Free Market Magic: Uber, NAACP form unlikely alliance in Newark

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Uber may leave Newark, New Jersey if proposed regulations become law and, as we all know, Save Jerseyans, Newark isn’t a city that can afford to scare away the young professionals and business-types who do everything by app.

That’s where they’re headed. You’ve probably heard that if the city government moves forward, drivers for the popular technology transportation company would need to cough up a $500 annual fee operation fee in addition to a $1,000 license to pick up and drop off passengers at both Newark’s airport and Newark Penn Station AND (believe it or not) $1.5 million in insurance. It’s discriminatory even if you don’t like Uber’s economics (though I’d have to wonder if you know how to add?).

Cab drivers pay just $350 annually and are only required to obtain $35,000 insurance policies; there’s no extra cab fee for airport operation. So this isn’t a simple matter of making Uber “play by the rules” as some contend. I’d be fine with that in many cases. This is government applying special rules to protect a key political constituency.

newark uberThe good news for those of us playing the liberty long game? There’s an interesting angle to this story that isn’t getting much play from the mainstream media. Specifically, how Uber continues to drive a wedge between ancient allies in the nearly century-old Democrat urban coalition.

“The people of Newark elected a mayor and a city council who ran on a platform of economic justice and shared prosperity. We ask now that you stand up for those ideals and reject this ordinance,” reads a letter from the NAACP to Newark’s Democrat political leaders, one first reported by PolitickerNJ.com. “Ridesharing apps are helping low income communities climb the economic ladder, and no leader who truly considers the public interest would stand in the way of this progress.”

That’s right! The golden standard for millennial-era free market success is teaming up with one of American liberalism’s leading institutions. In fact, last year, NJ 101.5 reported how Uber and the NAACP were actively working together to recruit Uber drivers in low income New Jersey neighborhoods.

It’s a BIG story getting very little attention. After decades of liberal policies decimating America’s minority families, are we finally seeing the smallest crack of light in the partisan wall?

Okay, okay. I’m not going to get my hopes up for a political realignment tomorrow. These things take time and hard work. If Republicans are smart here (and I’m laughing at myself for asking the question), they’ll get the ball rolling by holding a big press conference in downtown Newark – and broadcast it on social media – with some NAACP and Uber reps standing arm-in-arm, all designed to openly challenge Mayor Ras Baraka and his city council on this job-killing anti-Uber plan.

It might not change the face of the electorate today, granted, but it’s a step in the right direction and may sow seeds of success down the road when young urban professionals of all colors take the reins of local, state and federal elections in the years to come.

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