WaPo Article on Police Listening in on Skype Conversations

I guess we had better watch what we say this Saturday….



Small and Medium Sized Firms Say “No Thanks” to Tax Breaks

Here’s a Wall Street Journal cover story on how the complexity and attendant costliness of applying for, receiving, and following up on tax breaks is causing small and medium sized firms to say “no thanks,” thus leaving those financial incentives to the bigger companies who can afford to spread the cost of handling these things over a larger base of operations.



Gross vs. Net

This article, about a proposed casino in North Jersey, raises the importance of understanding what is gross versus what is net.  In other words, if the new casino will generate 100 units of economic impact for New Jersey, but 60 of those units are just internally shifting from within the state, then the net impact of the casino isn’t +100, it’s +40, and from an ROI standpoint it’s the +40 and not the +100 that the state should be looking at.




The Philadelphia Inquirer published an interesting article this week on a new cab/limo service called Uber, which is now operating in Philadelphia. 


The service costs almost twice as much as an ordinary cab, but by using a free app on your smartphone you can instantly summon a car to your location by tapping a button, ride in a shiny black Lincoln Town Car, and enjoy free cold water bottles while you ride. Additionally, the app instantly charges your account for the cost of your ride (tip included) so you do not have to worry about having cash on hand. 

I found this concept interesting, and worthy of a discussion on multiple points.

  • Some local cab companies are getting upset arguing that Uber should not be allowed since Uber cars that act as a hybrid taxi/limo service did not register for an official Philadelphia cab license and do not follow licensing rules to operate (I believe Uber is arguing there is a loophole that applies to their service since they are not officially taxis).  
  • What prevents people from accidentally butt-dialing Uber and ordering a ride? Do you think there are consequences if people order an Uber car, and then end up not waiting around until the car arrives at their location?
  • Would you pay for this service?
  • Interesting Note: they just opened a London Uber service in time for the Summer Olympics