by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
After a long cross-country flight, I made it out of LAX and into an Uber. I wasn’t in the mood to talk, but the driver was. And hearing that I was a journalist, he wanted to tell me a story. I’ve heard a lot of stories over the years, but this may have been the most important one I let go.
He hadn’t always been driving an Uber at 11:30 at night. Not all that long ago he used to have his own business with 7 trucks before he was bankrupted by California’s insane regulations.
I listened, but didn’t pay enough attention. The impact of California’s Democrat legislative supermajority on truckers was just another data point alongside what was happening to freelancers of all kinds and a lot of small businesses. Stories like this were everywhere and there was little interest in them even in conservative circles outside the tarnished golden state.
Back then we still lived in a world where you could walk into a thousand stores with fully stocked shelves. People ordered from Amazon and expected its burgeoning last mile delivery service to make products magically appear overnight. Just in time inventory systems were more efficient and any day now products would be delivered by self-driving cars or aerial drones.
2020 and 2021 have given this Big Tech fantasy world and the rest of us a good kicking.
The massive supply chain mess that’s leaving stores empty and orders unfulfilled doesn’t have a single point of failure, but dozens of them. China’s energy shortages, the overhyped predictive powers of Big Data, the fragility of the global economy, fuel costs, and welfare state worker shortages are all players. But California’s truck bans are a key link in the great failure chain.