Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

By Marketplace

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Rate for this podcast

Subscribers: 2880
Reviews: 14

Brianne
 Nov 14, 2020
They keep me sane while delivering education about current topics.


 Sep 24, 2020

Alex
 Sep 19, 2020
Love this show!

A Podcast Republic user
 Aug 14, 2020

Aman
 May 29, 2020
This is incredibly essential podcast, coronavirus or not. Kai, Molly and the crew are a joy and cut through the partisan bs straight to the facts.

Description

Hosted by Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood, Make Me Smart With Kai & Molly is now a daily news podcast that breaks down the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the most complex topics of the week. Together, we make sense of today. Because none of us is as smart as all of us.


Episode Date
Climate change won’t just trash the Earth — it’ll hurt the economy, too
00:18:27

Climate change is an existential risk to so much life on on this planet, but sometimes the bottom-line risks are more compelling to the people making the decisions. We hate to be so mercenary about this, but let’s talk about it. Plus, a reminder that the pandemic isn’t over, why you don’t humanize robots and the politicking around infrastructure and the debt.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Join us on YouTube Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Apr 23, 2021
How to turn real coins (sort of) into bitcoins
00:14:00

One of our listeners noticed that the Coinstar machine at her local grocery store is dealing in bitcoins now, and she’s wondering how that works. We’ll talk about the how and the why of bitcoin ATMs on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Plus, more listener questions and comments about the restaurant business, cicadas and good ol’ fashioned stocks.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Apr 22, 2021
We are finally talking about reparations
00:43:20

For nearly a decade, the Black Lives Matter movement has called attention to the everyday injustices Black Americans endure, helping to build understanding around issues from systemic racism in the criminal justice system to the racial wealth gap. Now Congress is starting to act. Today on “Make Me Smart,” we spoke with William A. Darity Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen, co-authors of the book “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century,” about the federal government might amends for the harm inflicted on generations of Black citizens by discriminatory public policies. Darity and Mullen walked us through the history and laid out the central characteristics they believe a reparations plan should address.

Here are links to everything we talked about today:

Apr 21, 2021
Guaranteed basic income is taking hold
00:17:40

The city of Oakland, California, announced a guaranteed income pilot program back in March, and now Mayor Eric Garcetti is proposing a similar plan in Los Angeles to combat poverty and aid the economic recovery. The idea of providing people living in poverty some level of basic income has been around for decades. If adopted, Los Angeles would be the biggest U.S. city to try out the policy. Plus, California is buying hotels to house the homeless, and NASA flew a helicopter on Mars!

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Join us on YouTube Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Apr 20, 2021
The Biden administration’s first big faux pas
00:24:30

The White House is walking back its plan to keep the cap on refugees at the historic low set by the Trump administration. President Joe Biden had previously indicated he wanted to raise the limit from 15,000 to several times that, and after much backlash his press secretary now says a final number will be announced next month. On today’s show, we’ll talk about that policy and the administration’s first big stumble. Plus: Kai Ryssdal’s piping hot take on the boba shortage and another round of Half Full/Half Empty.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube! Join us every Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific/6:30 p.m. Eastern for happy hour! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Apr 17, 2021
The system is broken
00:22:04

When you do the numbers on how many people police killed in nonviolent incidents just last year — to say nothing of the video and testimony coming out of multiple American cities this week alone — you can’t come to any other conclusion. This is a broken system. Also on the docket today, with guest host Marielle Segarra: A third vaccine, dating in the pandemic, the U.S. Postal Service and the “denim cycle.”

Here’s everything we talked about on the show today:

Apr 16, 2021
How do we know Coinbase is safe?
00:18:20

As a follow-up to yesterday’s show about cryptocurrencies, one of our listeners wants to know if Coinbase, which went public today, is really a reliable way to buy and sell bitcoin and other blockchain-backed assets. We’ll try and answer without thinking too hard about the money Molly might have lost when another exchange got hacked. Plus, your questions about vaccine appointment bots, the fallout from the mess in the Suez Canal and Kai pulls back the curtain a bit on “Marketplace.”

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Finally: We need your voice memos! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood to answer! Here’s how to do it.

Apr 15, 2021
Bitcoin is getting real. What now?
00:32:44

We talk to Gil Luria, the director of research at D.A. Davidson, about who wins and who loses in the mainstreaming of Bitcoin. Plus: Gil answers your questions about Bitcoin mining and the related math problems that are hard to get our heads around.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Molly’s interview with Gil: “Don’t look now, but Bitcoin is going mainstream,” from “Marketplace Tech”

The 2013 article referencing Gil’s first note about Bitcoin: “Bitcoin Could Be Worth 10-100x Current Price – Analyst,” from StreetInsider.com

SPAC Boom Faces New SEC Threat With Accounting Crackdown” from Bloomberg

Darius, ‘World’s Longest Rabbit,’ Is Missing” from The New York Times

Apr 14, 2021
What to watch for in tomorrow’s inflation numbers
00:16:10

We’re going to get the latest year-over-year inflation data early tomorrow morning. It will, in all likelihood, be followed by some misleading headlines — remember what was happening a year ago? Today, we’ll tell you what to keep an eye on. Plus: Kai and Molly talk about Alibaba, fire season, Mars and rhinos to round out this catch-up, grab-bag episode.

Here’s what we talked about today:

Finally: We need your voice memos! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood to answer! Here’s how to do it.

Apr 13, 2021
The weirdest trade secrets
00:24:38

Guest host Scott Tong brought a truly wild story to this grab-bag Friday episode. Coca-Cola is accusing a former employee of stealing trade secrets — not the formula for what goes in the can, but the can itself. We’ll talk about it, some other weird trade secrets and, oh yeah, a 3,000-year-old lost city in Egypt. Plus, another round of our favorite game, “Half Full/Half Empty.”

Here’s everything we talked about on the show today:

Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube for happy hour today! We’re live each Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Apr 10, 2021
The cost of hygiene theater
00:20:13

You can stop cleaning your groceries now. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention affirmed this week what scientists have known for months: COVID-19 is spread primarily through the air, and everyone can tone it down with the wipes and disinfecting sprays. But what could individuals and businesses have been doing while the CDC waited to let us know? Kimberly Adams and Meghan McCarty Carino talk about it, along with the latest disturbing testimony in Derek Chauvin’s trial. But we’re not all hollowed out today. We’ll also chat about LeVar Burton, “Jeopardy!” and anime for Anglophiles.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Apr 09, 2021
With so many working from home, why not turn empty offices into homes?
00:20:52

Even before COVID-19, there was a housing crisis in much of this country. Now, cities like San Francisco have millions of square feet of empty office space and a persistent housing shortage. One of our listeners wants to know: Why can’t one problem be the other’s solution? We’ll talk about it. Plus, the economic cost of racism against Asian Americans, the changing cosmetics industry and a whole bunch of TV recs.

Here are links to everything we talked about today:

Apr 08, 2021
What’s driving the humanitarian crisis at the border
00:40:08

Don’t call it a border crisis. What’s happening at the U.S.-Mexico border — a greater number of migrants, especially unaccompanied minors, with an administration unprepared to process and shelter them all — was actually pretty predictable, said “Reveal” immigration reporter Aura Bogado. On today’s show, Kimberly Adams and Andy Uhler talk with Bogado about what’s changed between administrations and what hasn’t, and the larger economic and climate forces driving the migration each year.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Apr 07, 2021
Let’s talk about the big Amazon labor story. No, the other one.
00:18:13

With your regular hosts on spring break this week, Kimberly Adams is joined by Marketplace workplace culture reporter Meghan McCarty-Carino to talk all things Amazon. The Bessemer, Alabama, union vote isn’t the only labor issue facing the nation’s second-largest private employer. Plus: The changing face of vaccine hesitancy, cicada season and First Contact Day.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Finally: We need your voice memos! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood to answer! Here’s how to do it.

Apr 06, 2021
MLB vs. Georgia Republicans
00:25:35

Yes, it’s the predictable sequel to yesterday’s discussion about corporate America and Georgia lawmakers. This time, we’re talking about Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All-Star Game, the reaction from politicians on both sides of the aisle and MLB’s carveouts from federal law. Plus, we play another round of “Half Full/Half Empty,” with more sports talk and more blockbuster showdowns.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube today! We go live each Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our happy hour episode! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Apr 03, 2021
Georgia Republicans vs. Delta
00:17:25

The PR flap over Georgia’s new voting law gives us an interesting look at something we talk about a lot: The promise and peril of corporations acting as a check on the government. Or at least, it’s an object lesson in why companies are not your friend and — news flash — some politicians are hypocrites. Also on the docket today: Is Miami really all that great?

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Join us on YouTube Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Apr 02, 2021
What you should know about “family offices”
00:20:38

Investment firms managing private wealth don’t have to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission and are responsible for some $6 trillion. The collapse of Archegos Capital has one of our listeners worried about the economic ripple effects. We’ll talk about it. Plus, more listener questions about Modern Monetary Theory and the Suez Canal fallout.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Apr 01, 2021
40 years later, is this the end of Reaganomics?
00:32:50

It’s been 40 years since President Ronald Reagan said, “Government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem.” Now we’re in a new crisis, with plenty of data on the “trickle-up” consequences of trickle-down economics and a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill. Reagan had “Morning in America,” Joe Biden has “Infrastructure Week.” On today’s show, we’ll talk with political economist Mark Blyth about how Reaganomics was supposed to work, its ripple effects on Democrats and whether the era of “the era of big government is over” is … over.

Here are links to everything we talked about on the show today:

Mar 31, 2021
What if the pandemic had ended in June?
00:14:00

With the end of the pandemic maybe (maybe!) in sight, Kai and Molly are contemplating what their work lives have gained and lost in the past year. If COVID-19 had been brought under control in three to six months, would a return to, say, commuting feel as scary? Plus: Now that the Ever Given has been dislodged from the Suez Canal, it’s time to talk about the economic conditions that landed us here.

Here are links to everything we talked about today:

Mar 30, 2021
Are you ready to go back to the office?
00:26:00

Big Tech is. Facebook, Google and other companies armed with the data to look ahead on this pandemic are slowly but surely bringing employees back in. On today’s show, Molly and Kai contemplate sitting in traffic once again. Plus, we go “Half Full/Half Empty” on inflation, movie theaters, “Peepsi” and much more on this Friday grab-bag episode.

Here are links to everything we talked about today:

Thanks to everyone who joined us for our live happy hour on YouTube today! We go live every Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Mar 27, 2021
Boats are taking the long way around the Suez Canal
00:15:26

What can we say? Like many people, we simply can’t look away from the big honkin’ ship that’s stuck in the Suez Canal. Today, we’ll talk about the scale of that traffic jam, the many container ships that are resorting to taking the long way around Africa and Defector’s children’s book treatment of the story. Plus: Alan Turing on currency, the continued erosion of cash bail in California and some great news about our kids podcast “Million Bazillion.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Mar 26, 2021
NFTs are “monetized FOMO”
00:16:00

We already know the “what” of nonfungible tokens: They’re blockchain-backed digital media, bought and sold for a shocking amount of money while pumping an even more shocking amount of carbon into the atmosphere. What one of our listeners wants to know is the “why.” We’ll talk about it. Plus, listener questions about hot chicken, the national debt and the mess at the Suez Canal.

Here’s everything we talked about on the show today:

Mar 25, 2021
What’s the tax gap, and how do we close it?
00:27:00

New research shows that the top 1% of Americans underreport their income by more than 20%, and the government could raise trillions more over time by collecting on it. No hikes — just enforcing the tax code as it stands. On today’s show, we’re diving into the tax gap. Samantha Jacoby of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities walks us through how the wealthiest Americans hide their money, the incentive structures that got us to this point and why 2021 is a great year to start addressing the problem.

Here are links to everything we talked about on the show today:

Mar 24, 2021
Vaccine supply and demand are about to flip
00:16:30

With 127 million “jabs” administered in America so far, and more manufacturers on their way to FDA approval, the market for vaccines is about to change very quickly. What happens to the holdouts? We’ll talk about it. But first, a bit of news on Facebook and online privacy. Plus a new tool to get out of your Zoom meetings.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Mar 23, 2021
What this country thinks of women
00:26:30

We’ll start out this episode talking about the viral video of the, let’s say, different facilities for men and women inside the March Madness bubble, and quickly take the 30,000 foot view. Plus, the pot crackdown in the Biden White House and another round of Half Full/Half Empty.

Here are links to everything we talked about today:

Biden White House Sandbags Staffers, Sidelines Dozens for Pot Use” from Politico

NCAA vows to improve conditions at women’s basketball tournament, as outcry continues” from The Washington Post

NCAA president Mark Emmert says no risk difference between men’s, women’s COVID-19 tests” from USA Today

House votes to reauthorize Violence Against Women Act” from CBS News

IRS will delay tax filing due date until May 17” from Associated Press

Uber to give U.K. drivers minimum wage, retirement plan and more” from “Marketplace Morning Report”

Amazon says it will offer employers telemedicine services” from “Marketplace Morning Report”

Toys R Us, under new ownership, plans to open stores” from “Marketplace Morning Report”

Next on Democrats’ agenda, a “holistic” infrastructure bill” from “Marketplace”

Mar 20, 2021
It’s been a long year. You deserve a nap.
00:14:40

We’re learning all about “pandemic trauma and stress experience” today, and why it’s a good reason to cancel your plans and rest a bit. But first, we’ll talk about the giant corporations trying to hold one another accountable, and Kai gets a lesson in British phraseology.

Here’s a list of what we talked about today:

NBC breaks silence on Golden Globes controversy, acknowledging its role in ‘necessary changes’” from the LA Times

NAACP to NFL: Don’t ‘fund Fox News’ hatred, bigotry, lies and racism‘” from USA Today

Biden plans to send COVID shots to Mexico, Canada” from the Associated Press

It’s not just you: Why everyone is super exhausted right now” from Salon

Join us on YouTube Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Mar 19, 2021
Where does the money for stimulus checks come from?
00:19:34

Stimulus payments are hitting bank accounts all over the country. Before they go out and spend that stimmy, one listener is wondering where the money for those $1,400 checks came from. We’ll explain, plus talk about the inflationary implications. Plus: a crash course on Big Tech antitrust and leprechaun traps.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Mar 18, 2021
The changing face of America’s unions
00:35:00

About 10% of the American workforce belonged to a union in 2020. That’s way down from about a third in 1970, but unions are making gains lately — and not where you might expect. Workers in Big Tech, media and other “knowledge workers” are organizing, along with people in jobs that didn’t exist 50 years ago, like Amazon warehouse workers. On today’s show, we’ll talk with Lane Windham, associate director of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University, about this new wave of labor organizing, what it means for blue-collar work and what comes next with President Joe Biden in the White House.

Here are links to everything we talked about on the show today:

Mar 17, 2021
3 feet? 6 feet? Why are COVID rules still changing?
00:16:40

Show of hands: Who’s still cleaning off their groceries? As the COVID-19 pandemic has worn on, experts have developed a better understanding of the disease, the way it spreads and how to treat it. But when the science is fluid and the government response is patchy, a lot can get lost in translation. That’s what we’re talking about today. But first: law enforcement, Big Tech and the Proud Boys.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Finally, we’re raising money for a new season of Marketplace’s kids podcast, “Million Bazillion.Donate today and your contribution will be matched dollar for dollar!

Mar 16, 2021
Joe Biden, Ronald Reagan and the “Great Society”
00:24:00

We’re revisiting a forgotten Ronald Reagan speech on today’s show. As President Biden’s new COVID-19 relief bill rolls out, Reagan’s 1966 “The Myth of the Great Society” speech is making Kai think some big thoughts on government programs and time. Plus, we talk about Netflix password-sharing, virtual conferences and Reese’s all-peanut-butter cups in another round of “Half Full/Half Empty.”

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube today! We go live every Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern. Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Mar 13, 2021
Facebook is cigarettes
00:18:00

How else to think about a massive company that knows its products cause harm but can’t do anything about it without undercutting its business interests (not to mention the addiction factor)? Today, we’ll talk about the parallels between Facebook’s AI and Big Tobacco. Plus: Kai and Molly in spaaaace!

Here are links to everything we talked about today:

Join us live on YouTube Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Mar 12, 2021
How worried should you be about the Microsoft email hack?
00:14:35

With so many high-profile data breaches in the news — Solar Winds wasn’t that long ago, neither were the settlements for Equifax — it can be hard to know how concerned to get, and easy to sort of numb out until it directly affects you. Today, we’ll sort through all that and answer listener questions about the child tax credit, container ships and more.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Mar 11, 2021
Is this finally the moment Americans get universal child care?
00:38:03

We don’t need to tell you America has a child care problem. Many of you can feel it. We certainly can; one of our producers changed a diaper during today’s taping. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown this problem into sharp relief — women’s workforce participation rate is at a 30-year low — but it’s not new. On today’s show, University of Maryland professor emerita Sonya Michel talks about the history of government-sponsored child care in this country, its economic benefits and whether the new, $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill could actually bring about long-term solutions.

Mar 10, 2021
Why aren’t more women in charge at the Pentagon?
00:15:00

We talked a bit last month about the Pentagon slow-walking some promotions of female generals over fears then-President Donald Trump would quash them. Now, President Joe Biden appears poised to place women on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On this, International Women’s Day, we’ll talk about it. But first: More on vaccine misinformation and the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, plus the best New York-style bagels in America.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Mar 09, 2021
Do we dare buy MLB tickets?
00:21:00

California theme parks and sports stadiums could reopen with limited attendance as early as next month. Between that and the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine, is it too early to let ourselves get excited for baseball season and a trip to Disneyland? We’ll discuss. But first, a bit more on Johnson & Johnson hesitancy and an update on the Texas power grid situation. Plus, as always, another round of Half Full/Half Empty.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Thanks to everyone who joined us today for Economics on Tap, our live happy hour on YouTube. We do it every Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern. Subscribe to our channel and turn on notifications so you don’t miss the next one.

