Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

By Marketplace

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Subscribers: 3169
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

Each weekday, Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood make today make sense. Along with our supersmart listeners, we break down happenings in tech, the economy and culture. Every Tuesday we bring on a guest to dive deeper into one important topic. Because none of us is as smart as all of us.

Episode Date
Bring on the at-home rapid COVID tests
00:21:08

The U.S. lags behind other countries when it comes to making rapid at-home COVID-19 tests easily available and inexpensive. And we’re going to need to get better at it as omicron variant concerns increase and we see more indoor gatherings. Then we’ll look at the staffing shortages many schools have faced and what that’s meant for those who’ve stayed. And it’s Friday, so we’ll wrap up with a round of everyone’s favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty!

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

Support economic news and information for ALL by making a year-end donation today at Marketplace.org/givesmart. And thank you for your generosity.

Dec 04, 2021
Let’s talk about ‘share of stomach’
00:14:49

Almost two years into COVID-19, there are some parts of the pandemic that don’t seem to be going away. Yes, variants. But also the way we spend our money. We’ll talk about why grocery stores are still capturing the majority share of stomach and what that means in the days of omicron. Plus, a successful spacewalk, and we nerd out over today’s date.

Here’s everything we talked about:

Join us on YouTube Fridays at 3:30 p.m. Pacific/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.

 

 

Dec 03, 2021
What’s the deal with stadium naming rights?
00:18:57

Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, will be renamed Crypto.com Arena this month. The news made quite a splash for the cryptocurrency exchange. And it left one listener wondering how naming rights work. We look at the history of these deals and how they happen. Plus, we answer your questions about the cost of switching from gas to electric appliances, why people want to abolish the Federal Reserve and if the two-week notice is really necessary.

And finally, we’ll take some time at the end to say farewell our friend and co-host, Molly Wood.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Join Marketplace’s mission to make everyone smarter about the economy. Make your year-end gift today!

Dec 02, 2021
Ethereum 101
00:37:44

It’s time to talk about bitcoin’s digital cousin: ethereum. This is a type of blockchain operating system that allows you to trade the cryptocurrency called ether. But it does much more, including things called smart contracts that are changing the way people do business.

“What it really does is allows for the possibility that the middleman gets eliminated from the equation … if you have a good idea in blockchain and in ethereum, you can kind of go directly to users or investors to raise the money you want to start your business,” said Matt Leising, co-founder of DeCential Media, which covers the world of crypto, decentralized finance and the blockchain.

On the show today, we’ll get a lesson in how ethereum works, the advantages and disadvantages and why supporters believe it’s not going away. So regulators should catch up quick!

In the News Fix, we’ll hear positive news about boosters for teens and hear a warning about how omicron may mess with inflation. Plus, regulators are cracking down on Facebook, but they’re not the ones you’re thinking about.

Then, listeners say farewell to Molly and a bananas answer to the Make Me Smart question.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Finally, it’s Giving Tuesday. Give now to help us reach $100,000 in donations and unlock another $100,000 from the Investors Challenge Fund. To donate, go to Marketplace.org/givesmart. And thank you for your generosity.

Dec 01, 2021
OMG omicron
00:16:02

Over the holiday break, epidemiologists around the world did a simultaneous face palm after news about a new COVID-19 “variant of concern.” We’ll catch you up on the omicron variant and what it might mean for the global economy. Plus, Jack Dorsey is out as CEO at Twitter and Amazon workers in Alabama get ready to vote (again.)

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

Giving Tuesday challenge: Give now to help us reach $100,000 in donations and unlock another $100,000 from the Investors Challenge Fund. https://support.marketplace.org/smart-sn

Nov 30, 2021
The Fed, explained
00:32:53

By now, you’ve probably heard that Jerome Powell has been nominated to serve another four years as chair of the Federal Reserve, our nation’s central bank. As we talked about on the show Monday, the decision boiled down to a political calculus. But what does the Fed do anyway? And why do we need it?

