Signs and Wonders
Flightcar CEO Rujul Zaparde poses outside a small rental shack on their lot in Burlingame, Calif.
Associated Press/Photo by Eric Risberg
Flightcar CEO Rujul Zaparde poses outside a small rental shack on their lot in Burlingame, Calif.

Signs and Wonders: California cracks down on entrepreneurs


Sharing economy. Does it make sense to you that there’s one parking lot at the airport where thousands of cars sit and people pay for them to do nothing, and there’s another parking lot with thousands of cars owned by the rental car companies? It didn’t make sense to 18-year-old Rujul Zaparde, so with 19-year-old co-founders Kevin Petrovic and Shri Ganeshram, he founded FlightCar. Their business operates in San Francisco and uses people’s cars while they are traveling. The business gives car owners a share of the proceeds, free airport parking, and a car wash in exchange. Because they call what they do an “exchange” and not a “rental,” they avoid some government regulations, such as paying 10 percent of profits and $20 per transaction to the airport. That’s why San Francisco has sued the teenage entrepreneurs. And this is not the first time California government has used its weight to stifle innovation. Last year, the California Public Utilities Commission issued cease-and-desist orders and $20,000 fines to San Francisco-based ride-sharing companies Lyft and Sidecar, saying the companies needed permits certifying drivers are properly screened, licensed, and insured. It later lifted the orders. We’re learning anew the truth of Ronald Reagan’s famous saying: “Government is not the solution. It’s the problem.”

Europe’s real story. A look to Europe also makes Reagan’s point. One area where the comparison might be instructive is when it comes to economic growth, since there’s an abundance of data with which to make comparisons. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has done just such a study. It’s conclusion: “Most European countries have cut neither spending nor taxes. But European governments that have cut both spending and taxes as part of their austerity programs have higher rates of economic growth than their neighbors.” According to CEI’s Matthew Melchiorre, “European countries that have reduced the economic footprint of their public sectors have more prosperous economies. The United States, beset by high levels of unemployment, discouraged workers, and economic uncertainty, is on pace to increase its spending and taxes through the end of this decade. … Washington ought to take a lesson from Europe. When recession hits, the public sector cannot be shielded from the austerity necessary for the economy to return to sustainable growth.”

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Life advances in Ohio. At first glance, it’s a budget bill: Ohio’s Republican Gov. John Kasich signed a two-year, $62 billion state budget yesterday that reduces state income tax by $2.6 billion. But, in an example of how such mundane matters as the budget process have moral implications, the new budget also eliminates funding from Planned Parenthood, blocks public hospitals from arranging transfer agreements with abortion clinics, and requires abortion providers to provide ultrasounds to women seeking abortions. Ohio has 12 abortion facilities. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio said the new budget could force many clinics to close. “Today Gov. Kasich enacted measures that prescribe medically unnecessary procedures, force doctors to mislead their patients, and will force quality medical centers to close,” said Kellie Copeland, executive director of the group. Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, praised Kasich, saying it will protect women and save babies’ lives. The budget will go into effect today.

Polygamists celebrate. Across America this weekend, homosexuals gathered in so-called “Pride Parades.” This year, they celebrated the recent U.S. Supreme Court Decisions regarding the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. But they’re not the only ones celebrating. Polygamists are, too. “We're very happy with it,” said Joe Darger, a Utah polygamist. “I think [the court] has taken a step in correcting some inequality, and that’s certainly something that’s going to trickle down and impact us.” Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council says, “Proponents of ‘plural marriages’ are riding the homosexual movement’s wave of success all the way to legitimacy. They’re using the same playbook, the same sound bites, and after all, who are we to say that two or three or nine consenting adults shouldn’t be able to make the same commitment? Love is love, right?”

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren is vice president of mission advancement for The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and the host of WORLD Radio’s Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.


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