Mar 06, 2021
Don’t overthink it: Get the COVID-19 vaccine
00:17:31

There’s a new COVID-19 vaccine rolling out, from Johnson & Johnson. Maybe you’ve heard it’s less effective than the two-shot regimens from Pfizer and Moderna. That’s technically true, but there’s more to that number. Today we’ll spend a little time talking about what you should worry about and what you shouldn’t about the vaccines. Plus: the results of a long experiment in universal basic income.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

The Latest Case of Vaccine Alarmism” from The New York Times

In the Atlantic Ocean, Subtle Shifts Hint at Dramatic Dangers” also from The New York Times

After third large quake near New Zealand, tsunami concerns from South Pacific to Central America” from The Washington Post

In Iceland, 18,000 Earthquakes Over Days Signal Possible Eruption on the Horizon” from The New York Times

Stockton’s Basic-Income Experiment Pays Off” from The Atlantic

Mothers Are Regaining Jobs, Even While Shouldering Pandemic Burdens at Home” from The New York Times

Join us live on YouTube Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Mar 05, 2021
Paramount+ launches tomorrow. How many streaming services is too many?
00:15:20

You have to answer that one for yourself. But as the streaming market gets even more crowded with Paramount+ arriving tomorrow, we have a listener who wants to know what will happen to Netflix — how long does the first-mover advantage last? Plus, your questions about the COVID relief bill, consumer spending and electric cars.

Here’s everything we talked about on the show today:

What’s in the House’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan” from The Washington Post

Senate Democrats still finishing their Covid relief bill as vote timing creeps toward the weekend” from CNN

Auto industry wants more government support for electric vehicles” from CNBC

We’re buying a lot more stuff these days” from Marketplace

Netflix broke subscriber records in 2020. Will it slow down?” from the LA Times

Join us live on YouTube Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.
Mar 04, 2021
People, at scale
00:26:41

If current labor trends hold, the company of the future won’t have any employees outside of the C-suite. That’s the focus of our documentary podcast “The Uncertain Hour.” This season is about jobs and how the idea of “employment” as we once knew it is disappearing, replaced by temp, subcontracted or gig workers. But what made companies fall out of love with employees? Producer Peter Balonon-Rosen is here to talk us though it.

Mar 03, 2021
How much do we really “need” sports?
00:16:41

For a year now, the national pastime has been baking bread, watching Netflix and muting/unmuting in Zoom. If you’re lucky, anyway. The major sports teams would tell you they’re a balm in “these unprecedented times” but the numbers don’t really bear that out. On today’s show, we’ll talk about the interesting Jemele Hill piece in The Atlantic, “America Didn’t Need Sports After All.” Plus: When does a cyberattack become a war crime?

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Some COVID death analysis on the TL

America didn’t need sports after all” from The Atlantic

China Appears to Warn India: Push Too Hard and the Lights Could Go Out” from The New York Times

Biden works to unify Senate Democrats on $1.9 trillion relief bill” from The Washington Post

First vaccine to fully immunize against malaria builds on pandemic-driven RNA tech” from the Academic Times

Social studies and civics education guidance from The Washington Post

Mar 02, 2021
We already know what happens in 2024
00:19:56

After watching some of the news out of CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, Kai Ryssdal thinks he has a pretty good idea of where the Republican Party and the U.S. government are headed in the next few years. Today, we’ll kick the tires on that prediction and talk a bit more about the SEC and Elon Musk. The “S” stands for “stonks.” Plus, like we do every Friday, a round of “Half Full/Half Empty.”

Here’s everything we talked about today:

3 key takeaways from Friday’s CPAC event: Speakers stand behind Trump” from ABC News

U.S. SEC suspends trading in 15 securities due to ‘questionable’ social media activity” from Reuters

Some other “questionable activity

Fed and Treasury chart path back to ‘full employment’” from “Marketplace”

California can enforce its net neutrality law, judge rules” from “Marketplace Morning Report”

Wearable tech shows promise for early COVID-19 detection” from “Marketplace”

Twitter announces paid Super Follows to let you charge for tweets” from The Verge

Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube! We tape our Friday episode there every week at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern. Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Feb 27, 2021
Honest pay for honest work … or something
00:14:12

As the Senate pulls the minimum wage hike out of the COVID-19 relief bill (a ruling that came down just after we taped), let’s talk about two very different pay stories. First, Costco says it will pay employees at least $16 an hour— how long before the market laps Congress? Then, former CEO Adam Neumann — remember him? — is still getting paid off of the mess at WeWork. It’s bananapants, folks. Plus: Dunkin’ is getting avocado toast, because apparently it’s 2015, and TikTok had deepfake Tom Cruise, because apparently it’s 2115.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Costco raises minimum wage for employees to $16 an hour” from NPR

WeWork’s Adam Neumann to Get Extra $50 Million Payout in SoftBank Settlement” from The Wall Street Journal

Dunkin’ just added avocado toast to its menu — about 5 years after the trend peaked” from Insider

Tom Cruise deepfakes

The joy of vax: The people giving the shots are seeing hope, and it’s contagious” from The Washington Post

Our recent episode on the economic effects of a $15 minimum wage

Join us live on YouTube Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Feb 26, 2021
What those huge Texas power bills and Bitcoin mining have in common
00:15:55

Texans are being hit with massive electric bills after last week’s winter storm knocked out much of the state’s grid, which is primarily powered by natural gas. You might not know that many of the data centers mining for cryptocurrency in this country also run on natural gas. On today’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’re digging into Texas’ unregulated energy market and Bitcoin’s carbon footprint. Plus your questions about stock trading and stonktails.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Can Texans protect themselves from their sky-high energy bills?” from Marketplace

Texas Electric Bills Were $28 Billion Higher Under Deregulation” from The Wall Street Journal

GameStop Mania Highlights Shift to Dark Trading” from The Wall Street Journal

Tesla’s $1.5 billion bitcoin purchase clashes with its environmental aspirations” from The Verge

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on her Bitcoin doubts

A couple pieces on Bitcoin and natural gas

We try your “GameStonk”-inspired cocktails” from “Make Me Smart”

Feb 25, 2021
What can Texas teach us about climate adaptation?
00:32:32

Millions of Texans spent last week without power, boiling water, dealing with burst pipes and collapsed roofs as a “once-in-a-lifetime” winter storm battered the state and infrastructure failed. Climate change is an existential crisis, and it’s already at our doorstep. And for all the money that’s gone toward trying to slow down or reverse that change, relatively little has gone toward adapting to it. On today’s show, we’ll hear from our reporter Andy Uhler and Jay Koh, who runs a private equity firm focused on climate adaptation.

Feb 24, 2021
500K dead from COVID is a worst-case scenario
00:14:24

It’s not the absolute worst worst-case, but 500,000 dead from COVID-19 is more than what some experts painted as the worst-case scenario back when the pandemic started, and about a third of the way to the death toll if the country had taken no action at all. Today, we’ll do the numbers. Plus: The bond market gains and NASA’s new Martian probe.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

US surpasses 500,000 COVID deaths” from USA Today

Some looks at COVID modeling from The New York Times and New York Magazine

President Biden’s moment of silence at the White House today

Technology Stocks Drop Amid Rising Bond Yields” from the Wall Street Journal

Zoom etiquette

Watch new dramatic videos from NASA’s Perseverance rover landing on Mars” from The Verge

Feb 23, 2021
We try your “GameStonk”-inspired cocktails
00:29:29

During the GameStop brouhaha, we asked you to send us your stonks-inspired cocktail recipes, and you delivered. In true Economics on Tap style, guest host Kimberly Adams taste tested a few. Plus, a tidbit about the minimum wage tucked into the big economic relief bill, and voters may have gone to the polls in records number in 2020, but now lots of states are considering restricting voting access. We end the show with our favorite game, “Half Full/Half Empty.”

Here are links to everything we talked about today:

And we apologize for the technical difficulties with the livestream. We’ll be back next Friday for the live happy hour taping on YouTube! Join us at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern — subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Feb 20, 2021
What’s going on in Texas is a humanitarian crisis
00:16:17

Like a lot of people, we’ve spent some time today watching this story about Sen. Ted Cruz’s scuttled trip to Cancún, Mexico, but don’t take your eye off the ball. Today, we’ll talk about the crisis brought on by cold weather and infrastructure failures in Texas. Plus, what it takes for a woman to be promoted to general and the Mars rover Perseverance.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Sen. Ted Cruz faces storm of controversy for flying to Cancun as Texas grapples with power outages caused by severe weather” from The Washington Post

Texas blackouts during deep freeze highlight grid challenges” from Marketplace

How Texas weather disruptions will ripple through oil supply chain” from Marketplace

Running an online business … when the power goes out” from Marketplace

Deep freeze has Texas ranchers concerned about food, water for cattle” from Marketplace

Promotions for Female Generals Were Delayed Over Fears of Trump’s Reaction” from The New York Times

A Grim Measure of Covid’s Toll: Life Expectancy Drops Sharply in U.S.” from The New York Times

Redditors want to know: Where is AOC?

NASA Lands the Perseverance Rover on Mars” from Wired

New Zealand to Roll Out Free Period Products to All Students” from The New York Times

Join us live on YouTube Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Feb 19, 2021
Congress considers putting pork back in its diet
00:13:00

Guest host Kimberly Adams mentioned the return of earmarks yesterday, and a listener wants to know more about the “currency of compromise.” To help answer that one, we called up Laura Blessing, a senior fellow at the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University. Plus, Kimberly and Kai Ryssdal answer more of your questions about the 10-year Treasury note, women in postsecondary education and, uh, campaign promises.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Can Pork Bring Back Bipartisanship?” from Cook Political Report

10-year Treasury yield marks biggest daily jump in over three months” from MarketWatch

Fed’s Esther George says she is not concerned about Treasury-yield spike” also from MarketWatch

Mortgage demand falls further as rates rise at the fastest pace in months” from CNBC

Household Debt Climbs to Record in U.S. Amid Surge in Mortgages” from Bloomberg

Few Positives in Final Fall Enrollment Numbers” from Inside Higher Ed

A little additional research

Feb 18, 2021
Why are so many migrant families still separated?
00:33:49

The Biden administration is working to repair norms and rollback policies covering so much from the Trump era. So where does immigration sit in the priority list? The White House already rescinded the “zero-tolerance” policy that separated migrant families, but unwinding rules and reuniting those families are very different things. Today, we’ll talk with The Atlantic’s Caitlin Dickerson about the reunification effort and the lasting impact on families.

Here are links to everything we talked about on the show today:

Dickerson’s piece from The New York Times last year: “Three Years After Family Separation, Her Son Is Back. But Her Life Is Not.

Trump and Aides Drove Family Separation at Border, Documents Say” also from The New York Times

Biden signs executive orders on family separation and asylum” from Politico

Another interview with Dickerson on MSNBC about how Biden is taking steps to tackle the root of immigration from Central America

Biden faces questions about commitment to minimum wage hike” from the Los Angeles Times

CEOs of Reddit and Robinhood and ‘Roaring Kitty’ slated to testify in GameStop hearing” from The Verge

Democrats Want To Bring Back Earmarks” from HuffPost

Restoring Earmarks Is Probably a Good Thing” from Bloomberg Opinion

This billboard a listener sent in

Finally, how to send us a voice memo

Feb 17, 2021
Yes, Louis DeJoy is still postmaster general
00:20:00

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in on the U.S. Postal Service. We’re about three weeks into the Biden administration, so why is a political lightening rod like Louis DeJoy still running the post office? We’ll explain. Plus: more Elon Musk stonks and a new wrinkle in Kai Ryssdal’s vendetta against his internet provider. And, of course, we’ll finish off with a round of our favorite game, “Half Full/Half Empty.”
Here’s everything we talked about today:

How the Stock Market Works Now: Elon Musk Tweets, Millions Buy” from The Wall Street Journal

Here’s ElonStocks.com, if you’re interested

Postmaster general’s new plan for USPS is said to include slower mail and higher prices” from The Washington Post

Inside the making of Facebook’s Supreme Court” from The New Yorker

AT&T scrambles to install fiber for 90-year-old after his viral WSJ ad” from Ars Technica

SpaceX opens Starlink satellite internet pre-orders to the public” from Engadget

Aunt Jemima Has a New Name After 131 Years: The Pearl Milling Company” from The New York Times

How the end of slavery led to two different minimum wages” from Marketplace

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the live happy hour taping on YouTube! Join us next Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern —subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.<

Feb 13, 2021
One thing is still bugging us about GameStop
00:15:00

GameStop closed at $51.10 a share today. We’re far away from the heady days of, uh, two weeks ago. But something has still been nagging at us: Why didn’t the beleaguered video game retailer jump on the opportunity to sell some shares and pay down its debt? Today we finally got an answer, and we’ll take some time to explain. Plus: a little talk about the impeachment trial so far, vaccines and Bitcoin.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Join us live on YouTube Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Feb 12, 2021
Why is Tesla buying so much bitcoin?
00:17:18

Well, Elon Musk has been tweeting again. Specifically, he’s been tweeting about how much he loves bitcoin, right after his automaker Tesla bought up $1.5 billion worth of it. Is this a distraction from the company’s China troubles? A scheme running afoul of the SEC? An epic bacon win for all the lulz, good sir? Maybe all three? We try and get into Musk’s head on today’s show. Wish us luck. Plus, your questions about minimum wage, interest rates and mRNA.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Tesla buys $1.5 billion in bitcoin, plans to accept it as payment” from CNBC

Why did Tesla buy bitcoin?” from MarketWatch

‘Big Short’ investor Michael Burry calls Tesla’s $1.5 billion bet on Bitcoin a distraction – and says Dogecoin’s record price signals a massive bubble” from Business Insider

Low U.S. Rates Exacerbate Racial Wealth Gap, Paper Shows” from Bloomberg

The next act for messenger RNA could be bigger than covid vaccines” from MIT Technology Review

And you might want to catch up with our recent episodes on mRNA and the minimum wage

Feb 11, 2021
Let’s do the numbers on a $15 minimum wage
00:34:15

Why is it so hard to raise the minimum wage? Even the leading expert on the topic isn’t quite sure. It’s one of the few issues that’s broadly popular with Americans, and even some corporate hard-liners are softening. Democrats have been trying to tie a new federal minimum wage to the COVID relief bill, and the Congressional Budget Office has come out with a new analysis of its impact. Today, we’ll talk with that expert, University of Massachusetts at Amherst economist Arindrajit Dube, about that analysis and the broader view of the minimum wage and how it affects the overall economy.

Here are links to everything we talked about on the show today:

You can read more about Dube here: “The Burger Flipper Who Became a World Expert on the Minimum Wage” from Bloomberg

Even a divided America agrees on raising the minimum wage” from Brookings

The CBO’s latest analysis of a minimum wage hike, and one from 2019 (be warned: both are PDFs)

No Quick Fix for Auto Chip Shortage” from The Wall Street Journal

Biden: Yellen needs a ‘Hamilton’ musical. Dessa: Here you go.” from “Marketplace.” You can also hear “Who’s Yellen Now?” on YouTube and all the streaming services.

Feb 10, 2021
Our infrastructure is only as good as our cyber infrastructure
00:15:59

Oh, you say you need one more thing to worry about? Look to Oldsmar, Florida, where hackers seem to have broken into a water treatment plant, temporarily raising the amount of lye in the water. Today, we’ll talk about the cyber arms race and the threats, large and small, that are facing this country. Plus: women’s workforce participation has been set back decades, and Kai Ryssdal looks into minimum wage’s impact on the deficit.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Someone tried to poison Oldsmar’s water supply during hack, sheriff says” from the Tampa Bay Times

How the United States lost to hackers” from The New York Times, plus reporter Nicole Perlroth’s thread on the Oldsmar incident

Another 275,000 Women Left the Labor Force in January” from the National Women’s Law Center

The book “Kill Switch” by Adam Jentleson

CBO report finds $15 minimum wage would cost jobs but lower poverty levels” from The Washington Post

And if you want to read the Congressional Budget Office report, which is in PDF format, it’s here

Feb 09, 2021
Stop talking about how great moms are and help them instead
00:18:00

We’ve been covering COVID’s impact on women in the workforce for a while, and this New York Times profile of three moms “on the brink” hit close to home. Today, we take a step back and look at how these women and their struggles are being framed and reckoned with. Plus: More SPAC news, Valentine’s Day plans and the coverage of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the live happy hour taping on YouTube! Join us next Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern —subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Feb 06, 2021
The 2020 election is over, but the lawsuits are just starting
00:19:05

Voting tech company Smartmatic is suing several of Donald Trump’s allies, Fox News personalities and the network itself for an eye-watering $2.7 billion in damages over false claims of fraud in the 2020 election. Another company, Dominion, has been rattling its saber as well. Today we’ll talk about where those suits might go and why even the right-wing Newsmax is backing off its #StopTheSteal claims. Plus: Snow cocktails!

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Join us live on YouTube Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Feb 05, 2021
What exactly is going on with Jeff Bezos and Amazon?
00:19:58

Amazon, the so-called “everything store,” is increasingly becoming the “everywhere store.” Why would the largest online retailer pivot so hard into brick and mortar? And, oh yeah, what’s up with Jeff Bezos stepping down as CEO? Also on tap for this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday: Are we headed for a COVID baby bust? What about a recession? And before our Friday happy hour episode: What’s a hazy IPA?

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Speaking of happy hour: Join us live on YouTube this Friday at 3:30 Pacific/6:30 Eastern! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Feb 04, 2021
SPACs are turning Wall Street into Silicon Valley
00:35:00

There’s another hot, disruptive force in finance beyond r/WallStreetBets: special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs. A SPAC is basically big pools of money that help take companies public quickly. They attracted big names in 2020, and now individual investors want in. Here to make us smart on the promise and peril of SPACs is Wall Street Journal markets reporter Amrith Ramkumar.

Feb 03, 2021
Let’s make like pandas and have a snow day
00:16:49

We can’t lie y’all, we’re fighting off The Dark Place today. On the docket: extremism in Facebook groups, how quickly we’re aging and all the poor folks losing money in “stonks.” Maybe you can listen while you watch these pandas in the snow?