“The main reason why the Fed itself was created was because in the lead-up to 1913, which is when it was created, there were a bunch of bank runs. It was sort of every bank for itself back then, where banks would issue their own money. There wasn’t a central source of money printing. And so, if one bank maybe ran into trouble, people would run and pull their money out,” said Victoria Guida, who covers the Federal Reserve for Politico.

So basically, the Fed is supposed to be there when things go wrong to maintain the health of our economy. But the Fed does a lot of other things, like control borrowing costs and regulate banks.

On the show today, Guida explains the evolution of the Fed and how it touches the life of every person in this economy and may be making wealth inequality worse.

In the News Fix, we stick with the theme of the day and highlight a story about why presidents shouldn’t mess with the independence of the central bank. Also, inflation is coming to a dollar store near you.

Later, we’ll hear from a listener who is changing up his holiday shopping habits this year and talk Thanksgiving turducken-inspired cocktails!

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

We will be off the rest of the week for the holiday break. We are so grateful for our listeners and wish you a happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 23, 2021
Why Biden picked Powell
00:16:21

President Joe Biden says he wants to reappoint Jerome Powell to serve as chair of the Federal Reserve for a second term. It’s a big deal, but it wasn’t unexpected. We’ll explain the political calculus behind the decision. Plus, we’ll highlight a few long reads you may have missed over the weekend, including one about how China is winning the clean energy contest. And a “Turducken”-inspired Thanksgiving dessert, plus we ask listeners to share their version of a “Turducken” Thanksgiving cocktail.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

Tomorrow, we’re doing a deep dive into the Federal Reserve. If you have a question about the central bank and how it works, send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Nov 23, 2021
What will Covid-19 cases in America look like this winter?
00:29:02

Austria is getting ready for another round of COVID-19 lockdowns. With vaccine mandates hitting a roadblock in the United States and the fully vaccinated rate under 60%, we discuss the likelihood of another winter wave in America. Plus, we follow the drama over the auctioning of a rare copy of the U.S. Constitution. And, the hosts play our favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

Thank you for everyone who joined us on YouTube today. We’re live Fridays 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.

Nov 20, 2021
Crypto lovers go all in on the Constitution
00:16:41

Crypto enthusiasts came through. They’ve raised $40 million to buy a rare copy of the U.S. Constitution that’s up for auction to put it back in “the hands of the people.” We’ll explain how this all ties into what’s happening in the crypto space. Plus, why inflation is hitting some parts of the United States harder than others and the problem with Biden’s plan to open ports 24/7. Oh, and smiling quokkas!

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

Join us on YouTube Fridays at 3:30 p.m. Pacific/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.

Nov 19, 2021
Can we divert container ships in California to other ports?
00:14:29

Texas is throwing a bit of shade at California. In a recent ad, it says Texas ports are open and ready to solve the nation’s supply chain problems. But can ships really be diverted from the Port of Los Angeles to Houston? It’s not as easy as it sounds. Plus, we’ll answer your questions about why skyscrapers keep lights on at night, ESG investing and the origin story behind a piece of Marketplace merch.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

Thanks to those of you who sent us questions this week. If you have a question you’d like our hosts to answer in a future episode, call us at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278) or send a voice memo.

Nov 18, 2021
Debunking the onshoring narrative
00:32:14

At the start of the pandemic, and even a little before (remember the U.S.-China trade war?), some folks wondered if we were about to see the end of offshoring and whether U.S. companies would start to bring factories and jobs back from overseas.

The process is known as onshoring, and the idea was that everything from personal protective equipment to semiconductors would soon be made in the USA, driven mostly by Donald Trump’s tariffs and the pandemic’s supply chain shortages.

So that got us wondering, are we doing that? Is onshoring happening?

“You got me. I think we economists have been intellectually dishonest and just putting this narrative out. But nobody’s actually gone to check to see what’s really happening,” said Megan Greene, an economist and senior fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School.

Greene said there’s not a ton of good data out there, but the data we do have shows onshoring is just not a thing right now.

