not so much. The elegance is you have the liberty to choose what you want to get out of it.

    That said, you chose name-calling, how sad.
    Katherine Mangu-Ward, you are by far the worst writer on this site – an embarrassment really.

    You have chosen, poorly.

  47. Phalkor

    Was that last line a reference to “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”? Cuz he didn’t turn to dust.

  48. Cuz he didn’t turn to dust.

    He will eventually.

  49. No, he did turn to dust. All of you impostors are so … so … insensitive.

    [sobs and runs from the room]

  50. MOM!

    You’re embarrassing me

  51. phalkor,

    Whoa! That’s deep man.

  52. Naga Sadow,

    Untaxed revenue. Nuff said.

    But it does not need to be untaxed. It could be given a reasonable tax, just like gum. Well, even more reasonable than that.

  53. Reinmoose the progressive,

    MAX HATS

    Why do you hate women?

    LOL

  54. More than half are rejected in part because they were unable to prove their business was necessary politically connected.

  55. Guy,

    Government is like the mafia. They want to “wet their beaks”. Far easier to create a limited number of players in a given market and tax those that play the game.

  56. NS,

    Yea, I know this but sometime I like to dream ya know.

  57. My bad, Guy. Does it help ya to know that all cities are eventually destroyed? All nation states fall? All species eventually go extinct? The only thing that stands between them and oblivion is time. Cheer up buddy!

  58. Apparently not that city in Turkey, so there is something.

  59. “The move by President Raul Castro’s government also breaks with the policies of his ailing brother Fidel”

    No doubt this will exacerbate Fidel’s post-life crisis.

  60. “”More than half are rejected in part because they were unable to prove their business was necessary. Imagine if we required a restaurant to prove that a town didn’t have too many restaurants before they were allowed to open a new one,” said Robert McNamara from the Institute for Justice.”

    It’s being done to fast food chains in California this very moment.

  61. “Sorry, but I would vote for any of the Michaels: Moynihan or Young as the worst reason writers”

    I respectfully beg to differ…

  62. “Hey, I’m the only one who can pull that off.”

    You’re such a glory-hog.

  63. Guy,

    Istanbul/Byzantium/Constantinople is old. Its been laid waste and pillaged at least a half dozen times. Greeks, Thracians, Romans, Turks, Macedonians, Persians, Sassanids, etc, have all tread it’s confines at one time or another. As for before 400 b.c.? I don’t know.

  64. “He will eventually.”

    Not if submerged in an Irish peat bog.

  65. I have trouble distinguishing between good, better, and best. My ingenius way is to judge by physical considerations. Therefore, KMW is the best writer here.

  66. NS,

    So, it did not go away after all of that? We may have a winner.

  67. Cairo Egypt has been around for a while.

  68. Saree,

    Yea, that one too!

    They should market it as “The Place that Jews Built” or something, but Steinbrenner might sue them for that one.

  69. Guy,

    I believe Jericho dates back to 12,000 B.C. That’s 14,000 years for you people who don’t know who this Christ guy was.

  70. NS,

    So, you just tried to alarm me for the fun of it?

    LOL, good show!

  71. Hit & Run is like a meeting area one half filled with people that tells jokes, and the other half filled with people who can’t take one. It’s a recipe for disaster.

  72. *bows*

    I was just joking even if it is ultimately true.

  73. It’s a recipe for disaster.

    That was a cryptic attack on the free market, wasn’t it? NO NEED TO ANSWER!

  74. NS, and everybody else who likes free markets (yea, that will keep the socialists out huh?),

    The Gas Taxes as Welfare thread is perking up. Some anti-“monopoly” freak just arrived.

  75. I agree with MAX HATS. Just recently I heard “California Uber Alles” and had to write a letter to Jello Biafra pointing out that Jerry Brown has never advocated gassing dissident Californians.

  76. I was part of the security crew for Jello Biafra during a HOPE Con in NYC. That guy is a total ass, but managed to behave well around me.

  77. BTW,
    regarding: Want to catch a cab in Havana? Good luck.

    Taxis are, apparently, readily available for your use in Havanna…

    http://www.cubavacationstravel.com/cuba_taxi_prices.php

    https://www.shutterpoint.com/Photos-ViewPhoto.cfm?id=657563

  78. NM,

    Cuba bought a .com address? Don they know what .com really means?

  79. 2600 Magazine has purchased several .com addresses, but at least to them it is a joke.

  80. Guy,

    I don’t get the impression that the website is run by Cuba. Too many pieces of advise about how to get around the strict laws.

    Check this paragraph:

    any tourist come to Cuba looking for sex and prostitution, We recommend to try to enjoy the different attractions that cuba offer to the visitors instead of being hunting whores or paying gays.
    In this page we give you some tips about what to do and what not to do about having sex in Cuba. but first follow this link to know more about law for sex in Cuba ageofconsent.com/cuba.htm

  81. oops, posted too soon.

    Don’t encourage prostitution by paying cash for sex. It is a slippery slope for all concerned. Say NO!!!. The Cubans will have more respect for you. And you’ll have more respect for yourself. And if you create a proper relationship with a Cuban, you won’t be disappointed with the real passionate sex and affection they’ll show you…Do Never Ever!!! have sex with a girl or a boy younger than 18 years old. law in cuba can be incredibly severe. always check the ID first, if she or he don’t has any stop immediately. in cuba people look older than they are.

  82. So, Neu, you are trying to tell us that some non-governmental entity is doing the “don’t see the hookers” schtic?

  83. Belated note to Max Hats,
    Stay angry! Remember to emphasize your anger by typing in all caps and throwing random insults! Trolls of the world unite!

  84. The sad thing is that when I read the description of Cuba’s taxi system, I said, “Oh, so it’s like New York City, then.” Except that NYC isn’t looking at liberalizing its taxi regulations.

  85. Guy,

    It was more stuff like this that seemed unlikely to come from the government…

    Illegal cabs driven by freelance chauffeurs are everywhere too. Most are beat-up Ladas or American jalopies. You’ll find freelance driver guides outside the largest tourist hotels, and outside discos late at night. Fares are negotiable and you often can hire a car and driver for the whole day for US $20. But you’ll usually pay end up paying more than you would in a tourist taxi. Educate yourself about turistaxi fares to your destination beforehand, as many drivers attempt to gouge you. Beware scams. …

    So bring small gifts with you before you fly to Cuba as they basically have nothing by way of material possessions; anything that you can leave behind they will appreciate .All that we find ‘normal’ in our lives they appreciate very much!”

    Along with tips on getting around customs with Cigars…

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