Here are links for everything we talked about:

Facebook Knew Calls for Violence Plagued ‘Groups,’ Now Plans Overhaul” from The Wall Street Journal

How Facebook Groups Are Being Exploited To Spread Misinformation, Plan Harassment, And Radicalize People” from BuzzFeed News, back in 2018

Some disturbing “Wonder Years” math

U.S. Hits Pandemic Milestone With More Vaccinated Than Cases” from Bloomberg

IsTheSqueezeSquoze.com

‘Black Panther’ Helmer Ryan Coogler Stakes His Proximity Media Banner To 5-Year Exclusive Disney Television Deal; Wakanda Series In Works For Disney+” from Deadline

Big step forward for Dr. Martens as shares jump in $5 billion London debut” from Reuters

Pandas at National Zoo play in snow” from CNN

Feb 02, 2021
The fallout from GameStop and Wall Street’s wild week
00:22:00

We just can’t look away from these stonks! The whole affair around GameStop, r/WallStreetBets, Robinhood and the rest is like a car crash — a 20-car pileup of money, power, technology, regulation and more. It’ll be with us for a bit longer here. Today we start assessing the fallout. Plus: We play “Half Full/Half Empty” with outdoor dining, buying American and more.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

After GameStop Backlash, Citron Research Will Stop Publishing Short-Seller Reports” from The Wall Street Journal

Some businesses may struggle to follow Biden’s ‘Buy American’ rules” from Marketplace

Outdoor dining returns to L.A. County with new COVID-19 rules: TVs off, no more than 6 per table” from the Los Angeles Times

Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube! To have a drink with Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood and hear some extra chatter, subscribe so you don’t miss the next one!

Jan 30, 2021
Here’s how Robinhood (and short selling GameStop) actually work
00:16:56

Two things you need to know about the situation with GameStop, WallStreetBets and that whole mess today: First, retail traders aren’t actually the customers at Robinhood, the stock-trading app that many of those retail traders are mad at. Second, while the potential losses of retail stock buyers max out at 100%, if a hedge fund is selling short, as they often do, the losses can be infinite. We’ll fill you in on what you need to know — or you could just watch this.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

WeWork in Talks to Combine With SPAC or Raise Money Privately” from The Wall Street Journal

Robinhood’s Customers Are Hedge Funds Like Citadel, Its Users Are the Product” from Vice

And, one more time, this “stonks” explainer

Jan 29, 2021
GameStop isn’t a scam or a penny stock — we’ll explain
00:19:51

The Reddit- and Discord-fueled explosion of GameStop’s stock isn’t over. In fact, a bunch of other companies are seeing their stock prices inch closer to their ’90s and 2000s glory days, befuddling hedge funds and raising questions about who gets to manipulate the market. A bunch of listeners have written in with questions about “stonks,” so we’ll spend a little time on one today. Plus, we’ll get a little wonky and take you behind the scenes of why we do “The Numbers.”

Here’s everything we talked about today:

What exactly is going on with GameStop?” from Marketplace

The GameStop stock frenzy, explained” from Vox

A few heartwarming investor stories

What the heck is reconciliation?” from Marketplace

Jan 28, 2021
The state of the union is … not great
00:35:00

In just the past three Wednesdays we’ve seen an insurrection, a (second!) impeachment and an inauguration. Coming off this not-so-peaceful transition of power and months of election conspiracies, President Joe Biden declared in his inauguration speech, “Democracy has prevailed.” Has it, though? Sure, the insurrection failed, but that doesn’t mean our democracy is in particularly good shape after these four years, or even the past 40 years. On today’s show, MIT economist Daron Acemoglu, author of “How Nations Fail,” tells us how the health of our democracy affects the economy, and vice versa.

Jan 27, 2021
How GameStop became a “meme stock”
00:15:31

We looked at GameStop’s ballooning share price Friday, and since then things have … progressed. Today, we’ll look at what happened between the beleaguered video game retailer and r/WallStreetBets with “numb fascination.” Plus: contrasting Twitter and Facebook’s rules around misinformation and — one more time — Janet Treasury-Secretaryin’.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

A Fight Over GameStop’s Soaring Stock Turns Ugly” from Wired

Twitter launches ‘Birdwatch,’ a forum to combat misinformation” from NBC News

Trump Wants Back on Facebook. This Star-Studded Jury Might Let Him.” from The New York Times

Budweiser skips Super Bowl ads in favor of vaccine education campaign” from Axios

Senate Confirms Yellen as Treasury Secretary as Stimulus Talks Loom” from The New York Times

One more time, here are all the links to listen to Dessa’s song “Who’s Yellen Now?

Jan 26, 2021
Peloton? AYFKM
00:25:00

A Rolex watch and Peloton coverage topped the list of presidential “scandals” Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood were none to happy to read about this week. They dive into why the media (ahem) shouldn’t be spending so much time on this kind of coverage. Later in the show, they’ll finally share their very specific predictions for 2021 and pay tribute to the late home run king, Hank Aaron. Plus, a short round of “Half Full, Half Empty.” Have a great weekend! Here’s everything we talked about today:

Is That a Rolex on Biden’s Wrist?” from The New York Times

Biden Has a Peloton Bike. That Raises Issues at the White House.” also from The New York Times

People Are So, So Mad at GameStop Investors and FinTok Influencers” from Vice

GameStop soars nearly 70%, trading briefly halted amid epic short squeeze” from CNBC

Hank Aaron, Home Run King Who Defied Racism, Dies at 86” from The New York Times

Pandemic drives backyard ice rink boom” from Marketplace

Instacart is firing every employee who voted to unionize” from The Verge

Finally, here are all the links to listen to Dessa’s song “Who’s Yellen Now?

Jan 23, 2021
Meet the new COVID-19 variant, CAL.20C
00:17:19

Just as we were getting used to the idea of a European COVID-19 mutation spreading to the states, scientists in California have found a new, domestic mutation of the virus: CAL.20C. We’ll talk about it, plus Parler fallout, Clubhouse and fireworks.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

New California Variant May Be Driving Virus Surge There, Study Suggests” from The New York Times

Judge refuses to reinstate Parler’s Amazon account” from The Verge

Facebook Refers Trump Account Suspension to Oversight Board” from The Wall Street Journal

And, of course, this ode to Janet Yellen

Jan 22, 2021
Who pays for the inauguration?
00:14:45

Speeches were made, the parade’s all done and President Joe Biden got to work this afternoon, signing 17 executive orders and other memos. But who pays for all the festivities on Inauguration Day, especially with the heightened security just two weeks after the pro-Trump siege at the Capitol? That’s just one of the questions we’re answering on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Plus: Clubhouse and Section 230.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Will Capitol attack hike security costs for Biden inauguration?” from Marketplace

How Much Will the Inauguration Cost, and Who’s Paying?” from the New York Times

Speech on the internet: The First Amendment and Section 230 are different” from Marketplace

Jan 21, 2021
For COVID-19 vaccines, “no one seems to think that we have a plan”
00:31:08

President-elect Joe Biden says his administration will administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccines in his first 100 days in office. As of today, about 31 million vaccines have been distributed but only 12 million Americans have received the first dose. So what’s realistic? On today’s show, Johns Hopkins University health economist Dan Polsky gives us the lay of the land and tells us what needs to happen. Plus, a listener makes us smart about the 1954 shooting of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jan 20, 2021
Wait, what happened to that vaccine stockpile??
00:21:49

Given the state of the democracy right now, you’d be forgiven for taking your eye off the COVID-19 vaccine ball. Today, we’ll catch you up on how the rollout is going — or, uh, not going. Plus: what MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell was doing at the White House.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Finally: We’re approaching our four-year anniversary of doing this show. On that very first episode, we heard from voters on both sides of the political aisle. And so, we want to hear from you again: What do you want people on the other side to know about you? Depending on your politics, feel free to define the “other side” however you like. Send us your answer — voice memo is best — at makemesmart@marketplace.org.

Jan 16, 2021
Let’s talk about accountability
00:16:45

No, not for the president, but his supporters who filmed themselves charging into the Capitol and posted it online. Do they have a “right to be forgotten”? What about accountability for Facebook, where some of those extremists planned the Jan. 6 insurrection? And, oh yeah, what about for the officials at the helm when the water was poisonous in Flint, Michigan? We’re talking about all those stories today, plus Jerome Powell’s Zoom background and the Secret Service’s $3,000 toilet.

Here’s links to everything we talked about today:

Jan 15, 2021
Parler’s attempted comeback
00:19:58

The right-wing social media app Parler has been banned by the major app stores and online hosting services over fears of more violence in the lead-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Still, it’s looking like the company is trying to restart itself, and we have a listener wondering what’s next. We’ll talk about it on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Also on the docket: savings rates, stagflation, and “Ted Lasso.”

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Jan 14, 2021
“Disinformation laundering” got us here
00:31:57

Disinformation expert Nina Jankowicz says conspiracy theories like QAnon are like giant balls of lint, picking up everything in their path: baseless claims of voter fraud, 5G, Hunter Biden, anti-vaccination fiction … and last Wednesday that huge ball rolled straight from President Donald Trump’s rally to the Capitol, thanks in part to Trump’s allies in the media and Congress who legitimized it. So what now? Can we unring that bell? We’ll talk about it, and why Jankowicz says there’s reason to be optimistic.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Jankowicz’s latest for Foreign Affairs: “The Day the Internet Came for Them

And her last appearance on Make Me Smart

Disinformation’s big win” from Axios

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal Has Tested Positive for COVID” from The Cut

Republicans Weigh Trump Censure, Impeachment” from The Wall Street Journal

Fox News to Add Another Hour of Right-Wing Talk as Biden Takes Office” from The New York Times

Jan 13, 2021
“Hydra is still inside of SHIELD”
00:15:03

That’s how Molly describes the lawmakers who still voted against certification of a free and fair election. That’s right: We’re back from our break and still assessing the fallout of last week’s insurrection, egged on by the president, at the Capitol building. On today’s show, we’ll talk about Trump’s few remaining supporters in Congress, the military people who were on the ground that day, the potential for further violence and how corporate America is reacting. Plus on Make Me Smile … more of the same.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

FBI memo warns law enforcement across U.S. of possible armed protests at 50 state capitols” from NBC News

Coca-Cola Suspends Political Donations After Capitol Violence” from Bloomberg

Officer resigns as Army investigates her involvement in Washington rally that led to U.S. Capitol riot” from CBS News

JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs join U.S. corporations halting political donations after Capitol riot” from CNBC

Molly has been searching “No fly list” on Twitter

And finally, this video.

Correction: This episode describes viral videos taken out of context. The videos do not necessarily depict people who are on a no fly list. Additionally, one of the videos appears to be recirculated from 2018.

Jan 12, 2021
Can Twitter end a presidency?
00:22:00

We were planning to come back anyway, honestly. After pro-Trump insurrectionists broke into the Capitol, egged on by the president, we decided to cut short our holiday break. Then about five minutes before today’s taping, Twitter announced it was banning Donald Trump from his preferred platform. This whole week was a collision of the things we’ve talked about for years: disinformation radicalizing social media users, the offline consequences of online behavior, the peril of private companies acting as a check on a norm-shredding president. It’s been a huge week, and on today’s show, you’ll hear our raw reaction to it.

By the way, here’s the Twitter thread Kai mentioned today.

Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube today! Subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss the next one.

Jan 09, 2021
A vote for the ERA was long overdue, but it might be too late (rerun)
00:34:59

Hey smarties! We’re on a break for the holidays, so we’re revisiting some favorite episodes from 2020. We want to say a big thank you for being part of the Make Me Smart family this year — every voicemail, question and donation makes a huge difference. None of us is as smart as all of us, and we couldn’t do this show without you. There’s still time to donate here. Thanks, happy new year and we’ll be back soon!

Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the equal rights amendment to the constitution last week, giving the ERA the support it needs … about three decades after it expired. Many people, some 80% according to one poll, think the U.S. Constitution already includes equal protections for women’s rights, but it doesn’t. On today’s show, we’re going to look more at how we got to this point and what “equal rights” really means for the women’s movement and the economy overall. Here to guide us through is CUNY professor Julie Suk. Her book about the ERA, “We the Women: The Forgotten Mothers of the Equal Rights Amendment,” is out this summer.

Jan 05, 2021
Maybe Modern Monetary Theory is an answer to the COVID-19 economic crisis (rerun)
00:41:16

Hey smarties! We’re on a break for the holidays, so we’re revisiting some favorite episodes from 2020. We want to say a big thank you for being part of the Make Me Smart family this year — every voicemail, question and donation makes a huge difference. None of us is as smart as all of us, and we couldn’t do this show without you. There’s still time to help us raise $500,000 for Marketplace before the end of the year! Donate here. Thanks, happy holidays and we’ll see you in the new year!

Does debt matter? For an individual, a household or even a generation, sure it does. But what about a nation? Modern Monetary Theory says no. To help us understand MMT and why it matters in this crisis is Stephanie Kelton. She’s a professor of economics and public policy at Stony Brook University, and she served as an adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

Here are links to what we talked about today:

The Economist Who Believes the Government Should Just Print More Money” in the New Yorker

Is modern monetary theory nutty or essential?” in The Economist

Stephanie Kelton: ‘They’re going to have massive deficits. And it’s fine’ ” in the Financial Times

Dr. Fauci says NFL season is feasible” in the L.A. Times

Twitter Will Allow Employees To Work At Home Forever” in BuzzFeed

Uber Technologies Makes Takeover Approach to Grubhub” in The Wall Street Journal

Dec 29, 2020
A higher ed crisis is a terrible thing to waste (rerun)
00:34:47

Hey smarties! We’re on a break for the holidays, so we’re revisiting some favorite episodes from 2020. We want to say a big thank you for being part of the Make Me Smart family this year — every voicemail, question and donation makes a huge difference. None of us is as smart as all of us, and we couldn’t do this show without you. There’s still time to help us raise $500,000 for Marketplace before the end of the year! Donate here. Thanks, happy holidays and we’ll see you in the new year!

The rock walls, sushi bars and student center bowling alleys at colleges around the country will likely sit empty this fall. The spring semester has shown that online learning has significant limitations, said NYU marketing professor Scott Galloway, and welcoming back students and faculty is going to be like “Contagion 2.” But there’s also an opportunity here, he says, to increase budgets, cut costs and leverage technology to make higher education as accessible as it used to be.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today:

Here’s a List of Colleges’ Plans for Reopening in the Fall” from the Chronicle of Higher Education

What the Shift to Virtual Learning Could Mean for the Future of Higher Ed” from Harvard Business Review

The Coming Disruption,” Galloway’s recent piece for New York magazine

Goldman Sachs says a national mask mandate could slash infections and save economy from a 5% hit” from CNBC

Is it safe to send kids back to school?” from MIT Technology Review

A Look Back On Shirley Chisholm’s Historic 1968 House Victory” from NPR

Finally, this painting by Rhonda Brown

Dec 22, 2020
See you next year!
00:15:46

This is our last episode of the year! After nine months of daily episodes, we’re gonna take a short break. We can’t thank you enough for hanging with us every day, sending voicemails and questions, and chipping in to support us. This show doesn’t work without all of you. Before we go though, we have one more edition of “Economics on Tap” where we’ll talk about vaccine algorithms, media consolidation and, yes, Space Force.

Here’s links to everything we covered today:

Only Seven of Stanford’s First 5,000 Vaccines Were Designated for Medical Residents” from ProPublica

Biden’s Transition Team Protests Pentagon’s Halt in Briefings” from Bloomberg

From BuzzFeed to Axios, Digital Media Players Prepare for Deal Frenzy” from The Wall Street Journal

Pence announces Space Force members will be called ‘guardians’” from Politico

Thanks again everyone, and don’t forget to pick up a newly restocked KaiPA pint glass and help us hit our $500,000 goal. Once it hits midnight on New Year’s Eve they’re gone!

Dec 19, 2020
All the ICUs in Southern California are full
00:17:26

In what feels like a flashback to New York in March, field hospitals are sprouting up around Southern California as the region hit an alarming milestone: ICU capacity at 0%. It’s a grim reminder that even with one approved COVID-19 vaccine and more on the way, we are still in the darkest days of this pandemic. We hope you’re staying home and staying safe for the holidays. But before we talk about that, Molly Wood will break down the latest about that huge, probably Russian hack into the U.S. government. Plus, your chance to implode President Donald Trump’s Atlantic City casino.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

More Hacking Attacks Found as Officials Warn of ‘Grave Risk’ to U.S. Government” from The New York Times

I Was the Homeland Security Adviser to Trump. We’re Being Hacked.” from The New York Times

Bar complaint filed against Trump attorneys in Arizona” from 12News

ICU availability in Southern California at 0% amid deluge of COVID-19 patients” from the Los Angeles Times

In New York City, snowfall tops all of last winter’s.” from The New York Times. Check out that photo!