On the show today, Greene does some myth busting about why companies aren’t rushing to bring production back to the United States. She also explains why globalization isn’t over and what the future of global supply chains might look like.

In the News Fix, an awesome tech story about NBA star Stephen Curry followed by a bizarre crypto-themed one. Plus, space junk is a growing problem. Then, we hear from listeners who are part of the Great Resignation movement. And a listener calls in with thoughts on that newborn baby smell.

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

Read the transcript here.

Nov 17, 2021
We were prepared to fight the previous economic crisis …
00:16:42

We often look to history to stop us from making the same mistakes we’ve made in the past. But as American policymakers mounted their economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they looked to the Great Recession, and they may have overcorrected a bit. We’ll discuss how the crises compare and why it may explain a lot about where we find ourselves today. Plus, Wall Street is worried about the “antiwork” movement, and a listener sent us a story about a lost teddy bear with a happy ending. It’s making us smile.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

If there’s something making you smile on this Monday, let us know. Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

 

Nov 16, 2021
Climate, climate, climate
00:24:48

The United Nations COP26 climate summit is going into overtime because there’s still a lot of work left to do. We’ll explain why the meeting has been a disappointment both in terms of results and in terms of what it’s meant for the spread of climate misinformation. Plus, good news on the vaccine beat. Mandates work! Also, happy birthday, Molly’s mom. And … we have Make Me Smart T-shirts and sweatshirts! You can get yours at Marketplace.org/shop.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube for this episode! We’re live Fridays 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.

Nov 13, 2021
Making sense of Rivian’s valuation
00:16:12

Electric truck startup Rivian made its debut in the public markets. It’s sold less than 200 vehicles, so how could the company be valued at $86 billion, more than Ford and almost the same amount at GM? We’ll explain what’s really going on in the EV market. Plus, a true hollowed-out shell of story about our climate and why COP26, the United Nations conference, probably won’t help much. Also, Iceland trolls Mark Zuckerberg, and we’re here for it!

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

Join us on YouTube Fridays at 3:30 p.m. Pacific/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.

Nov 12, 2021
Are trade tariffs affecting inflation?
00:14:28

We’re inflating! Today, we got word that consumer prices jumped the highest they ever have in the last 30 years. One listener wants to know how much of that has to do with former President Donald Trump’s trade tariffs. The answer? Not as much as you’d think. Plus, we’re fielding your questions about who is or isn’t keeping governments and businesses accountable on climate action, and the origin of “bananapants.”

Here is everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

Thanks to all of you who submitted a question. If you’d like the hosts to answer a question in an upcoming episode, call us at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278) or send a voice memo.

Nov 11, 2021
“Work will never love you back”
00:34:51

Listeners, it’s time to talk about the Great Resignation.

That’s the name used to describe this moment in time as a large number of American workers quit their jobs at unprecedented rates.

“I also like a lot of other great R-words. I use the Great Reshuffling to talk about the uptick in migration and business formation. I talk about the Great Rudeness when it comes to the fact that a lot of people have been sort of locked in their houses for the last year or at least going out less, or, you know, being rather jerkish to flight attendants and waitstaff. And I also call it the Great Reset, because … I think a lot of people are not only rethinking what exactly they want to do for eight hours a day in their next job, they’re also thinking about rethinking about their relationship with work,” said Derek Thompson, who has been writing about this phenomenon for The Atlantic.

According to the Labor Department, 4.3 million workers left their jobs in August. The quits rate, as it’s called, is up to 2.9%, the highest since the department started keeping track. We usually look at the quits rate as an indicator about how optimistic workers are feeling about their ability to find another job.

On the show today, we’ll talk about the reasons driving people to leave their jobs right now, why it might actually be a good thing for the American workforce and what it means for our complicated relationship with work.

In the News Fix: a portrait of some of the underrepresented voices in our economy and what happened when they banded together. Plus, we’ll highlight a couple of the less talked about parts of the infrastructure package.

