Uber learns its lesson: In Washington, you only go legit when you go full crony

Originally posted here.

Before Catherine Ann Novelli, Apple’s VP for “global government affairs,” was nominated as the Obama administration’s under secretary for economic growth, energy, and the environment, Congress used the excuse Apple moved money around to reduce its owed taxes while simply following the tax code to grill its CEO Tim Cook.

Politicians who were angry Apple didn’t use its influence to gain some leverage with lawmakers by creating political action committees used this official investigation to serve as a way to teach Apple – and other companies – just how they must proceed to be allowed to play the game.

The message was clear: either ramp up your lobbying and spend more of your hard-earned money on political campaign efforts, or be prepared for a major Beltway shakedown.

Unlike Apple, Uber – the transportation company that was recently under the spotlight for being threatened by the Taxi cartel – did not wait until a shakedown was put in place to act; the company has recently hiredPresident Obama’s former campaign manager and White House adviser David Plouffe as a senior vice president of policy and strategy.

What does that mean? That his influence in Washington will help assure Uber’s strong ties with government are in place, helping sustain the company’s dominance over the industry.

Unfortunately, that’s the system in Washington; once you hit a political wall, all you need is a strong lobbying presence. As we know, small businesses don’t have the money to pay to play so they are left with only one option: following the rules the big guys write alongside lawmakers.

There’s nothing fair about picking favorites and in Washington, you only go legit when you go full crony. Unfortunately, Uber is going legit and is kicking its competition to the curb in the process.

 

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