Win a Chance to Destroy Trump’s Casino Like He Destroyed Our Country” from Rolling Stone

Here’s the link to that auction

In Historic Move, Biden To Pick Native American Rep. Haaland As Interior Secretary” from NPR

This beautiful, musical Christmas dispatch from Camp Davids

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Dec 18, 2020
Eggnog by the gallon
00:15:00

We’ve got some really memorable calls from listeners today, y’all. There’s the guy who’s staring down a huge milestone in his life, but can’t stop thinking about eggnog. There’s the listener who asked us to stop and reflect on this crazy year. And, of course, there’s a question about vaccines. We’ll talk about it all on this, our last Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday of the year.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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Dec 17, 2020
The student loan system has “layers and layers of dysfunction”
00:32:00

As President-elect Joe Biden mulls forgiving $10,000 in student loan debt — and leading Democrats and others on his left push for more — one of our listeners wants to know: What would that do to the economy, and is it even possible for the White House to do it on its own? To find out, we called University of Michigan public policy, education and economics professor Susan Dynarski. She helps us look beyond the obvious micro-economic benefits and inject some nuance into the conversation about what it actually takes to get out of this $1.6 million hole.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Student Loan Cancellation Sets Up Clash Between Biden and the Left” from The New York Times

Would canceling $10,000 in student debt really help that much?” from Marketplace

An interactive map of debt in America

Americans want to cancel student loans — but not all of them” from Vox

The student loan trap” from Marketplace’s podcast “This Is Uncomfortable”

Google CEO delays office return to next September, but axes idea of permanent remote work” from CNBC

USPS ‘gridlocked’ as historic crush of holiday packages sparks delays” from The Washington Post

Is Louis DeJoy’s XPO Logistics divestiture a sham?” from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

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Dec 16, 2020
This is a cyberattack worth paying attention to
00:18:00

You’d be forgiven for missing it in the firehose of news, but let’s stop a second to talk about today’s drip, drip, drip about a likely Russian cyberattack against the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies. Ahead of tomorrow’s “Marketplace Tech” episode, Molly Wood will get us up to speed, and we’ll talk about the latest flap at Apple TV. But first: We’ll quickly run some of the big news stories of the day, including the first American COVID-19 vaccines and Attorney General Bill Barr’s ouster.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Suspected Russian Hack Said to Have Gone Undetected for Months” from The Wall Street Journal

Apple TV Was Making a Show About Gawker. Then Tim Cook Found Out.” from The New York Times

Voting technology company sends legal notices to Fox News and other right-wing media outlets over ‘disinformation campaign’” from CNN

Finally, this mask PSA

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Dec 15, 2020
The Supreme Court roasts Trump’s “legal marshmallow”
00:24:00

We talked a bit yesterday about the lawsuit out of Texas, cosigned by a surprisingly huge number of Republicans, seeking to turnover the presidential election. Well today — during our taping, as a matter of fact — the Supreme Court took just a few paragraphs to shoot the case down. On today’s show, Kai and Molly react in real-time. Plus: What Facebook can learn from Microsoft’s antitrust case, where unused FSA money goes and a peek into Kai’s DMs.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

What can Facebook learn from the attempt to break up Microsoft?” from Marketplace Tech

What You Can Do to Protect Your Dependent-Care FSA Cash” from the Wall Street Journal

Let’s do the numbers on the certified election results

The Supreme Court Rejected Texas’s Last-Ditch Legal Challenge To Biden’s Win” from BuzzFeed News

Editorial: Don’t just deny Texas’ original action. Decimate it.” from SCOTUSblog

Facebook Announces Plan To Break Up U.S. Government Before It Becomes Too Powerful” from The Onion

And this video.

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Dec 12, 2020
Make Me (and my dog) Smart
00:14:31

Some very important research into dog cognition came across our desk today, and we can’t wait to tell you all about it. But before that, we’re still unpacking the implications of the new COVID-19 vaccine, and how race plays into anxiety around getting it. Oh, and the Republicans mobilizing to try and overturn the results of the presidential election. It’s hollowed-out-shell Thursday after all.

Here’s everything we’re talking about today:

Why did the U.S. turn down vaccine doses?” from the New York Times podcast “The Daily”

A C.D.C. official says she was ordered to destroy an email showing a Trump appointee interfering with a report’s publication.” from The New York Times

These remarks from Dr. Anthony Fauci

This important dog research

Minnesota’s Okee Dokee Brothers withdraw from all-white Grammy Awards list” from the Star Tribune

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Dec 11, 2020
What’s better: real or fake Christmas trees?
00:16:00

We’ve been talking a lot about coronavirus vaccines on the show lately, and for good reason. But it’s also the holiday season, so for this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’re tackling a perennial question: What’s better for the environment, real or fake Christmas trees? Plus we’ll talk about solar power and bring in a ringer to talk about a certain logo Kai can’t stand. But first, yes, a little more about vaccines.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

A Vaccine Is Coming: Can Employers Require Employees to Take it?” from The National Law Review

Yes, your boss can fire you if you refuse to get a Covid vaccine” from CNBC

Pandemic Is Ray of Light for Solar Industry” from The Wall Street Journal

What’s greener: a real Christmas tree or a fake one?” from Marketplace

Christmas tree sales are booming as pandemic-weary Americans seek solace.” from The New York Times

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Dec 10, 2020
How we got a COVID-19 vaccine so fast
00:37:35

The United Kingdom administered its first COVID-19 vaccine today, a little less than a year from the first recorded cases. Back then, the effectiveness of this kind of vaccine was an open question. These new shots use messenger RNA to give the immune system an “instruction sheet” for fighting off COVID-19. This mRNA technology has been around for about a decade, but hasn’t been used successfully in a vaccine before now. On today’s show, biotech investor and author Safi Bahcall walks us through something like 150 years of pharmaceutical history and how mRNA will change vaccine development. Oh, and we’ll ask him why that Pfizer vaccine has to be kept so dang cold.

Here’s everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work, check out our episode page at makemesmart.org):

We had the vaccine the whole time” from New York Magazine

Bahcall’s interview about vaccine technology on “Marketplace Tech”

And his op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, “The Conference Call to Cure Covid-19.

A gamble pays off in ‘spectacular success’: How the leading coronavirus vaccines made it to the finish line” from The Washington Post

Low Prices for Vaccines Can Come at a Great Cost” from The New York Times

How much could Pfizer make from a COVID-19 vaccine?” from “Marketplace”

Uber Is Giving Self-Driving Car Project to a Start-Up” from The New York Times

Palantir Wins FDA Contract to Power Drug Review, Inspections” from Bloomberg

Coronavirus vaccines may be less effective for Black and Asian recipients, MIT study suggests” from The Week

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Dec 09, 2020
Vaccine futures
00:15:00

The New York Times is reporting (and the White House is denying) that the Trump administration passed on buying more doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. We’ll give you the view from the 200 millionth place in line, where Kai and Molly are patiently waiting. Plus: the end of cash bail in Los Angeles, civil forfeiture on the rise and, uh, aliens.

Here’s everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work check out our episode page at makemesmart.org):

Trump administration officials passed when Pfizer offered in late summer to sell the U.S. more vaccine doses.” from The New York Times

White House denies report saying it passed when Pfizer offered additional vaccine doses” from MarketWatch

On first day as L.A. County D.A., George Gascón eliminates bail, remakes sentencing rules” from the LA Times

Trump Aims to Boost Vaccine Confidence at White House Summit” from Bloomberg

Our episode from 2017: “The police can just take your stuff

Former Israeli space security chief says aliens exist, humanity not ready” from The Jerusalem Post

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Dec 08, 2020
More people say they’d get a COVID-19 vaccine, but is it enough?
00:23:42

So the saying goes anyway. According to Pew, more Americans say they’re willing to get the coronavirus vaccine, but how do you convince the skeptics? Or when push comes to shove, maybe the holdouts will take it anyway? We’ll talk about it. Plus: a tear-jerking dog story and a startling revelation about Kai and Marketplace. You’re not gonna want to miss this one.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today:

Intent to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine Rises to 60% as Confidence in Research and Development Process Increases” from Pew Research

Enough With the Hand Wringing Over Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy” from Elemental

25 former D.C. Bar presidents: Lawyers should not be complicit in Trump’s attack on democracy” from The Washington Post

This quote from Vice President Mike Pence

A dog was missing for weeks. Then it wandered into Walmart and found its owner working at the register.” from The Washington Post

Finally, you can find Molly’s Spotify Wrapped — which she says has been grossly distorted by certain Steely Dan fans who use her smart speaker — on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

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Dec 05, 2020
All these years later, policy is still catching up to Gamergate
00:16:55

Molly just found herself telling her son about Gamergate — the 2014 explosion in targeted online harassment that showed how online speech can turn into offline harm. It influenced political discourse in ways that politicos, platforms and daily podcast hosts are still reckoning with. Why are we talking about this today? Well, Facebook is rethinking its moderation policies … again. We’ll talk about it, plus vaccines, the future of movie theaters and #SpotifyWrapped.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Facebook is stepping up moderation against anti-Black hate speech” from the Verge

Facebook to remove misinformation about Covid vaccines” from CNBC

Everything is Gamergate: How an Online Mob Created a Playbook for a Culture War” from The New York Times

Warner Bros. will release all of its new 2021 movies simultaneously on HBO Max” from the Verge

Find Your Place in the Vaccine Line” from The New York Times

This cat and physics joke

And Kai’s Spotify Wrapped, which is heavy on show tunes and sad indie rock. You can find screenshots on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

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Dec 04, 2020
Every Friday is Black Friday
00:16:00

The leftovers are almost gone, your inbox is full of tracking numbers and your credit card balance might be a little higher. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us. Or are they? One of our listeners has observed some new temporal flexibility around holiday sales, and she wants to know: Are “Cyber Week” and “Black Friday Month” here to stay? We’ll talk about it, along with Afterpay and the continued ascendance of dollar stores. Plus we look ahead to climate policy from the Biden administration.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Biden Outlines $2 Trillion Climate Plan” from NPR

How Joe Biden plans to use executive powers to fight climate change” from Vox

How Biden aims to amp up the government’s fight against climate change” from the Washington Post

Biden calls for major investments into carbon removal tech” from Technology Review

Covid Unknowns Leave Survivors Fearing Life Insurance Rejection” from Bloomberg

Black Friday weekend shopping and spending drop as season starts early, trade group says” from CNBC

What will Black Friday be like this year?” from Marketplace

More Americans are opting for ‘buy-now-pay-later’ this holiday shopping season — here are the pitfalls to watch out for” from Marketwatch

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Dec 03, 2020
You can’t really retire with a 401(k) alone
00:37:52

The vast majority of Americans lacked enough retirement savings even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, some older Americans are leaving the workforce and others have stopped contributing to retirement accounts because they can’t afford to. Just half of workers participated in a retirement plan at work in the first place, partly because employers are not required to offer 401(k)s or other retirement plans. So, where did these plans come from? And, are they actually helping people save? On today’s show, New School labor economist Teresa Ghilarducci walks us through the 40-year decline of retirement in this country, the incentive structures setting up Americans for failure and why there’s some reason for hope in the new presidential administration.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Ghilarducci’s first appearance on Marketplace in 2012

A brief history of the 401(k), which changed how Americans retire” from CNBC

The 401(k) is forty and fabulous” from Quartz

BLS data showing just half of private sector workers participate in a retirement plan at work

Few people are tapping 401(k)s, even without withdrawal penalties” from Marketplace

Nasdaq pushes diversity requirements for company boards” from the Washington Post

Don’t forget the other virus: How to keep COVID from reversing progress on AIDS” from Fortune

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Dec 02, 2020
Schools are closed, bars are open
00:19:00

It’s still too early to know how the Thanksgiving holiday — and some Americans’ refusal to follow the advice of experts and stay home for it — will impact the number of coronavirus cases, but we’re headed for a dark winter indeed. What are teachers to do? We’ll talk about it. Plus, Molly’s sad bitcoin story and the changing GOP line on “mean tweets.”

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today:

Teaching in the Pandemic: ‘This Is Not Sustainable’” from The New York Times

Exxon Slashes Spending, Writes Down Assets” from The Wall Street Journal

Bitcoin Climbs to Record High” from The New York Times

With Bank of America Announcement, Every Major US Bank Has Ruled out Funding for Arctic Drilling” from the Sierra Club

And finally, this bit Kai caught on CNN this afternoon

Dec 01, 2020
DOW 30K IDK
00:15:17

We say it again and again: The stock market is not the economy. Well right now, the economy is trying to limp out of a coronavirus recession, and the Dow just hit 30,000. Our listener wants to know: What does that even mean? For this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’ll give you a quick refresher. Plus, we’ll answer your questions about tax season and the difference between Janet Yellen’s old job and her (potential) new job. We gotta make it quick, because guest host Marielle Segarra hasn’t done her Thanksgiving grocery shopping yet.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today:

The pandemic-resistant Dow Jones Industrial Average” from Marketplace Morning Report

Here’s what you need to know about paying taxes on unemployment benefits” from CNBC

The K-shaped recovery is getting worse” from the Washington Post

Mnuchin Plans to Put $455 Billion Beyond Yellen’s Easy Reach” from Bloomberg

Revisit Kai’s interview with Janet Yellen from last year.
>We’re off tomorrow and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. See you next week! Stay safe out there.

Nov 26, 2020
The cost of racism is incalculable. Here’s a start.
00:35:19

Sixteen trillion dollars is a lot of money. It’s hard to even conceive of a number so big in real economic terms — it’s bigger than China’s GDP, for one thing. It’s also the economic cost of racism in this country in just the past 20 years. And it’s a conservative estimate. Today we’ll do the numbers with economist Dana Peterson, who did the numbers for Citi. Peterson helps us dig into that $16 trillion number, how the study came together, what surprised her about it and how her findings could play into the ongoing conversation around reparations.

Nov 25, 2020
Another COVID-19 vaccine looks promising, but who will take it?
00:11:47

AstraZeneca is the third pharmaceutical company in recent weeks to say it has a potentially viable coronavirus vaccine, and a cheaper one at that. With Marketplace’s Marielle Segarra, we’ll talk about how businesses can influence public health once we have a vaccine, and even dare to imagine a day when kids can permanently go back to school. Plus: The people President-elect Joe Biden has tapped to run the Treasury and State departments. Did you know Antony Blinken has a singing career?

Here’s everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work on your device, check out the episode page on makemesmart.org):

3rd major COVID-19 vaccine shown to be effective and cheaper” from the Associated Press

Vaccination will be required to fly, says Qantas chief” from the BBC

Biden Picks Janet Yellen for Treasury Secretary” from The Wall Street Journal

The end is in sight’: Experts express optimism about COVID-19 pandemic coming to a close” from the Boston Globe

Key government agency acknowledges Biden’s win and begins formal transition” from CNN

Antony Blinken’s Spotify page

And this Janet Yellen meme

Nov 24, 2020
Please, please stay home this Thanksgiving
00:17:40

No matter who you are — even, say, a New York Times columnist — it’s so important that you stay safe at home this Thanksgiving, because your bubble is likely bigger than you think. Also, the hospitals are already straining ahead of a long winter. We’ll talk about it, plus our favorite Thanksgiving sides in another round of “Half-Full or Half-Empty.”

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today:

Some background info on Kimberly’s cocktail today

I Traced My Covid-19 Bubble and It’s Enormous” from The New York Times Opinion

One in Five U.S. Hospitals Face Staffing Crises Within a Week” from Bloomberg

Dolly Parton & Friends Set for Live Holiday Special With Pandora” from Billboard

Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube today! We’re off next Friday, and planning to be back in December. Subscribe so you don’t miss it!

Nov 21, 2020
This is American exceptionalism
00:17:10

It’s almost hack to say at this point, but it’s worth remembering: If what President Donald Trump and his campaign are doing right now — refusing to concede a called election, eroding trust in the democratic process, asking for ballots to be tossed — if all that was happening in another country, we’d be talking about it very differently. It’s worth unpacking why that is, which we’ll do today. But first: We’ll explain the feud between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chair Jerome Powell and present yet more evidence that you should stay home for Thanksgiving. Seriously.

Join us tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode on YouTube! Subscribe so you don’t miss out.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work on your device, try our episode page at makemesmart.org):

The coronavirus risk for a big Thanksgiving dinner in your community” from The Washington Post

Don’t rely on a negative test result to see your family for Thanksgiving” from CNN

Treasury moves to end several crisis-era programs, drawing pushback from the Fed” from CNBC

Federal Reserve’s Emergency Loan Programs at Center of Political Fight” from The New York Times

Dog at Delaware SPCA for 866 days finds forever home” from Fox 29 Philadelphia

This Twitter exchange between Chef José Andrés and Chris Krebs, the recently fired director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

Kai’s interview with Andrés from 2018

Nov 20, 2020
We’re on a ‘Groundhog Day’ loop
00:15:13

The bills are piling up for the Trump campaign. Even though its legal challenges to the election don’t seem to be going anywhere, someone’s got to pay the lawyers. We discuss who is on the hook. Plus: We answer your questions about what a Biden administration may mean for businesses struggling during the pandemic, why the Fed’s Main Street Lending Program flopped, and Kai and Molly reminisce about the last time they were in the same place together, pre-COVID-19 (sigh).

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work on your device, check out the episode page on makemesmart.org):

Who Is Paying for Trump’s Lawsuits and Recounts?” from Campaign Legal Center

Justice Dept. Intervenes to Help Trump in E. Jean Carroll Defamation Lawsuit” from The New York Times

Wisconsin recount would cost Trump campaign $7.9 million” from CNN

Dr. Céline Gounder, Adviser to Biden, on the Next Covid Attack Plan” from The New York Times

Fed Again Eases Terms for Main Street Lending Program” from The Wall Street Journal

Nov 19, 2020
The war on drugs lost this election. Now what?
00:34:12

One in three Americans now live in a state with legal recreational marijuana, and that wasn’t the only big drug story on Election Day. Oregon voted to decriminalize possession of hard drugs and legalized medical use of magic mushrooms. On today’s show, Beau Kilmer, director of Rand Corp.’s Drug Policy Research Center, will make us smart about the country’s growing patchwork of legalization and how it could reshape the drug economy.