Also, after one of our hosts (it was Kai) reveals his dislike for the Great Resignation moniker, some listeners call with their own suggestions. And what a pup taught a “Make Me Smart” listener about her love for dogs.

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week we’re doing the numbers on health insurance and explaining HIPPA and the problems with being underinsured. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

Nov 09, 2021
The infrastructure bill is an “unqualified huge deal”
00:19:38

After years and years of trying, Congress finally came through with a bipartisan infrastructure bill. On the show today, we’ll discuss what’s actually in the bill and what it means for the economy. Plus, you may have noticed more and more businesses are pulling back on what they offer their customers without reducing their prices. Well, it’s not your imagination, it’s a thing dubbed “skimpflation.” And, finally, we end the show on a literal smile!

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

Don’t miss tomorrow’s deep dive into the Great Resignation. If you’ve quit your job during the pandemic, we want to hear from you. Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Nov 09, 2021
Reading the bond market tea leaves
00:26:42

The stock market might not be the best way to understand how the economy’s doing, but the bond market is a different story. On the show today, Kai gives us his read on the bond market and the clues to our economic future it can provide. Plus, we discuss a big labor and sports story: NFL star Aaron Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19. And we wrap up the week with our favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty.

Read the transcript here.

Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube for this episode! We’re live Fridays 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.

Nov 06, 2021
Climate change is coming for Exxon’s assets
00:13:45

In a new securities filing, Exxon says some of its oil and gas reserves may face impairment, which means they will likely have to stay in the ground because of climate change. On the show today, we’ll discuss why this is big deal. Plus, the incoming New York City mayor wants to get paid in bitcoin, Hawaii is welcoming back tourists and tacos in space!

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Willow wants to play ball, not take pictures.

Read the transcript here.

Join us on YouTube Fridays at 3:30 p.m. Pacific/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.

Nov 05, 2021
How do companies make money from selling stock?
00:18:03

Gas prices are up, and one listener wanted to know who is and who isn’t to blame. On the show today, we do a little fact-checking on who’s really responsible for the high price at the pump. Plus, we’ll answer a lingering question about the carbon tax and explain how companies make money from the stock market. And Molly shares some important news about a big change she’s making.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

Keep sending your questions. Call us at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278) or send a voice memo.

 

Nov 03, 2021
What’s up with the field of economics?
00:36:46

Economics is a social science. It involves theories and models and lots of math. So why is it so hard for economists to agree? And why is there often a disconnect between what economists say will happen and what actually happens in the real economy? That’s something Molly has been wondering about. So we turned it into a show and called in some help.

Colin Camerer, the Robert Kirby professor of behavioral economics at the California Institute of Technology, says there’s a big divide between microeconomics and macroeconomics.

“It’s a little bit like geology, where we understand a lot about about rocks and mountains and how old they are, that’s micro, and earthquake forecasting, in which we know that there will be a big quake … but we don’t know if it’s gonna be next year, five years, 10 years … that’s kind of like macro.”

On the show today, Camerer explains the role economists play in society and how we should be thinking about what they tell us, especially since their findings sometimes drive public policy debates.

In the news fix, America is in a AI battle with China, and it’s not looking great for team USA. Plus, who is really benefiting from Zillow’s failed plan to flip thousands of homes?

We’ll also hear from listeners who have mixed feelings about the outcome of the COP26 climate summit and an answer to the Make Me Smart question that has us wondering whether anything we know is true anymore.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

Nov 02, 2021
What will COP26 climate conference accomplish?
00:18:14

The big story from the weekend is the start of the United Nations COP26 climate conference. And even though we’re watching it, we’re wondering if the meeting will lead to any major changes to get a deal done. We’ll discuss the meeting’s potential. Plus, an update on New York City workers and COVID-19 vaccine mandates, and the Halloween supply chain.

Here’s everything we talked about:

Read the transcript here.

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.

