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  • Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational and a blog of the same name, explores NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to make bus fare free.  Bloomberg’s plan is to eliminate fares on a few of the fares in the hopes of speeding up the famously slow buses.  How would this help?  The plan assumes that there are significant time savings to be had from avoiding the time it takes passengers to dig out their MetroCard or scrape together the fare in cash and change when entering the bus.  Ariely rightly points out that those savings will likely be canceled out by a corresponding increase in riders–either because there is no cost associated with riding the bus, or because “free is exciting” (PDF).
  • Signs that we are entering the trough of the current recession, as job losses dropped to their lowest levels since August of 2008.
  • One of the more worrisome aspects of this recession and the corresponding meltdown in credit is the rising barrier to employment based on bad credit reports.  In general, business can use credit reports to inform their hiring decisions, but most of the time credit histories cannot be the sole basis for denying an applicant a position.  In many cases, business must make a strong connection between a person’s credit history and the job they will be performing (e.g. poor credit combined with handling cash or clients’ sensitive financial data)–or should in order to protect themselves against litigation.  As an expert in the area of pre-employment screening, I don’t have a problem with businesses conducting broad diligence on prospective employees.  I do have a problem with businesses that are not rigorous in their understanding of the law, best practices, and practical considerations about data accuracy and fairness (e.g. credit reports are one of the most susceptible records to fraud and inaccuracies)