Here’s everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work, check out the episode page on makemesmart.org):

This Election, a Divided America Stands United on One Topic” from The New York Times

1 in 3 Americans now lives in a state where recreational marijuana is legal” from Politico

Zuckerberg, Dorsey Tout Progress in Combating Political Misinformation” from the Wall Street Journal

This Twitter account that shows the top-ten best-performing Facebook posts of the day

No, This Election Did Not Go ‘Smoothly‘” from Slate

Nov 18, 2020
Would you take a coronavirus vaccine? What if it came from Dolly Parton?
00:15:12

With the promise of another coronavirus vaccine from Moderna, in addition to last week’s blockbuster news from Pfizer, we were inspired to go back and do the numbers: Once there’s a vaccine for COVID-19, who’s actually going to take it? The answer is … not ideal. Also on the docket for today: high-stakes content moderation, low-stakes voter fraud and, yes, Dolly Parton’s own efforts to fund a coronavirus vaccine.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work for you, check out our episode page at makemesmart.org):

Facebook Has A Rule To Stop Calls To Arms. Moderators Didn’t Enforce It Ahead Of The Kenosha Shootings.” from BuzzFeed News

Why Obama fears for our democracy” from The Atlantic

Second coronavirus vaccine, from Moderna, shows promise” from Marketplace

U.S. Public Now Divided Over Whether To Get COVID-19 Vaccine” from Pew Research Center

Voter fraud alleged in New Zealand bird of the year contest” from The Washington Post

Renowned philanthropist Dolly Parton donates a million to COVID-19 vaccine effort” from PinkNews

Nov 17, 2020
Half full or half empty?
00:20:00

We’re trying out a new game on the show today, where Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood say whether they’re “half full” or “half empty” on a bunch of stuff in the news. It’s our first try at this, so let us know what you think! Before that, we’ll talk about Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, Charles Koch’s new self-reflection and why Elon Musk is “a boob.” TGIF!

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work, check out our episode page at makemesmart.org):

Pelosi & House Dems, GOP Slammed for Indoor Freshmen Dinner” from Mediaite

Charles Koch Says His Partisanship Was a Mistake” from The Wall Street Journal

Kai’s full interview with Koch from 2015

Mr. McNamara’s War” from The New York Times

Elon Musk says he’s tested positive and negative for COVID-19” from The Verge

And the topics we talked about in our new game, “half full or half empty”:

Will a ‘skinny’ coronavirus relief package help those who need it most?” from Marketplace

How the election certification process works, and why it matters” from Marketplace

Flying soon? That middle seat might be occupied” from Marketplace

In this time of comfort-at-home fashion, Crocs are having a moment” from Marketplace

Thanks to everyone to tuned into our livestream this evening! Subscribe here so you don’t miss the next one.

Nov 14, 2020
No, Virginia, Santa can’t get coronavirus
00:15:46

It’s hard to fit a mask over that big beard, but never fear. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and, by extension, our show would like to reassure children that they shouldn’t worry about Santa Claus breaking the COVID-bubble for this socially distant holiday season — he’s got a special dispensation for international travel, one night only. We have Kimberly Adams back on the show today to talk about that and some more depressing coronavirus news, like case counts and potential new lockdowns. Maybe your kids can just listen to the last few minutes?

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Zuckerberg says Bannon has not violated enough policies for suspension” from Reuters

Biden Covid advisor says U.S. lockdown of 4 to 6 weeks could control pandemic and revive economy” from CNBC

APM Research Lab’s “The Color of Coronavirus” project

Trump is now sabotaging the transition. Democrats have a way to fight back.” from The Washington Post

“Cybersecurity officials say the election was ‘the most secure in American history.’” from The New York Times

Italy’s PM reassures kids that Santa won’t be locked down” from Agence France-Presse

Nov 13, 2020
Here’s how presidential transitions are supposed to work
00:22:00

The 2000 election isn’t a particularly great analogue to the Trump campaign’s legal challenges here in 2020, but it can help us better understand presidential transitions — because George W. Bush had the shortest one ever. We discussed the transfer of power on yesterday’s show, and a listener asked about it, so today we’re going to get into some presidential history. Plus: your questions about campaign finance, conservative social media and California’s new rules for gig workers, all on this super-sized Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work, try our episode page at makemesmart.org):

Campaign spending could continue long after Election Day” from “Marketplace Morning Report”

2020 election to cost $14 billion, blowing away spending records” from Open Secrets, the Center for Responsive Politics website

A Twitter for conservatives? Parler surges amid election misinformation crackdown” from NBC News

Foreign election interference is finding plenty of places online to spread” from “Marketplace Tech”

Fact-Checked on Facebook and Twitter, Conservatives Switch Their Apps” from The New York Times

Why it’s ‘critical’ for presidential transition to move forward” from PBS NewsHour

What’s ascertainment? The green light to launch transition” from the Associated Press

What Uber, Lyft Prop 22 win could mean for the future of all freelance work” from NBC News

Nov 12, 2020
A week after Election Day, here’s what to keep an eye on
00:32:00

You’d be forgiven for feeling like this election has been going on forever. Early voting started over a month ago in some states. The media couldn’t project a winner until three days ago, and it’s not over yet. There’s the Georgia runoffs, the Trump campaign’s lawsuits and basless allegations of voter fraud, plus the searching about what the polls got wrong. Today Kimberly Adams joins us to sort through all this. We’ll discuss her key takeaways from the election, what it means for the economy, which storylines need a little more nuance and who’s making money off it all.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work, try our episode page on makemesmart.org:

Adams’ latest for us: “Change in the White House means changing plans for some businesses

No, This Election Did Not Go ‘Smoothly‘” from Slate

False claims that Biden ‘lost’ Pennsylvania surge, and tech companies struggle to keep up.” from The New York Times

A little-known Trump appointee is in charge of handing transition resources to Biden — and she isn’t budging” from The Washington Post

This campaign spending dashboard

A Peculiar Way to Pick a President” from The New York Times’ podcast “The Daily”

Nov 11, 2020
Who’s in charge of protecting the country right now?
00:14:00

A lot of people are talking about President Donald Trump’s baseless allegations of election fraud today, and for good reason, but he made another move that’s worth your attention. The president fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper via tweet, and there could be more personnel changes on the way at the FBI and CIA. Today, we’ll talk about these moves and what they mean for national security at the end of the Trump administration. Plus: new mask mandates, new revelations about Alexander Hamilton and a video that made us all cry.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today. If these links don’t work for you, you can also find them on our episode page at makemesmart.org:

Trump Fires Mark Esper, Defense Secretary Who Opposed Use of Troops on U.S. Streets” from The New York Times

Pritzker Again Hints at Possibility of Another Stay-at-Home Order” from NBC5 Chicago

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert declares state of emergency, mandates masks to fight COVID” from ABC News

Here’s who’s on President-elect Biden’s newly formed Transition Covid-19 Advisory Board” from CNN

Alexander Hamilton, Enslaver? New Research Says Yes” from The New York Times

Former Ballerina with Alzheimer’s Recreates Her Swan Lake Choreography” from Kottke

TD Bank says it will not finance oil and gas activities in the Arctic” from Reuters

Nov 10, 2020
Trumpism is here to stay
00:18:02

Look, we’re gonna have some fun today. We’re gonna have happy hour and talk about Philadelphia and Stephen Colbert. But we have to do some soul-searching first. Because no matter what results come in tonight, the policies of the Trump administration, and the chaos and uncertainty it sowed, are not an aberration. Happy Friday?

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work for you, you can find them all on our episode page at makemesmart.org):

-“Trump Proved That Authoritarians Can Get Elected in America” from The Atlantic

This thread from NBC News’ Ben Collins

-“Stephen Colbert briefly breaks down, says Trump’s baseless claims of fraud ‘cast a dark shadow on our most sacred right’” from the Washington Post

-“Commentators call on Republicans to surround Philly. Philly social media responds: You’ve obviously never met us” from the Philadelphia Inquirer

And this video.

Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube for happy hour today! Subscribe so you don’t miss the next one.

Nov 07, 2020
While we wait for results, let’s talk turnout
00:13:52

We taped today’s show while waiting for President Donald Trump’s first non-tweet remarks since election night, not to mention results from key states. To fill the time, let’s talk a bit about voter turnout, both in this election and across history. Plus, a bit about misinformation and why that dubious Hunter Biden story wasn’t the “October surprise” that Hillary Clinton’s emails were back in 2016.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today. If you can’t open these links, check out the episode page on makemesmart.org.

The 2020 Election Set a Record for Voter Turnout. But Why Is It Normal for So Many Americans to Sit Out Elections?” from Time

Who can afford to vote?” from our podcast “This Is Uncomfortable”

Misinformation 2020: What the Data Tells Us About Election-Related Falsehoods” from Defense One

On Election Day, Facebook and Twitter Did Better by Making Their Products Worse” from The New York Times

This performance of Beyoncé’s “Freedom”

Nov 06, 2020
How much productivity are we losing to the election?
00:17:30

Making Election Day a holiday would surely benefit democracy, but what about the economy? A listener wants to know, so for this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’re looking at the cost to businesses when Election Day stretches to Election Week and beyond. Plus: questions about jobs data, tax filing in the pandemic and all the money thrown away on Senate races this year.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today (if you can’t click the links, check out our episode page at makemesmart.org):

The case for making Election Day an official holiday” from the Marketplace Morning Report

Pew data on Election Day as a holiday

Election Day likely cost billions in lost productivity” from Marketplace

GOP retains Senate seats despite record-breaking Democratic fundraising” from Axios

GOP House candidates overcome fundraising deficits in toss-up races” from Open Secrets

Working from home? You might owe income tax to two states” from CNN

Nov 05, 2020
Your election stories
00:15:00

We asked you all for some dispatches from your Election Day, so we’re playing a few of our favorites for this quick episode. We’ll hear from election judges, first-time voters and comfort-foodies, and later we’ll talk about some music that’s keeping Molly Wood inspired on a stressful day. Wishing you all the best! See you tomorrow.

As always, for a list of everything we talked about today, check out makemesmart.org.

Nov 04, 2020
“Find your why”
00:15:20

It’s a management philosophy, but it could apply to voting, we guess. We’re talking about it with regard to masking up. Massachusetts’ Republican governor just broadened the statewide mask mandate. Could the political winds be shifting toward common sense? We’ll talk about it. Plus: dissecting the fall of Quibi, the zen of dumb video games and the best burger you’ve ever had.

Quick programming note: Because of the election (heard of it?) we’re skipping our deep-dive tomorrow and a taping shorter episode in the afternoon instead. See you then! Don’t forget to vote! As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.

Nov 03, 2020
Science is here to save Halloween
00:16:24

Tomorrow is Halloween, and one of us is in costume. Today we’ll look at some new research on the (minimal) SARS-CoV-2 viral load carried on fun-sized candy packaging. Good news: The results look promising for trick-or-treating tomorrow. But first, we need to talk about facts, the election and bias in the media — which might be more frightening than Halloween right now.

Oct 31, 2020
Look how far people will go to vote
00:16:35

Sometimes those “make me smile” stories are actually kinda sad. We’ve featured a few like that on the show recently. There are also those stories that might seem sad or frustrating, but if you squint a little they’re pretty inspiring. Take, for instance, the great lengths to which some Americans have gone to fight voter suppression and make themselves heard this election season. That’s what we’re talking about today. Plus: the third wave of coronavirus cases and Amazon’s colossal quarterly report.

Oct 30, 2020
Is it daylight savings time or daylight saving time?
00:16:00

Whatever you call it, this weekend we’ll “fall back” to standard time, and it will suddenly feel like it gets dark very early. One listener wants to know: What if we didn’t? We’re tackling that question and many more from you all on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Also on the docket: air travel, polling data and commercial real estate.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.

Oct 28, 2020
The United States is a gerontocracy
00:31:26

The average age of a member of Congress is 58, and the most influential lawmakers are much older. No matter who wins the election next week, the White House will be occupied by the oldest sitting U.S. president. There’s a word for “rule by elders”: gerontocracy. One reason we’re in one is that more than half of registered voters are over 50. On today’s show, Tufts University youth voter researcher Abby Kiesa breaks down the data, tells us why it’s historically so hard to get young people to vote and busts a few myths, like that young people are a liberal monolith.

Oct 28, 2020
A mask mandate, right on time?
00:15:08

We’re talking about two recent pieces in The Wall Street Journal: one describing a worldwide “pandemic fatigue,” the other arguing that it’s finally time for the United States to adopt a nationwide mask mandate. Today, we’ll take the temperature, so to speak, of the American pandemic response as October turns into November. Plus: Puppies and SNL.

For a list of everything we talked about today, check out makemesmart.org.

Oct 27, 2020
The super-sized happy hour episode
00:23:13

Look: It’s Friday, we’re having beers and talking about the news. Much like Kai’s prospective RV trip, this episode covers a lot of ground. We’ll talk about the latest early voting numbers, Bay Area property taxes and get a crash course in why direct democracy is — and this is the poli sci term — “stupid.” All that and much more on this super-sized episode. Have a great weekend everybody!

As always, you can find links to all the stories we talked about at makemesmart.org. Thanks to everyone who joined us for the livestream! Subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss the next one.

Update (Oct. 26, 2020): This episode misidentifies Sheila Krumholz, executive director at the Center for Responsive Politics.

Oct 24, 2020
The real cause of the coronavirus recession
00:14:26

Iowa has never had a statewide mask mandate, and it lifted its few restrictions earlier than a lot of other states. But economic recovery has been slow, suggesting that this downturn is due more to individual choices than the lockdowns put in place by blue states, as some Republicans have suggested. Today, we’ll talk about a case study around Iowa in The New York Times. Plus: Elon Musk, infosec and Kiss.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org. And don’t forget about our weekly happy hour episode live on YouTube tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time, 6:30 p.m. Eastern! Subscribe to you don’t miss out.

Oct 23, 2020
How the stock market is preparing for Nov. 4
00:15:17

Is a Biden win already priced in? One of our listeners wants to know — and if you’re not sure what that means, there’s an explainer on our smart speaker skill. Today we’ll talk about the markets, the economy and this election. Plus, more listener questions about Twitter, the lottery and virtual reality. Oh, and a little Quibi talk.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

Oct 22, 2020
What you need to know about dark money in this election
00:28:19

Dark money is a bipartisan issue. When the Supreme Court handed down the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission verdict more than a decade ago, conservatives were primarily benefitting from a system that allowed organizations with undisclosed donors to pour money into races. Now, although dark money spending this election is down overall, liberal organizations are spending more. On today’s show, Center for Responsive Politics Executive Director Sheila Krumholz walks us through how dark money is working in this election and why she’s optimistic the courts will take another pass at campaign finance law.

Oct 20, 2020
Hey, what’s Adam Neumann up to these days?
00:15:39

Remember WeWork’s doomed IPO? We’re about a year from that whole bananapants story, but today The Wall Street Journal helped clear up one loose end. Apparently erstwhile WeWork CEO Adam Neumann is no longer at the company as a consultant. Today, we’ll talk about what we know and what we don’t about how the office-space company is faring in seven months into the pandemic. Plus: Halloween candy power rankings and the real-life Michael Myers — no, the other one.

As always, find links to everything we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org!

 

Oct 20, 2020
The real “October surprise”
00:17:36

… was all the votes we cast along the way. Today we’re geeking out about early numbers from the U.S. Elections Project. Voters have already cast more than 23 million ballots, more than 16% of the 2016 turnout. Wild. Also on the docket: the latest data on women being pushed out of the workforce, Trump’s flip-flop on wildfire aid and the best Zoom class of the week.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the live-stream on YouTube today! Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one. As always, find a list of everything we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org!

Oct 17, 2020
“300 episod Kay”
00:17:20

It’s our 300th episode! We’re eating some cake to celebrate, and Kai’s got a little messed up. We’re also going to hear from a bunch of you about how you’ve become smart over 300 episodes of the show. Thank you all so, so much for listening! Before that, we have some news stories to talk about, including the latest maneuver from Ajit Pai at the Federal Communications Commission and the results of our new poll with Edison Research.

For a list of everything we talked about today, check out our episode page at makemesmart.org! The celebration continues tomorrow on our YouTube channel, where we’ll do our live happy hour episode at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time, 3:30 p.m. Pacific. Subscribe so you don’t miss it!

Oct 16, 2020
Unburden yourself from Facebook guilt
00:16:00

Tell us if this sounds familiar: The endless string of controversies around user data, disinformation, anticompetitive practices, QAnon and more have soured you on Facebook, big time. But where else are you going to keep up with your family, your neighborhood or your kids’ school? That’s the conundrum facing one of our listeners, and we give the best advice we can on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Plus, your questions about airline bailouts, conference swag and interest rates.

As always, find a list of everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org!

Oct 15, 2020
Playing whack-a-troll with our democracy
00:28:10

Disinformation is a growing business that brings up a lot of questions. Is that fake news story getting to your timeline from a troll farm in Russia? Or a teenage contractor a few states over? More importantly, who is making money off it? On today’s show, Wilson Center disinformation fellow Nina Jankowicz joins us for an informative, if depressing, look at the depth and breadth of this growing industry.

Oct 14, 2020
Disney is doubling down on streaming
00:14:00

It’s not a great time to be in the movie business. It’s an even worse time to be in the theme park business. So it makes sense that Disney just announced a big restructuring of Disney+ and the rest of its streaming media business. Is this the canary in the coal mine for the other big studios? We’ll talk about it, and get Kai Ryssdal’s capsule review of “Mulan.” Plus, Facebook’s new content policies, the economics Nobel and a real-life lightsaber.

As always, find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org!

Oct 13, 2020
For millions of Americans, it’s Election Day already
00:17:52

Early voting is already underway in several states. For this Friday happy hour episode, we’re going to dig into some of the data out of those states and compare it to 2016. Why, what do you usually do at happy hour? Plus, we’ll talk about bedtime, the president’s tweets and “Sister Act.”

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about on the episode page at makemesmart.org. Thanks to everyone who joined us for the livestream today! Subscribe so you don’t miss the next one!

Oct 10, 2020
Deal or no deal?
00:14:03

First President Donald Trump squashed coronavirus relief negotiations. Then he tweeted about some piecemeal relief he would sign. Now he’s reportedly asking for a “big deal” before Election Day. What’s changed? Well, uh, let’s look at the stock market. Plus, an update on TikTok star Nathan Apodaca and a very intriguing real estate opportunity — living under a rock!

Don’t miss our live stream on YouTube tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time, 6:30 p.m. Eastern. Subscribe so you don’t miss it! For a list of everything we talked about today, check out our episode page at makemesmart.org!

Oct 09, 2020
Quick: How much toilet paper is in your home right now?
00:14:00

The coronavirus is spreading in the White House. It’s flu season, and experts are bracing for a new wave of COVID-19 cases with a vaccine still months away. So are people going to start stocking up at the grocery store again? We’ll talk it over on this week’s edition of Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Plus: market reaction to the president’s diagnosis and the military’s role in the peaceful transition of power.

