Today’s Links: April 13, 2012


MEGAN MCARDLE: “Why You Can’t Get a Taxi
“Where I live in Washington, D.C., about a mile and a half north of the Capitol, you can sometimes get a taxi in two minutes flat. And sometimes, after spending 20 minutes wistfully waving two fingers in the air while the traffic hurtles past, you have to give up and trudge to the train. […] What I’m describing is a classic market failure: people who are willing to do business together can’t make it happen. If taxis and passengers only knew how to find each other, and could strike deals that would appeal to both, everyone would be better off. Why can’t we fix this? As it turns out, a small but rapidly growing business is trying.”

ETHAN EPSTEIN: “Defining ‘Food Deserts’ Down
“[T]hanks to a program called the Healthy Retail Initiative — administered by Multnomah County, home of Portland, and funded by federal money from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — another neighborhood store, El Compadre Market, has received taxpayer money to ‘increase community access to healthy, affordable food.’ El Compadre, which doubles as a restaurant selling greasy burritos and hamburgers, has received $4,500 in public money to buy grains and install a walk-in freezer. So far, Multnomah County has doled out grants of up to $4,500 each to at least 22 Portland stores, all in the name of providing ‘access’ to fresh food. Many recipients, like El Compadre, stand in close proximity to grocery stores.”

REASON TV: “D.C. Escalator Nightmare” (VIDEO)


LEGAL –  Class Claims At&T Aids and Abets Cellphone Thieves, for Profit
“AT&T has aided and abetted cellphone thieves for years by reactivating stolen phones, particularly iPhones, and fraudulently telling customers that it “cannot” block calls to and from the stolen phones – so customers will have to buy new ones – a class action claims in Superior Court.”

GAS – U.S. Inflation Mild as Gas Prices Rise More Slowly
“Gas prices rose more slowly in March, keeping overall U.S. inflation mild.”

FINANCIAL – ‘Card-Linked Offers’ Gain Traction–and Privacy Worries
“More lenders are cashing in on their transaction data as they look to spur card use and capture new sources of revenue, boosting customers’ ability to earn discounts but sparking privacy concerns about such ‘card-linked offers’ at the same time.”