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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review December 6, 2012/ 21 Kislev 5773

Let the taxi app roll

By Jonah Goldberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If Hollywood remade "The Graduate" and set it in 1980, the one word the businessman would have for Dustin Hoffman's character wouldn't be "plastics." It'd be "medallions."

That's because the single greatest investment you could have made over the last 30 years isn't in gold or silver or even Apple stock. It's in New York City taxicab medallions.

Since 1980, New York's taxi medallions -- essentially the license to drive a cab in the Big Apple -- have appreciated nearly 2,000 percent, according to one estimate. Prices rose on average 8 percent annually for 30 years, dipping significantly only once -- right after 9/11, calculates economist Ilan Kolet, a writer for Bloomberg.

Medallions have a better rate of return than Class A Berkshire Hathaway shares because New York tightly controls the number of medallions -- and hence the number of taxis -- permitted on city streets. In 1937, that number was 13,566, and it's hovered around there ever since. Medallions cost 10 bucks in 1937 (roughly $160 in today's dollars). Last year, two sold for $1 million each. Government-imposed scarcity and inefficiency created that value, nothing else.

So it's no wonder that New York's cab industry loves its regulators and vice versa. The Taxi and Limousine Commission exists to regulate taxicabs. If taxicabs -- as we know them, at least -- go out of business, what's the point of having a commission?

Such thinking has given birth to a national movement to kill Uber and companies like it. A San Francisco start-up, Uber is a car service that you "hail" with an app on your smartphone. In Washington, where I live, it is a life-changer. It's a bit more expensive than conventional cabs, but because I can't hail a cab in my suburban neighborhood and calling for one can take hours (if they show up at all), a fast and reliable car service is a real boon. The fact that it's a much nicer car that has been cleaned more than once since Jimmy Carter was president is a bonus.

When Uber enters a new city, the last thing it does is ask for permission. Instead, it just adheres to existing laws and hopes it can build up enough popularity before the regulators come to shut it down.

"If you put yourself in the position to ask for something that is already legal, you'll find you'll never be able to roll out," Uber founder Travis Kalanick told the New York Times. "The corruption of the taxi industries will make it so you will never get to market."

In Washington last summer, it was a very close call. The entrenched interests were desperate to kill Uber. The customers -- a.k.a. local voters -- loved it and successfully got the company a reprieve until the end of the year. In 2013, champions of the old way on the D.C. council will take another stab at it, in both senses of the word. And the council will have new ammo on its side. The International Association of Transportation Regulators (who among us doesn't love their work?) met in Washington last month to formulate ways to restore the status quo ante.

Matthew W. Daus, former head of the N.Y. taxi commission, is the president of IATR, and he talks about Uber the way Iranian censors talk about satellite dishes. It's a dangerous "rogue" app, Daus claims.

These big-city regulators nationwide proposed guidelines that have nothing to do with making things better for consumers. IATR wants to ban using GPS devices as a meter to determine fares. Why? Because that's how Uber does it. Another proposed rule would ban receiving a hail over a smartphone while driving. My favorite proposal would simply ban luxury sedan drivers from taking a job that was requested less than 30 minutes ago.

This is like banning a pizza company from promising to deliver in 30 minutes or less because that would be unfair to the established pizza shops that can't manage to deliver hot pizza.

Of course, one frustration I have is that Uber's core customers are precisely the sort of affluent and hip urbanites who routinely vote to empower regulators to meddle in more important parts of our lives -- in health care, manufacturing, etc. And while the thought of them getting what they deserve has its appeal, I'd rather Uber survive and its customers learn from its example. That would be a lesson worth its weight in medallions.

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