As always, find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org!

Oct 08, 2020
The state of state economies
00:26:48

President Donald Trump pulled the plug on a coronavirus relief package today, tweeting that he would sign a bill after the election. For months now, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been going back and forth over a plan. One key issue: help for state and local governments, which are facing a $155 billion deficit, according to one estimate. Today, we’ll talk with Brookings Institution economist Louise Sheiner about the role those economies play in the broader economic picture and what their needs are are in a recession that looks very different from 2008. How worried should public employees be right now? We’ll have to wait till after the election.

Oct 06, 2020
What’s it going to take to get another COVID relief package?
00:13:30

U.S. markets rose on President Donald Trump’s claims he was recovering from COVID-19, but the stock market isn’t the economy. For real economic growth, Goldman Sachs is looking ahead to Election Day, when economists there say a “blue wave” could portend faster economic growth because it makes a new coronavirus relief bill more likely. We’ll talk about it. But first: With the last big blockbuster taken off the schedule for 2020, Regal Cinemas is shutting down and 48,000 people are out of a job. At least we have Doggface208.

As always, find links to everything we talked about — plus instructions on how to send us a voice memo — on the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Oct 06, 2020
Watch the news about Trump, but don’t borrow trouble
00:15:00

We had a few news stories ready to discuss today, but shortly before the taping, President Donald Trump flew to Walter Reed military hospital after testing positive for COVID-19 last night. This episode is mostly our reactions to that news, with this key takeaway: Things could get very bad very fast, but let’s unclench a bit as we await news about Trump’s condition.

Thanks again to everyone for making our fall pledge drive a huge success. We more than doubled our goal — the video of Kai and Molly’s pumpkin beer taste test drops Monday!

Oct 03, 2020
What we still don’t know about coronavirus
00:19:31

Zeynep Tufekci has given us so much. Real Smarties know the UNC associate professor appeared on our show way back in 2018, and Tufekci has appeared on other Marketplace programs countless times to talk about technology and societal issues. Today, we’re digging into her latest piece in The Atlantic on a big unanswered question about COVID-19: How exactly does the virus spread from person to person? Plus, we’ll talk about Facebook groups, Subway’s bread-that’s-not-bread and, of course, pumpkin beer.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about on makemesmart.org. Finally, tomorrow’s the day — Kai and Molly will drink a pumpkin beer. Thank you so much for the support! If you want, there’s still time to give at marketplace.org/givesmart!

Oct 02, 2020
Make sure your vote counts
00:15:30

Make a plan. Do your research. Make sure your voice is heard this year. We’re talking, of course, about the National Park Service’s Fat Bear Week, which opened up its polls today. We’ll also kick off Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday with a listener question about using blockchain technology for voting. Plus: How much would American GDP grow if we included household labor? We’ll pull in an expert for that one.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on the episode page on our site, makemesmart.org. Finally, donate to our fall pledge drive at marketplace.org/givesmart!

Oct 01, 2020
Death and taxes come for us all, but not equally
0036:36

… But this episode is about taxes, just to be clear. The New York Times put out part two of its bombshell investigation last night, and ahead of the first presidential debate tonight, former Vice President and Democratic nominee Joe Biden published his returns. Today though, we’re going to zoom out a bit and look at whom the U.S. tax code benefits — and doesn’t benefit. Here to help is Chye-Ching Huang, senior director of economic policy with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ federal fiscal policy team.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on the episode page on our site, makemesmart.org. Finally, donate to our fall pledge drive at marketplace.org/givesmart!

Sep 30, 2020
The $750 question
00:21:40

How much has President Donald Trump paid in income taxes? We’ve been waiting since the 2016 primaries for his returns, and The New York Times finally dropped years of tax data in a bombshell report showing exactly how Trump has avoided paying much at all. Ahead of tomorrow’s episode all about the tax code more broadly, we’ll spend some time today scratching at the surface of the revelations. Plus: targeted ads, fat bears and a pumpkin spice update.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on the episode page on our site makemesmart.org. Finally, donate to our fall pledge drive at marketplace.org/givesmart!

Sep 29, 2020
Thick thighs (and rats) save lives
00:18:30

You may have heard the expression “thick thighs save lives.” And we have a story today about a rat who’s kept people in Cambodia safe from landmines. What about a rat with thick thighs? It’d probably be unstoppable. We’ll get into all of it on this very silly episode of Economics on Tap, but first we have to talk about Florida reopening and how big banks are assessing the election. TGIF!

Thanks to everyone who joined us for our live happy hour on YouTube! We’re getting closer and closer to our $100,000 fundraising goal — and closer to Kai Ryssdal drinking a pumpkin beer. Don’t wait, give today at marketplace.org/givesmart!

Sep 26, 2020
Normal? Not normal? You’re asking the wrong question
00:19:26

President Donald Trump wouldn’t commit yesterday to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the election next month. It’s giving us flashbacks to similar comments he made, and intimations about a “rigged” election back before he even took office. Back in 2016, plenty of outlets, us included, used to talk about how things were “not normal.” In 2020, Trump’s comments are just one of many signs that we’re way past that. We aren’t completely hollowed-out on this Thursday, though — we’ll also spend a little time talking about skin care … IN SPAAAACE!

As always, find links to everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org

Sep 25, 2020
Everything is broken
00:21:15

That’s the short answer. We’ll have some longer answers, too, on this week’s installment of Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. We’re answering listener questions about campaign finance, data privacy and Europe’s ban on American travelers. But first, guest host Kimberly Adams reacts to what’s going on in Louisville, Kentucky, tonight after no police officers were charged for killing Breonna Taylor.

Sep 24, 2020
Solving the wildfire paradox
00:24:00

We’ve talked a lot on the show recently about the wildfires raging in the western U.S. and darkening skies all over the country. We’ve talked about climate change and fire prevention, but we haven’t talked about another big factor: housing. Where and how we build our homes is one of the reasons wildfires have gotten bigger, more damaging and more deadly over time. Here to talk us through it is Kimiko Barrett. She’s a wildfire researcher at the nonprofit Headwaters Economics.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Sep 23, 2020
Making sense of the FinCEN files
00:24:00

BuzzFeed News published their findings over the weekend from huge cache of leaked “suspicious activity reports” from some of the world’s biggest banks. They show trillions of dollars worth of money laundering and other illegal activity over years. We’ll spend some of today’s show wading into it, but first, Marketplace’s Amy Scott is in the co-host chair, sharing some new data on how racism affects home appraisals. Plus, the comforts of a Costco hotdog and Earth, Wind & Fire.

As always, find links to everything we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

Sep 22, 2020
Voting and economics have always been intertwined
00:18:46

Who can afford to vote? On the season premiere of “This Is Uncomfortable,” host Reema Khrais looks into the history of voting rights in this country, and their long relationship with socioeconomic status. She’s filling in for Kai on our weekly happy hour episode to talk about it. Plus: the latest controversy at the CDC and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

As always, you can find a link to everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.

Sep 19, 2020
It’s not free speech, it’s market-manipulated speech
00:15:07

Facebook makes an interesting decision about speech on the company’s internal version of of the social media site that has us scratching our heads. Plus: the pandemic in Europe, small business closures and Martha Stewart’s Instagram.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about on the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Sep 18, 2020
When a controlled burn is better than the alternative
00:16:25

Last week we talked about the settled science of preventing forest fires. Today we hear from one listener, a lung doctor in smoky Seattle, who wants to know how to start that process. We’ll answer as best we can on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Later, we’ll take a look back in history to see what might drive the federal government to some kind of action.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

Sep 17, 2020
Coronavirus is pushing women out of work
00:34:00

After six months of this pandemic, we have data showing women are working longer hours and taking on a disproportionate amount of the extra work at home. For those womens’ careers, sociology professor Caitlyn Collins says it can mean death by a thousand cuts. On today’s show, we’ll talk with Collins about women dropping out of the workforce, the ripple effects that could have years down the line and what we can do about it now.

Sep 16, 2020
The Barry Bonds theory of climate change
00:16:52

The West Coast of the United States is burning, and chewable air is making its way into neighboring states. And yet President Donald Trump, staring the crisis in the face today in a visit to California, continued to question the science. “It’ll start getting cooler. You just watch,” he said. You might have heard similar points from your loved ones talking about “global warming.” So today we’re going to propose a new way of talking about the climate crisis — it puts whatever climate you’re in on steroids. It’s not all doom and gloom through, because we get to hear Paul Rudd say face masks are “beast.”

As always, you can find a link to everything we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

Sep 15, 2020
How do you prevent wildfires? The science is settled
00:15:45

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and a brutal wildfire season, 2020 is all about the stuff we definitely knew how to prevent and just … didn’t want to. Today we’re going to zoom in a bit on those fires, and clarify a few things about the president’s income tax deferral. We’re gonna need a drink.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about at makemesmart.org. Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube! Subscribe so you don’t miss the next one.

Sep 12, 2020
Maybe things are better across the pond?
00:16:00

The United States is changing its focus from doing very little about the pandemic to doing very little about election interference. So to avoid getting too hollowed out this Thursday, let’s shift our focus to something less maddening, like … uh … Brexit?

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on the episode page at makememsmart.org. And don’t forget to join us tomorrow on YouTube at 3:30 p.m. PDT/6:30 p.m. EDT for our live happy hour show! Subscribe so you don’t miss it.

Sep 11, 2020
Trump’s tax holiday is no holiday at all
00:17:00

President Donald Trump is allowing companies to defer payroll tax deductions through the end of the year. But those taxes come due Jan. 1, so who’s actually benefiting? We’ll try and puzzle that one out on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Plus, how secure are Zoom doctor’s appointments? Which economic numbers should we be watching besides jobs? And the most burning question of all: What’s Kai’s favorite fruit?

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org

Sep 10, 2020
Is it too late to stop QAnon?
00:37:47

QAnon is more than just a conspiracy theory. BuzzFeed News has taken to calling it a “collective delusion.” Others just call it a cult. Whatever you call it, QAnon is not based on fact, but it’s had much more staying power than, say, Pizzagate or garden-variety social media misinformation. There are thousands of Facebook groups, supporters at Trump rallies and even candidates for Congress who say they believe the theory that President Donald Trump is battling Satan-worshiping pedophiles at the highest levels of government. Today, we’ll talk with professor and author Jevin West about QAnon’s spread and how to fight it. Plus, we answer your questions about Q, like how to talk to a loved one who’s caught in its thrall.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

Sep 09, 2020
What the president said, and what it says about him
00:17:43

We’re trying to be careful to stay in our lane these days, but we haven’t been able to shake that Atlantic article about President Donald Trump calling soldiers who die in war “losers.” So beer in hand, we’re gonna talk about it. Plus: the (de)politicization of COVID-19 vaccines, teen hormones and dreams of traveling far, far away … TGIF.

Sep 04, 2020
COVID is an earthquake — we’ll feel the aftershocks for decades
00:15:37

On today’s show, we’re looking at the long tail of COVID-19 and the effects it will have on health and health care long after we get a vaccine. Plus, we read your many, many emails about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You have strong thoughts.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

Sep 04, 2020
You can’t win public office without being on Facebook
00:15:44

One of our listeners asked, and the answer is no. Not even if you’re Captain America. We’re talking about Mark Zuckerberg and the Avengers on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Of course, it wasn’t always this way. We’ll look at the role of cheap Facebook ads in elections and how Mark Zuckerberg sees it. Plus, the appliance shortage, the Phillips curve and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Sep 03, 2020
How we shop now
00:31:51

We could all be forgiven for indulging in a little retail therapy right now. In fact, retail sales in July were up 2.7% year over year as Americans flocked to home improvement stores and took up new hobbies while in lockdown. Today we’ll spend some time talking with Marketplace retail reporter Marielle Segarra about how spending habits have changed six months into the coronavirus pandemic and what shifts are yet to come.

Sep 02, 2020
We’re not working from home, we’re living at work
00:14:43

Today on the show, how COVID-19 upends parents’ ability to care for their children, and — surprise! — women are more likely to see it affect their careers than men. According to new research from the Census Bureau and Federal Reserve, 1 in 5 working-age adults said they were not working because they had COVID 19-related child care issues. Of that group, “women are nearly three times more likely than men” to not be working. Plus, the stock market continues to make sense to nobody but the rich. Homecoming masks make us smile, and Molly’s hankering for some chowda! Which is a whole lot better than frogs in a pot.

For a list of everything we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org

Aug 31, 2020
Disinformation is real
00:19:28

There’s a “parallel media universe” on Facebook. And the biggest companies in the gig economy are pushing an alternative narrative of their own. It’s all kinda bananas … to put it lightly. But today is Friday, so we’re putting down the Twitter and raising a glass. Here’s to the National Basketball Association and its players’ union, who have set out plans to expand voting access and promote social justice.

Aug 29, 2020
The weirdest thing happening in American business right now
00:16:44

No, not Amazon’s new tone-policing wearable, though we’ll get to that. And no, not the Fed turning up the heat on inflation — but we’ll cover that, too. The weirdest thing happening at this very weird time is that Walmart is teaming up with Microsoft to buy TikTok. On today’s show, we’ll talk about why a retail giant would want to own a video app. We’ll also talk a little bit about poop. It’s a weird day.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.

Aug 28, 2020
Where are those new unemployment checks?
00:17:13

It’s been more than a week since President Donald Trump took executive action to extend unemployment benefits. One of our listeners wants to know: Has anyone actually received a check yet? The answer is … complicated. But we’ll do what we can. Plus, questions about COVID-19 testing, the Dow and Trump’s proposal to eliminate payroll taxes on today’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. But first, there are some bigger stories we need to talk about.

Aug 27, 2020
The stock market is not the economy, exhibit 3,443.62
00:32:59

The S&P 500 closed at another record high today at 3,443.62. The NASDAQ hit a record high, too. The Dow is well on its way. But the pandemic keeps taking lives, new unemployment claims rose again, and consumer confidence has taken a dive. If you listen to our show, you know we’re fond of saying, “The stock market is not the economy.” Because it isn’t. So what is going on? To find out, we called up New York Times markets reporter Matt Phillips. After the interview, we’ll debate the fracas at Syracuse University and the pros and cons of an astroid hitting our planet. Plus, a bunch of listeners wrote in to tell us what the pandemic isn’t screwing up for them; we’ll share some of their answers.

Aug 26, 2020
Everything is so fragile right now
00:13:00

Today was the first day back to school for a bunch of kids, and Zoom crashed. California is burning again. Police shot another Black man on camera. And a man in China was reinfected with COVID-19. The bad news keeps coming back to haunt us. Even pumpkin spice.

For a list of everything we talked about today, head to the episode page at makemesmart.org.

 

Aug 25, 2020
Here’s the mail, it never fails …
00:17:30

… at least, according to Louis DeJoy. The postmaster general testified before Congress today, promising — with more than a little prodding — that election mail would be delivered “fully and on time.” Between this week’s Democratic National Convention and next week’s Republican National Convention, everything feels politicized. And what’s this now about Facebook getting ready for a contested election? Thank goodness it’s happy hour.

By the way, we taped this episode just before news broke that Mei Xiang, the National Zoo’s panda, has given birth. That will all make more sense when you listen. For links to that story and everything else we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Aug 22, 2020
This was always where things were going
00:15:32

Today we ask, with respect to … everything, “Why didn’t the right people see this coming?” Between the ride-share industry’s brinksmanship in California and the mess on college campuses as they attempt to reopen, we’re feeling a bit hollowed out. But that’s Thursday for you. Step away with us as we contemplate the passage of time….

As always, there are links to everything we talked about at makemesmart.org. Finally, don’t forget to join us Friday on our YouTube channel for our weekly happy hour episode! Subscribe so you won’t miss it.

Aug 21, 2020
Those masks are doing double duty now
00:16:00

It’s wildfire season in California. That means face masks are not only an essential accessory in fighting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but now they’re also filtering out smoke and ash particles. That led one Bay Area listener to ask: How is the N95 supply chain doing these days? Are we … good? We’ll talk about it on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Plus, online privacy, shareholder voting and a few TV recommendations.

Aug 20, 2020
The climate is still changing
00:29:49

It’s not easy to keep your eye on the ball with an election, economic collapse and a pandemic hanging over your head, but here’s the thing: Climate change is as much of an existential threat as it ever was, and the Trump administration has continued cutting environmental regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here to talk about the effect of those rollbacks and how the pandemic plays into it all is Kendra Pierre-Louis. She was a reporter on The New York Times’ climate team and now works on Gimlet’s podcast “How to Save a Planet.” Later, we’ll hear from listeners and experts on voting concerns, the digital divide and what effect all those disposable face masks could have on the environment. Man, it’s a hot one.

For a full list of everything we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org

Aug 19, 2020
Back to school … for about a day
00:16:00

Kai’s kids had their first miserable day of remote learning today. Molly’s kid was back last week, while she provided IT support. The situation at some colleges and universities is even worse, with students being sent home just days after arriving (and paying deposits for the semester). It’s all playing out just as Scott Galloway predicted on our show this summer. And it’s still only August. To lighten the mood: “The Golden Girls” and a whiz-bang way to get people to put masks on. Plus, a “state of democracy” update from Molly.

For links to everything we talked about today, plus that “Karenator” video, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org.

 

Aug 18, 2020
Yeah, we’re still talking about the Postal Service
00:17:00

We’ll stop discussing absentee voting and the upcoming election when things  that threaten it stop happening. Today it’s the revelations that 46 states might not get their ballots in time and drop-off boxes are being scooped up in a couple of  cities. At least we have tequila and pandas.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.

Aug 15, 2020
Some threats to democracy are real
00:16:01

President Donald Trump spelled things out pretty clearly today when he told Fox News why he doesn’t want Congress to allocate funding to the U.S. Postal Service. Without the money, he said, universal mail-in ballots — aka absentee voting, aka kind of a necessary thing during a pandemic — may not be possible. Ahem. We’re not sure you were supposed to say that part out loud. Sorry, we couldn’t help but curse a little in this episode. Oh, great bald eagle, please, please rescue our democracy.