Nov 02, 2021
VCs are getting into crypto. Here’s why that should worry you.
00:21:25

Even if you don’t know the name Marc Andreessen, you’ve probably interacted with one of his companies. He’s the man behind some of the very first web browsers, Mosaic and Netscape, a Facebook board member and a venture capitalist with investments Twitter, Lyft, Roblox, Airbnb, Stripe and more. He’s also getting into crypto, and that makes us nervous. On today’s show, Kai talks about it with guest co-host Marielle Segarra. Plus: the Starbucks’ unions, new vaccine approvals and another round of our favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube for this episode! We’re live Fridays 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.

Oct 30, 2021
New name, same Zuck
00:12:32

Earlier today, Mark Zuckerberg announced he’d be heading Facebook’s new parent company, Meta. It will also cover WhatsApp, Instagram and any future properties, including the virtual reality “metaverse” that inspired the company’s name. We’ll also talk about more infrastructure bill struggles and a new universal basic income effort in Los Angeles on this not-so-grim Hollowed-Out-Shell Thursday.

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

Join us on YouTube Fridays at 3:30 p.m. Pacific/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.

Oct 29, 2021
We’re still trying to wrap our brains around DeFi
00:12:25

Last week, we took a deep dive into the world of decentralized finance, or DeFi. And y’all had some follow-up questions! Today we’re answering a few from listeners about possible uses of DeFi, possible risks and how regulation might work.

Here’s everything we talked about on the show:

Read the transcript here.

Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Oct 28, 2021
The case for a carbon tax
00:33:38

How big is your carbon footprint? Do you really know? If it was taxed, you’d find out one way or another. Maybe the cost of carbon gets added on like a sales tax, or maybe the producer gets hit with additional taxes and passes the cost onto you, like a tariff. Either way, you’ll learn something. It’s an idea some Democrats have been kicking around. So has the European Union. Ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, which starts this weekend in Glasgow, we’re going to step back and explain the carbon tax. Joining us to help with that is economist Shi-Ling Hsu, a professor at Florida State University College of Law and author of “The Case for a Carbon Tax.”

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

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.

Oct 27, 2021
What you need to know about the Facebook Papers
00:16:32

The whistleblower-driven “Facebook Files” investigation at The Wall Street Journal has expanded to include a whole consortium of journalists and a flood of reporting. Oh, and it’s called “The Facebook Papers” now. We’ll talk about the high-level stuff and the company’s response at today’s blockbuster earnings call. Later on, we’ll talk about a disappointing update to the family leave proposal from the White House and hear a spooky song from a listener.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

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.

Oct 26, 2021
The Alec Baldwin on-set shooting is a labor story
00:25:50

We’ve been gripped today by the tragic accident on the set of the Western movie “Rust.” Star Alec Baldwin’s prop gun discharged while shooting Thursday, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding Joel Souza, the film’s director. The investigation is ongoing, but the reporting that’s come out of the New Mexico set so far indicates this is a much more complicated story about labor unions and workplace safety. We’ll talk about it today, plus Facebook’s rebranding and the merits of closed captioning. And, of course, we’ll play our favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

Oct 23, 2021
The climate crisis is the only story because it touches everything
00:19:38

We’re talking about twin reports from the federal government today, focused on the risks climate change poses to the American economy and global security. It’s, uh, not good. We’ll talk about what’s in each, why the White House wants that information out now and the Joe Manchin of it all. Plus, Big Tech earnings, Jerome Powell’s next moves and a little WeWork news on this grab bag of a Hollowed-Out Shell Thursday.

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

Read the transcript here.

Join us on YouTube Fridays at 3:30 p.m. Pacific/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.

Oct 22, 2021
All Hands on Deck!
00:13:57

When President Joe Biden announced last week that the Port of Los Angeles would begin operating 24 hours a day, it left one of our listeners asking why the port wasn’t doing that already. We answer that, and ponder future supply chain relief. Plus, we answer some additional questions about the Great Resignation, Zoom’s carbon footprint and banana pants!

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

Read the transcript here.

Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Oct 21, 2021
DeFi: What you need to know about decentralized finance
00:24:55

Imagine what it would be like if you didn’t have to wait days for your paycheck to be processed by the bank. Or getting a loan without having to go through a bank loan officer.

That’s finance, decentralized. Fans of decentralized finance believe DeFi has the potential to make our current financial system more efficient, accessible and affordable by getting rid of intermediaries like banks, brokers and exchanges.

“The goal of DeFi is to make financial services more democratic,” says Linda Jeng, a visiting scholar of financial technology and adjunct professor at Georgetown Law. “That means more open access. Anyone should be able to use it. It’s about empowering the customer. So users get to decide the rules of the game.”

There’s a lot of hype around DeFi. It’s gone from $1 billion industry in 2018 to $90 billion in 2021. But there’s not a lot of regulation.

On the show today, we’ll talk about the risks and rewards of decentralized finance.

In the newsfix, we’ll stay on the DeFi theme and discuss a new Securities and Exchange Commission report on the GameStop brouhaha and explain why coal-fired power is on the rise in America. Plus, a “Make Me Smart” listener weighs in on the difference between sailing and yachting.

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week we’ll explain the business behind Halloween candy and haunted houses. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

Oct 20, 2021
U.S. climate goals on the line
00:17:19

Here’s a sign that we need action on climate change. Water levels in one of the world’s most iconic lakes, Lake Tahoe, have plummeted. That’s not good. Federal climate legislation could help, but basically the entire GOP and Democrat Joe Manchin are opposed. We’ll discuss what means for our climate priorities at home and abroad. Plus, the superrich are getting richer, and a poetic Make Me Smile moment.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

What’s making you smile these days? Let us know. Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Oct 19, 2021
Work just ain’t cutting it anymore
00:25:43

This week, Apple and Netflix fired employees who also happened to be involved in speaking out against their respective employers. What does this all mean for how we think about work? We’ll discuss it. Plus, it turns out Americans want smaller government and we end the week with a round of our favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Oct 16, 2021
The fight over the debt limit: round two
00:16:51

We’re barely getting out of one fight over the debt ceiling and we’re already looking down the road to the next one. Will the GOP come around before the December deadline? We’ll discuss why this game of chicken might not end well. Plus, China says RIP to LinkedIn, and Nokia is dropping a new brick phone!

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

If you or someone you care for is in distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (en Español: 1-888-628-9454; deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

 

Oct 14, 2021
Why do we even have a debt ceiling?
00:18:36

The House of Representatives might’ve voted on a short-term spending solution on the debt ceiling, but one of our listeners is still wondering where the debt limit came from and why it’s a thing. We’ll get into the history, which goes back to World War I. Plus, we’ll answer your questions about retirement, carbon capture and the landscape services industry.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Oct 14, 2021
Batteries are “the glue of the clean-energy economy”
00:34:11

We’ve gone from lead-acid batteries in our cars to the lithium-ion batteries that power our phones and devices in a relatively short amount of time.

The next generation of batteries will need to be big enough to power homes, cities and our electrical grid because experts believe that’ll be key to our transition away from fossil fuels.

“Batteries have really been called the glue of the clean-energy economy because … the wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine … and so we need to have not only enough storage for the few minutes or the few hours between uses, but we need to be able to provide that super-high-reliability storage for hours, days, weeks and seasons,” said Dan Kammen, an energy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and adviser for innovative energy solutions at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Our current go-to battery technology is lithium ion. But there are so many other technologies coming online that will become the core of our clean energy economy.

On today’s show: one of the most hopeful climate-related deep dives we’ve had in a while. We’ll talk with Kammen about some of the latest battery technology and what it’s going to take to make it cheaper, greener and accessible to all.

Side note: Molly Wood is doing a whole podcast on lithium batteries called “How We Survive.” Don’t forget to subscribe!

In the news fix, we get hard numbers on how climate change is affecting people all over the world and explain the latest fight over vaccine mandates in Texas.

Plus, a listener gives us a firsthand account of the oil spill off the coast of Southern California, and an answer to the Make Me Smart question that will get you thinking about your toothbrush.