As always, find links to everything we talked about at makemesmart.org, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss our live happy hour tomorrow!

Aug 14, 2020
College football’s canceled … sort of
00:18:19

Kai Ryssdal and Kimberly Adams field listener questions on this Whaddya Wanna Know Wednesday. We’ll cover a range of topics from college sports to insider trading, a tax credit for low-income families and one particularly nostalgic movie. Kimberly drops some fencing knowledge, and we’ll explain (again!) what’s up with inflation. Stay to the end for a special promise from Kai.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on the episode page at makemesmart.org

Aug 13, 2020
Is our right to vote at risk?
00:34:16

Confidence in our elections system is sagging. This year’s primary season brought reports of long lines at polling places and uncounted absentee ballots. And just when it was looking like many of us would be voting by mail this fall (as the pandemic rages on), a shake-up in leadership at the U.S. Postal Service is generating more uncertainty. This week, we speak with R. Michael Alvarez of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project about protecting the “franchise” — that is, our individual right to vote — and what we can do now and on Election Day to make sure our voices are heard. Later in the show, we’ll hear about the 2021 cruise season and the fate of small businesses in the pandemic economy.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Aug 12, 2020
Oh good, we’ve got … memoranda
00:14:51

More kids are testing positive for COVID-19, people are making rent payments on their credit cards and Disney’s got no more “Fox” to give (pardon our French). On this Monday show, Kai Ryssdal returns from vacation, “bringing gender diversity back to the show,” in the words of co-host Kimberly Adams. We’ll talk about the virus, the economy and a few headlines that brought a twinkle to our eye. Plus, is the health care system for animals actually working better than the health care system for humans right now?

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Aug 10, 2020
The virus is the economy
00:20:00

Talks for a now-overdue coronavirus aid package collapsed going into the weekend, with President Trump weighing what he can do with executive orders. Meanwhile, the country has passed 200,000 “excess deaths.” We know we’ve had some bummer episodes this week, but we do bring this one back with a heartfelt appreciation of Phil Collins’ masterpiece, “In the Air Tonight.”

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the livestream! Subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss the next one. You’ll find links to that and everything else we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

Aug 08, 2020
It’s OK to not be OK!
00:17:14

Whether you’ve lost someone, lost a job, gotten sick or are just feeling lonely, this pandemic is taking a toll on all of us. Today, we discuss two pieces in The New York Times about the physical and mental complications of the COVID-19 crisis. But it’s not all bad — we’ll also go deep into Amazon’s “A League of Their Own” series.

Aug 07, 2020
The data collection ‘arms race’
00:21:10

Microsoft is in talks to acquire TikTok — owned by Beijing-based ByteDance — amid much handwringing over the data the app collects. And while TikTok’s fate may ultimately be decided by the obscure Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, it seemed worth asking: Why is it so important to keep data collection domestic? There are certainly plenty of American apps collecting information on their users, too. We’ll talk about that and more on this week’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Plus: contact tracing, supply shockwaves and alpacas.

Aug 06, 2020
An unequal country is a vulnerable country
00:40:42

A widening wealth gap isn’t good for democracy. Yet inequality has been on the rise for decades in the United States. So what does that tell us about the state of the republic? On today’s show, Atlantic staff writer George Packer walks us through some historical examples of when stark inequities led to revolution and reform — and boils down everything from the New Deal to collard greens.

Aug 05, 2020
Let’s get real about USPS
00:18:02

Kimberly Adams is co-hosting the show this week with Molly Wood. We kicked off our Monday episode with a little perspective on the U.S. Postal Service. Plus, we try and unpack what exactly has been going on with TikTok over the past few days. For smiles, we’ll have an update on your favorite uncles and some cute alpacas.

Aug 04, 2020
It’s a ‘Succession’ day
00:15:43

James Murdoch, scion of News Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch, resigned from the company’s board of directors today, citing “disagreements over certain editorial content.” We’ll spend a little time today talking about what that means for Murdoch’s older brother, Lachlan, and the family’s media empire. Plus, somehow “Make Me Smile” keeps getting sadder. TGIF.

As always, you’ll find links to everything we talked about on the episode page at makemesmart.org. You’ll also find a link to subscribe to our YouTube channel, so you never miss a live taping.

Aug 01, 2020
Happy National Blueberry Month, or something?
00:12:45

After failing to agree on and pass a new pandemic relief bill, the U.S. Senate appears to have officially recognized July 2020 as National Blueberry Month. That sounds a least a little productive … until you remember July ends Saturday, and so does the extra $600 weekly unemployment benefit millions of Americans rely on. You know it was a tough day when even “Make Me Smile” makes us cry.

Jul 31, 2020
Check your quarantine snack supplies
00:14:47

We’re tackling a deeply important question on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday: What’s everyone snacking on in quarantine? Let’s compare notes. Plus, we’ll answer some other listener questions about the coronavirus relief bill and how weirdly hard it is to unload your extra coins.

For a list of everything we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Jul 29, 2020
Let’s get antisocial
00:40:06

The convergence of nationwide protests over police violence and a global pandemic have placed renewed scrutiny on the role of companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple in our democracy. On Wednesday, chief executives from those companies will face lawmakers — virtually — for a much-anticipated hearing on their power and influence in this election year. We had New Yorker staff writer Andrew Marantz on the show to talk about it. He covers tech and social media for the magazine, and he wrote the book “Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation.”

Jul 29, 2020
Let’s just call this year a wash
00:12:26

Tech was one of the first industries to send workers home in response to the pandemic. And it was one of the first to let its employees work from anywhere. So what should we make of the fact that Google has pushed the date it’s calling employees back to the office to July 2021? Molly returns from a weekend of “Chrismukkah in July” to a Dark Place indeed. Join us!

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about on the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Jul 28, 2020
Be nice to someone this weekend
00:18:44

We’re 135 days into the COVID-19 pandemic and the bottom could fall out of the economy in a few days. Everyone’s having a hard time in some way, so our main message for today’s happy hour episode is this: Be nice to someone, or a few someones, this weekend. Also on tap, the mask policy at McDonald’s, a somewhat-related thing about George H.W. Bush, baseball’s return and more on that AOC speech. TGIF!

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on the episode page at makemesmart.org. Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube! Subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss the next one.

Jul 25, 2020
So you’re out of work. How’s 70% of your old salary sound?
00:15:04

That’s the pitch Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin gave CNBC today when outlining the Republican plan for coronavirus relief after the extra weekly $600 in unemployment benefits runs out at the end of the month. On today’s show, we’ll try to figure out why Congress left this to the last minute and whether the legislators’ latest proposal will work for the 34 million Americans now jobless. Plus: Kai gets hacked (maybe).

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org. Finally, join us for our live happy hour episode Friday at 6:30 p.m. EDT, 3:30 p.m. PDT. Subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss it.

Jul 24, 2020
Why hasn’t Congress extended jobless benefits yet?
00:15:43

Congress is about to blow through its deadline to extend extra unemployment benefits for the tens of millions of Americans out of work due to the coronavirus. What gives? Great question. For Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’ll attempt to answer. Plus, your questions about CEO pay caps, Mexican Coke and more.

As always, you’ll find links to everything we talked about on makemesmart.org. By the way, please help us improve this podcast by taking a quick, anonymous survey at americanpublicmedia.org/survey.

Jul 23, 2020
U.S.-China relations are bad, but are they ‘new Cold War’ bad?
00:44:10

As China returns to some sense of normalcy after the worst of the pandemic — and as the U.S. tries to slow down a new surge in coronavirus cases — relations between the two countries have reached a low point. On today’s show, Marketplace’s China correspondent, Jennifer Pak, tells us about the view from Shanghai, what state media are saying and what’s going on with a potential ban on the mega-popular app TikTok. Later, we’ll hear from a listener who’s wrestling with the child care crisis here at home and another who’s using lockdown to pick up (and stick with!) a new hobby.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on our episode page at MakeMeSmart.org. And don’t forget to check out Marketplace’s brand-new kids’ podcast, “Million Bazillion,” on your favorite podcast app.

Jul 22, 2020
This is the whole ballgame, folks
00:17:53

The vast majority of Americans support the United States Postal Service, but the president is not a fan, and apparently neither is the Trump-donor-turned-postmaster-general-appointee Louis DeJoy. Today, we’ll look at what a new postmaster general could mean for the institution, and the stakes as millions of people vote by mail this fall. Plus: The federal agents we talked about last week are planning to expand to Chicago. Happy Monday.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on our episode page at MakeMeSmart.org. And don’t forget to check out our brand-new kids’ podcast, “Million Bazillion,” on your favorite podcast app.

Jul 21, 2020
What’s happening to protesters in Portland?
00:17:33

On today’s happy hour episode, “This Is Uncomfortable” host Reema Khrais is on to talk about what’s happening in Portland, Oregon, this week. Federal law enforcement officers are taking protesters off the street, placing them under arrest for reasons unknown and driving away with them in unmarked vans. It sounds like a headline from a different place and a different time, but it’s happening in an American city right now. Later, we’ll lighten things up by talking about a socially distanced knighting and … ants.

As always, find links to everything we talked about at makemesmart.org. Thanks to everyone who joined us live! Subscribe on YouTube so you don’t miss the next one! Finally, please help us improve this podcast by taking a quick, anonymous survey at americanpublicmedia.org/survey.

Jul 18, 2020
The Washington … Red Tails?
00:15:00

That’s just one name being kicked around for Washington, D.C.’s football team, and it’s our favorite so far. That’s our Make Me Smile today, but first we have to talk about this pandemic recovery plan that … doesn’t mention the pandemic.

As always, find links to everything we talked about at makemesmart.org, plus a link to subscribe to our YouTube channel, where Kai Ryssdal and “This Is Uncomfortable” host Reema Khrais will stream our live happy hour episode tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. EDT / 3:30 p.m. PDT! Finally, please help us improve this podcast by taking a quick anonymous survey at americanpublicmedia.org/survey.

Jul 17, 2020
Rent is due??? Again???
00:17:00

Just in time for Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, one of our listeners is making us smart. We talked a bit last week about eviction moratoriums happening around the country. Today we have a lawyer listener who wrote in on the issue. Plus: the coin shortage and diversity in public media.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page on our site. And by the way, please help us improve this podcast by taking a quick anonymous survey at americanpublicmedia.org/survey.

Jul 16, 2020
The state of Oklahoma
00:27:45

… after last week’s landmark ruling over Native land rights, that is. A huge swath of eastern Oklahoma has been a reservation since the Trail of Tears in the 1830s, and the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed that status. Independent journalist Rebecca Nagle has been covering the case on her podcast “This Land,” and she joins us today to talk about the history of that land and what’s next for the 1.8 million people living there.

Jul 15, 2020
‘A Tapestry of Bonkers’
00:16:29

Sometimes you have to laugh so you don’t cry. That’s how guest host Kimberly Adams is feeling about two big news stories out of her hometown of St. Louis and her current town, Washington, D.C. Today on the show we’re talking about reopening and re-closing California, that couple that brandished guns at protesters and the football team that finally changed its racist name.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org. Finally, please help us out by taking a quick anonymous survey at americanpublicmedia.org/survey.

Jul 14, 2020
“Open the schools, or else”
00:20:26

That’s apparently the mandate from the Trump administration. And, look, maybe going back to school is the best thing (perhaps more data would be useful). But we’re looking for more planning, less politicization. And stop comparing schools to Disney World. Also on tap for today’s happy hour episode: comets, TikTok and a farewell to Carl Reiner.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org. You can also find a link to our YouTube channel — subscribe so you never miss a Friday broadcast!

Jul 11, 2020
They’re banning TikTok, Ma
00:13:17

Things felt so quaint when we covered the video app TikTok on the show last year. Lil Nas X was topping the chart, and parent company ByteDance had just racked up a few million in Federal Trade Commission fines. Now, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is floating a “ban” on Chinese social media apps, citing national security concerns, and that’s got Molly’s son and other teens on edge. We’ll talk about it, plus parking lots and roller coasters.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org. You can also find a link to subscribe to our YouTube channel, where Kai and Molly will be broadcasting live tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. Pacific for happy hour!

Jul 10, 2020
How college got so unaffordable
00:22:00

On our recent episode on higher education, Scott Galloway discussed the “Rolexification” of public education. For today’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’ll dig a bit into how we got here. Plus, a listener’s heartbreaking housing dilemma, why Molly is canceling “cable” again and a “Hamilton” close read.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.

Jul 08, 2020
We can’t reopen the economy without solving child care
00:33:17

It’s kind of a circular problem: If we’re ever going to get people back to work, they need child care. But those child care workers are out of work, too. As Congress weighs new coronavirus relief programs, both parties are making a point to devote billions to child care. But America’s child care system has been in crisis long before this pandemic. Today, Washington Post reporter Valerie Strauss walks us through it. Plus, we’ll hear from a Vermont sheep farmer with a new side hustle, and Kai Ryssdal answers the Make Me Smart question again.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.

Jul 08, 2020
Is it too early in the week for a rage supernova?
00:13:57

If you’re flying on a plane, you should wear a mask. But as far as the federal government is concerned, of all the things you have to do to get on a plane, wearing a mask isn’t one of them. Make it make sense!!!!!! We’ll also talk about the inequality of COVID-19 and the foreign students falling through the cracks at Harvard and other all-remote schools this fall. It’s grim. Maybe some Quibi gossip will cheer us up.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

Jul 06, 2020
How are you doing?
00:18:17

We’re about 113 days into this pandemic, heading into a holiday weekend unlike any other in recent memory. We’re still learning about the best way to treat COVID-19, and some states are coming around on mask mandates. It’s not necessarily getting any easier. So how are you doing?

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the livestream. It was our best yet. Links to subscribe to our YouTube channel, plus everything we talked about today, are at our episode page at makemesmart.org

Jul 02, 2020
Will coronavirus make it easier to buy a home?
00:15:30

We’ve gotten a lot of questions about the housing market during the COVID-19 recession. For today’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’re going to dive into that, plus scary tech, reserve currency and a little “M*A*S*H” trivia.

You can find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org, along with a link to subscribe to our YouTube page, where we’ll be live Thursday!

Jul 01, 2020
A higher ed crisis is a terrible thing to waste
00:34:42

The rock walls, sushi bars and student center bowling alleys at colleges around the country will likely sit empty this fall. The spring semester has shown that online learning has significant limitations, said NYU marketing professor Scott Galloway, and welcoming back students and faculty is going to be like “Contagion 2.” But there’s also an opportunity here, he says, to increase budgets, cut costs and leverage technology to make higher education as accessible as it used to be.

Jul 01, 2020
Even the pandemic is bigger in Texas
00:16:18

Marketplace reporter Andy Uhler is in for Kai today, bringing us his on-the-ground reporting from Austin, Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott is rolling back reopening plans. But Abbott’s mostly left the rule-making to local governments and, well, no one knows what’s happening. For the rest of the California-based Make Me Smart crew, that confusing relationship between local and state government sounds familiar. Might be the same way in your state, too. Plus: Talking about sports, and talking around the COVID-19 sadness, not at the same time.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about on makemesmart.org

Jun 29, 2020
That was fast: Facebook’s ad moderation flip-flop
00:15:59

It was just days ago that Facebook declared it would “not make policy changes tied to revenue pressure” after advertisers announced a boycott over the platform’s moderation efforts — or lack thereof. Today, Facebook announced it would, in fact, respond to that boycott by tamping down misinformation and discriminatory ads on its platform. So, that worked. Plus: Why oh why oh why aren’t more Americans wearing masks???? We need a drink.

As always you can find links to everything we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

Jun 26, 2020
Verizon boycotts Facebook (for a month)
00:14:36

Joining the likes of REI, Patagonia and others, Verizon is the biggest company by far to pull advertising from Facebook to protest the social media company’s moderation policies and overall corporate approach to combating misinformation. Can a boycott that’s just a month long lead to lasting change? We’ll talk about it. Plus: The country’s mayors speak out about racism in criminal justice.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.

Jun 25, 2020
Who gets to be an “investor”?
00:16:47

There’s an accreditation process… and there’s an app. For this week’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’ll talk about both. Plus: If you’re not attending college in person this fall, should you get a discount?

As always, you can find a list of some of the stuff we talked about today at makemesmart.org.

Jun 24, 2020
Stock up on masks and wipes, the country’s reopening
00:33:04

Loren Wold came on the show to talk about testing and vaccines back in late April, which feels like eons ago in this pandemic. Wold’s a professor and assistant dean for biological health research at Ohio State University. His lab is one of many working on a coronavirus vaccine. Today he’s back to talk masks, vaccines and whether he’d get on a plane again anytime soon.

Jun 23, 2020
Let’s rename the places and stuff named after racists
00:15:21

Sen. John C. Stennis was a segregationist who opposed civil rights bills during his 41-year tenure. So why is there still an aircraft carrier named after him? That’s just one example we’ll pick apart today. Plus, President Trump’s suspension of H1-B visas and, of course, “Hamilton.”

As always, for a list of stuff we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Jun 22, 2020
Friday the Juneteenth
00:19:46

It’s Juneteenth, the day in 1865 when the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached slaves in Galveston, Texas. To celebrate, Kimberly is lining up joyful movies about Black characters to watch this weekend. We’re also going to spend some time today reflecting on the decline of Black-owned businesses during this pandemic and a shameful history that’s not that far in our past. But first, Kai gives an update on the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.

Jun 20, 2020
We have an empathy gap in this country
00:14:44

Kai has said it over and over again: We’ve given up on this pandemic. But people are still dying by the thousands from coronavirus infections. And, according to an interview Kimberly talks about today, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says we’re still in the first wave. All that, some cookies, plus: Kai sings!

Jun 19, 2020
What do you do when a business is spreading COVID?
00:17:55

On this week’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, Kai and Kimberly tackle a listener’s ethical dilemma: Should you blow the whistle on a company that’s knowingly accelerating the spread of coronavirus? Plus, voting machines, stress tests and Champagne problems.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.

Jun 18, 2020
BLM and pride take it to the streets
00:36:48

Pride month and Juneteenth are upon us, and protests against police brutality are entering their third week. Across the country, we’re seeing two civil rights movements gaining momentum together. Here to talk with us about intersectionality at this moment and how the coalition could come together is Keith Boykin. He’s a lawyer, journalist and commentator on CNN. He worked in the Clinton administration and wrote the book “One More River to Cross: Black & Gay in America.” His new book, out next year, is called “Race Against Time: Politics of a Darkening America.” Plus, with “Marketplace’s” Kimberly Adams in for Molly Wood on this episode, we’ll talk about Infrastructure Week — are we in it now? Did it ever end? — and President Donald Trump’s new executive order on policing.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.

Jun 16, 2020
Imagine the economic upside of dismantling systemic racism
00:14:41

Kicking off the week with guest co-host Kimberly Adams, we pick up the conversation within the context of Kai’s interview with Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic. Plus, what today’s big Supreme Court ruling protecting gay and transgender employees says about “constitutional textualism,” and how the lockdown is changing American fashion. False eyelashes. Crocs. And more.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

Jun 16, 2020
This just in: a rollback of protections for trans Americans
00:16:39

A Friday-afternoon story we couldn’t ignore: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced new rules Friday afternoon that would effectively exclude trans people from protection against health care discrimination. The news  comes amid the pandemic, during LGBT Pride Month and at a time when America is in a fury over systemic oppression of a different sort… We discuss. But it’s not all dark on this Friday show. We’ll also journey back into the thicket of HBO’s sophisticated/weird branding.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org

Jun 13, 2020
Who got half a trillion in COVID loans? The Trump administration won’t say
00:14:12

The Small Business Administration was supposed to release detailed information about who got hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer-backed PPP loans. But at a hearing yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said it’s “confidential information.” We’re going to talk a lot about the shredding of norms on today’s show … if Kai’s recording setup can make it through the end of the taping.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today (including Kai’s “room rating”) on our episode page at makemesmart.org

Correction (June 12, 2020): A previous version of this podcast title and description misstated how much in PPP loans could be kept confidential. The title and text have been corrected.

Jun 12, 2020
Do investors care about fighting systemic racism?
00:18:11

IBM’s stock price slumped this week after the company announced it would get out of the facial recognition business for fear that it could lead to racist, abusive surveillance. So what do we make of that? We’ll talk about this disconnect between our national moment and Wall Street on today’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday.

Jun 10, 2020
Defund police? Then what?
00:37:43

Following two weeks of sustained protest over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, the City Council there voted to explore dismantling its Police Department. Minneapolis is among the few cities now seriously considering the work of activists and academics who’ve tracked the failure of police-reform efforts. It is looking at alternate systems, pledging to build new options for public safety.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org

Jun 10, 2020
We’re officially in a recession
00:16:12

After a 128-month expansion, the U.S. economy entered a recession in February. Today, we’ll talk about what that means and where we go from here. Plus: Guest co-host Kimberly Adams talks about a #MeToo-style movement for Black journalists and why it really feels like this time racist media bosses are on notice.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about on the episode page at makemesmart.org

Jun 09, 2020
Yes, you can trust the jobs report
00:17:55

We were all surprised by this morning’s May jobs numbers, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust them. That’s a dangerous road to go down. On today’s show, we’ll pick apart how the Bureau of Labor Statistics does the numbers and the wonkiness behind the (forgive us) wonky numbers. Plus: revolt over comments from public officials at The New York Times and Facebook.

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Jun 06, 2020
K-Pop stans vs. racism
00:15:30

If you find yourself rage-clicking on trending topics that appear to be racist this week, you’ll likely be greeted by gifs and videos of BTS or another massively popular Korean pop group. Their famously dedicated fan armies have joined the fight against racism online, flooding anti-Black hashtags. Also on the docket today: What would it take for you to sit in the middle seat on an airplane again?

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Jun 05, 2020
Yes, Quibi still exists
00:15:36

For Whaddya Wanna Know Wednesday, we dipped into the mailbag and pulled out a mix of your questions from the past week, including: What’s happening with Quibi, the very-well-funded mobile-only streaming service that landed with a thud in the middle of a pandemic? Plus, we look at consumerism post-COVID-19 and the ripple effects of Silicon Valley workers permanently working from home anywhere in the world.

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Jun 04, 2020
Will the George Floyd protests finally catalyze real change?
00:34:10

Protests against the killing of George Floyd in police custody have flared in some 140 cities. Once again Americans are confronted with a reminder of the ways people of color, particularly black people, bear a disproportionate burden in this economy in the areas of health care, resources like loans and pandemic relief, food security and more. Today, we talk with D’Artagnan Scorza, founder and executive director of the Social Justice Learning Institute, about the language we use to talk about protest and policing, and where the fight for equality and justice goes after a crisis.

Jun 03, 2020
Facebook, protests and a whole lot more
00:14:27

Many Facebook employees took a virtual hike to protest the company’s policies around presidential messaging. And there’s a lot to process on this Monday. We do bring you a couple of things to make you smile, though.

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Jun 02, 2020
These are broken times
00:16:13

It’s been a long week, so we went live on YouTube Friday to talk about what’s happening in Minneapolis, our hobbled economy, and President Trump’s leadership over a drink. In lighter news, we’ll also discuss how to leave your dog at home after the pandemic and “Haircut Night in America.”

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org.

May 30, 2020
What does Hong Kong bring to China’s economy?
00:15:09

As China cracks down on Hong Kong’s autonomy, we take a minute to examine the territory’s place in the world’s second-largest economy. Plus: the Boston Marathon, the Wall Street Journal and a couple of Uncles David.

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org.

May 29, 2020
What’s HBO Max?
00:15:14

Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday isn’t just about answering your questions.  Sometimes our hosts have questions too. Today, Kai is trying to figure out the latest entrant in the streaming wars. Plus: how oil prices bounced back and the future of higher ed.

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org.

May 28, 2020
Back to the mall … but is anyone buying?
00:31:47

After years of sagging sales and changing customer habits, the coronavirus pandemic has retail fighting for its life. As more states move to partially reopen nonessential businesses, it’s still not clear who’s going to make it out of this crisis. For our 200th (!) episode, Marketplace retail reporter Marielle Segarra walks us through the winners and losers, what this crisis says about the way Americans shop and what’s coming next. Get ready for a mall-walking comeback.

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org. And a big thanks to everyone who’s helped us get to 200 episodes! Here’s to 200 more.

May 27, 2020
Happy Friday: Your SAT scores really don’t matter anymore
00:15:01

Not in California, anyway. The University of California system announced this week it will phase out the use of ACT and SAT test scores in its admissions process. Will it ease stress and lower barriers for low-income families? We’ll talk about it. Plus: American oil production and coffee snobbery.

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org. And another big thanks to everyone who helped make our spring fundraiser a success. If you missed it, there’s still time to donate at marketplace.org/givesmart.

May 23, 2020
Hank Paulson on the strong dollar
00:15:02

On today’s show, we’ll dig into former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s column in Foreign Affairs about how to keep the dollar strong. Plus, Big Tech’s new work-from-home reality check and some useful euphemisms for “President Trump lied.”

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org. And if you can, consider supporting Marketplace with a donation at marketplace.org/givesmart.

May 22, 2020
Can you deduct a home office on your taxes?
00:17:24

Or will your employer pay for some WFH remodeling? Eh, don’t get your hopes up. We’re fielding a couple of personal finance questions on today’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. We’ll also answer your mail about the confusing surge in the stock market and the future of retail (which we’ll talk about more on our Tuesday episode next week).

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org. And if you can, consider supporting Marketplace with a donation at marketplace.org/givesmart.

May 20, 2020
When we go back to work, tech will have a new job
00:31:16

Ready or not, the country is starting to reopen, and some Americans are getting back to work. There’s a lot of new tech on the table for preventing a surge in COVID-19 cases, but what’s actually effective? And what data will you have to give up to use it? Here to talk us through how the American office will change is Chris Calabrese, the vice president for policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology.

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org. And if you can, consider supporting Marketplace with a donation at marketplace.org/givesmart.

May 20, 2020
This recession curve could take many shapes
00:14:21

Is it a “V”? A “W”? What about a Nike swoosh? What about a “K”? Stay with us. Also meeting up here today: Masayoshi Son, Chuck E. Cheese and Jesus Christ.

For a full list of stories we talked about today, check out our episode page at makemesmart.org.

May 19, 2020
Will there be a baseball season?
00:20:40

For now, it’s millionaires versus billionaires. The MLB is exploring a way to get baseball season started during the pandemic… and Kai’s out today. So we drafted Andy Uhler to go deep on the players union, salary caps and more. Plus: a playlist for your weekend and, oh yeah, Facebook’s $400 million purchase of Giphy.

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org. And if you can, consider supporting Marketplace with a donation at marketplace.org/givesmart.

May 16, 2020
If you could work from anywhere, where would you live?
00:16:02

Twitter was the first big tech company to tell workers they could work remotely indefinitely, even after the pandemic wanes. Does this portend tech workers fleeing the high price of living in Silicon Valley, or even a migration away from big cities? We’ll talk about it. Plus: spaceflight simulators, the legacy of “Demolition Man” and the grim outlook for America’s restaurants.

For a full list of all the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org. And if you can, consider supporting Marketplace with a donation at marketplace.org/givesmart.

May 14, 2020
Some Airbnb, more MMT and ‘keyboard money’
00:17:44

You guys had a lot of questions after our episode about Modern Monetary Theory, and today we’re going to answer one on Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. We’ll also talk about the Fed, Airbnb and the history of unemployment in this country.

For a full list of all the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org. And if you can, consider supporting Marketplace with a donation at marketplace.org/givesmart.

May 14, 2020
Maybe Modern Monetary Theory is an answer to the COVID-19 economic crisis
00:40:22

Does debt matter? For an individual, a household or even a generation, sure it does. But what about a nation? Modern Monetary Theory says no. To help us understand MMT and why it matters in this crisis is Stephanie Kelton. She’s a professor of economics and public policy at Stony Brook University, and she served as an adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Her new book, “The Deficit Myth” is out June 9.

For a full list of all the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org. And if you can, consider supporting Marketplace with a donation at marketplace.org/givesmart.

May 13, 2020
What is Elon Musk doing now?
00:15:38

In his (sigh) tweet today, the Tesla CEO said he’s reopening a Northern California factory a couple weeks before he’s allowed, daring police to come arrest him. But given the way this pandemic works and Tesla’s safety record, Elon Musk could very well be threatening Oakland overall. Also on the docket today: hotel bonds, Guy Fieri and dog poop bags.

For a full list of all the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org. And if you can, consider supporting Marketplace with a donation at marketplace.org/givesmart.

May 12, 2020
What a week, huh?
00:19:03

Some days you’re the murder hornet, some days you’re the praying mantis. It’ll make more sense when you listen.

For all the links from today’s show, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org

May 09, 2020
We know what we need to do, but we’re not doing it
00:13:55

The U.S. is the richest country in the world. Why can’t we get our act together around COVID-19? If it sounds like we’re oversimplifying, on the show today we’ll look to Germany and how it’s kept factories open while avoiding severe outbreaks. Plus, why so many oil tankers are slowing way down, and why men need to get over themselves. What else is new?

For more links from today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org

Finally, tomorrow’s “Economics on Tap” episode will be broadcast live on YouTube! Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it at youtube.com/marketplacevideos

May 08, 2020
When we look back, will this be a blur? Or a new beginning?
00:15:23

Will the memories of this COVID-19 outbreak and economy fade away for most of us, or change society forever? That’s one of the big questions for this edition of “Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday.” Plus: Is this 2008 for commercial real estate? And how is unemployment counted anyway? Send your questions for WYWKW to makemesmart@marketplace.org.

Your donations make this show possible. If you can, give today at Marketplace.org/givesmart, and thanks!

May 07, 2020
The state of the states
00:35:04

Thirteen percent of American workers are employed by a state government, and states get about 70 percent of their income from sales and income taxes. But with businesses shuttered and unemployment claims surging, local governments are facing a huge financial crunch. Here to talk us about what states are facing and what’s ahead is Marc Nicole. He’s president of the National Association of State Budget Officers and the deputy secretary of the Department of Budget and Management in Maryland.

May 06, 2020
Is the simulation breaking? Cruises are going to set sail again?
00:16:08

We don’t have enough time today to ponder the nature of our existence, but we are going to talk about these fascinating coronavirus pandemic simulations. Also, yes, Carnival’s plan to start cruises again in August. Plus: Kai’s deep in this thread and Molly’s making bread pudding.

May 04, 2020
Elon Musk is tweeting through it
00:18:28

Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Twitter this morning: “Tesla stock price is too high imo,” along with a bunch of other stuff. We need a drink before we can dive into this one. Also today on Economics on Tap: consumer spending, additional stimulus and a remote jazz festival.

May 01, 2020
How about contact tracing for COVID-19 misinformation?
00:14:52

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, no great fan of Facebook, has asked other tech giants to follow the company’s example by contacting users who’ve interacted with misinformation. Plus, we’ll talk about the joy of vacuuming and the wonders of nature.

Apr 30, 2020
Can states run out of unemployment money?
00:15:32

And can they go bankrupt? That’s just two of the questions we’re tackling in today’s “Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday.” Plus: Should we be concerned Google is in so many schools? Why do big companies get small business money? And maybe the most important of all: How are we staying sane right now?

Apr 29, 2020
We need millions of tests to open this economy. So, where are they?
00:33:03

Coronavirus testing is way, way, waaaay behind here, folks. A lack of tests hobbled the government’s efforts to track the pandemic in the U.S. Now health experts say we need millions of tests every week to safely reopen the economy. Here to walk us through the problems in the testing supply chain is Loren Wold, director of biomedical research at the College of Nursing at Ohio State.

Apr 28, 2020
UFOs? Sure, why not.
00:12:20

After years of leaks and reportage, the Pentagon has finally declassified three videos of Navy pilots encountering unidentified flying objects. You know our own former Navy pilot and current sci-fi geek had to weigh in. But first, a bit about the Payroll Protection Program for small businesses, which restarted again today. After that, though: Aliens. Yes.

Apr 28, 2020
A very-happy happy hour
00:16:28

First of all, we have to kick off this episode with a big thank you. In just two days, 230 of you donated to support the show. If you wanna join that group, head to Marketplace.org/givesmart. Also on tap today: the continuing scandal in the U.S. Navy, how to reopen local economies, and… New Yorker cartoons? This is public radio after all.

 

 

Apr 24, 2020
That new $484 billion aid package isn’t enough
00:17:50

Right before we started the taping, the House of Representatives passed another big coronavirus relief bill. President Donald Trump has said he will sign it, but how long will it last? Kai’s predicting another bill in less than 12 days. Plus: The “invisible menace” in Facebook, and we hear from a priest who’s enjoying some Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (with a selfie you can find on our site).

Correction (4/23/20): A previous version of this story misstated the value of the new coronavirus aid bill. It’s worth $484 billion.

Apr 23, 2020
Where will all that extra oil go?
00:16:43

It’s time for another “Whaddya Wanna Know Wednesday,” where Kai and Molly take your questions about the economics of the COVID-19 crisis. On the docket today: What’s it take for contact tracing apps to work? Where will we keep all that excess oil? And the economic impact of mass casualties. You know how we like to keep it light.

By the way, we love doing five episodes per week, but this doesn’t work without your help. Consider a donation at Marketplace.org/givesmart.

Apr 23, 2020
Trump’s OSHA could mandate essential worker protections, but it hasn’t. Why not?
00:32:40

In the U.S., there are no specific regulations for protecting workers from a disease like COVID-19. President Donald Trump could use the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to mandate essential worker protections, but he hasn’t. Why not? To help talk us through it, we’re joined by Dr. David Michaels, who ran OSHA under President Barack Obama.

Apr 22, 2020
Who’s organizing those anti-quarantine protests?
00:12:53

Large Facebook groups appear to be amassing protests against local shelter-in-place orders, but the real organizers are apparently a trio of pro-gun activists. We’ll talk about it and the implications of taking those pages down. Plus: A new resource for tracking the virus and how Molly’s staying entertained at home.

Apr 21, 2020
Whatever you’re going through, it’s OK
00:21:17

It’s important to take care of yourself in these trying times, so we’re back with another happy hour episode, aka Economics on Tap. We’ll cover Trump’s “liberate” tweets, some new mental health data and this oral history of pandemic warnings in Wired. Then a special guest stops by and things get a little chaotic.

Apr 18, 2020
Where Is Congress?
00:14:48

Lawmakers are deadlocked over additional funding for struggling small businesses, and the already-approved loans are almost gone. So why did the Senate adjourn today? And where’s the House? We’ll talk about it. Plus: Why testing is still the biggest coronavirus story, and the 99-year-old raising money for British health services.

Apr 16, 2020
Why did Zoom win the teleconference race?
00:14:26

There’s a lot of video conferencing software out there, so why did the relatively new Zoom take over the public consciousness so quickly? That’s just one question we try to answer in this week’s Waddaya Want to Know Wednesday episode. Also discussed: inflation, the job market for 2020 graduates and which businesses have actually gotten their relief loans.

Apr 16, 2020
There’s plenty of food. Why can’t we get it?
00:32:32

No matter how many times we hear that the U.S. has plenty of food, the sight of empty grocery store shelves can still provoke anxiety. Should we worry? Here to talk us through the disruptions in the supply chain is Millie Munshi, an agriculture editor at Bloomberg. Plus, we’ll hear from listeners struggling to access small business relief loans.

Apr 15, 2020
Trump alone can’t reopen the economy, so who can?
00:13:37

President Donald Trump has said repeatedly, including during this taping, that he alone has the authority to reopen this economy after we’re past the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s not true, and several governors have banded together to go their own way. But it’s not that simple. We’ll talk through it. Plus: What do consumers really want from Amazon, other than stuff?

Apr 13, 2020