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week we’ll explain the global supply chain mess, a new form of advertising in the NBA, and the cult success of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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Oct 12, 2021
What the Dave Chappelle backlash says about workplace power struggles
00:17:59

Netflix suspended a trans employee who took to Twitter to criticize Dave Chappelle’s special over transphobic comments. It’s not the only example of workers flexing their power. Meanwhile, companies are struggling to figure out how to deal with it. Plus, Apple is still having trouble in the health care space. And, we’re celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day!

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.
Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

 

Oct 12, 2021
Women are still losing jobs
00:22:44

If you take away anything from the October jobs report, it should be this: More than a year and a half into the pandemic, women keep losing jobs. And it’s probably because we still haven’t figured out child care. Today, we’ll talk about some of the possible long-term effects of women leaving the workforce. Plus, Google and YouTube take big steps against climate deniers, and the “Bad Art Friend” drama is really all about Facebook. Then, a special guest surprises the hosts on Half Full/Half Empty.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Oct 09, 2021
As dark place as it gets
00:15:22

On this hollowed-out shell Thursday, we waste no time getting to the dark place. The Biden administration released reports today detailing just how big of an impact climate change will have on our lives, from more traffic, to higher rates of depression and anxiety, and even more bugs. We’ll talk about those challenges. Plus, other stories of note, including a big win for Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Then, a beef over Bruce Springsteen lyrics has finally been put to bed.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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Join us on YouTube Fridays at 3:30 p.m. Pacific/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.

Oct 08, 2021
What’s a digital dollar?
00:18:08

You’ve heard about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but how are they different from a digital dollar? On this Whaddya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a digital dollar as the Federal Reserve ponders making its own digital currency. Plus, we’ll explain the economics behind robocalls and vaccine mandates. And we get an email from a listener and her cats who want to know what’s up with pet food shortages.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Oct 07, 2021
Big money is behind the fight over the Indian Child Welfare Act
00:38:59

What do corporate lawyers, political operatives, and right-wing groups have to do with the Indian Child Welfare Act? A whole lot.

ICWA has been around for almost 40 years. It provides protections for Native American kids who are up for foster care or adoption and it says Native kids should be placed with extended family or stay with native communities whenever possible.

It doesn’t seem terribly controversial on the face of it. But the child custody law has drawn the attention of groups who see the chance to undo ICWA as the first step into doing away with a whole chain of legislation around Native sovereignty, with huge implications for land use, water rights and gaming rights. In short, a successful legal challenge to this one law, which has now reached the steps of the Supreme Court, could mean a lot of money for a whole lot of non-Native people.

“I always say that federal Indian law is the canary in the coal mine, like what the courts are willing to do to tribes. I think everyone should be concerned about and this case for this term, I think will be will be an important one to watch,” said Rebecca Nagle, independent journalist and host of the podcast “This Land,” which focuses on ICWA in its latest season.

On today’s show, we’ll dig into the fight over ICWA, the players involved and who stands to benefit if it’s found unconstitutional on the basis of race.

In the news fix, we’ll talk about Facebook whistleblower testimony, COVID’s two-month cycle and the cost of living in flood zones — speaking of the effects of climate change, Molly’s super secret project, the “How We Survive” podcast, launches tomorrow.

Plus, the birds of “Make Me Smart.”

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week we’ll explain the history behind historically Black colleges and universities, how pumpkin-spice beer became a thing and why Sherlock Holmes continues to be one of the most popular fictional detectives of all time. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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Oct 05, 2021
Facebook goes down. What timing!
00:17:30

Facebook went down for six hours today. The outage happened a day after a former employee went on national television saying the company has put profits above, well, everything else. We’ll talk about how this could’ve happened and what it meant for global commerce. Plus, the federal debt limit debate is at DEFCON 2, and New Zealand gives up on its yearlong, zero-COVID strategy. And, it’s Fat Bear Week!

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Oct 05, 2021
Mint the coin?
00:23:15

With the debt ceiling crisis still pending, a popular old idea has sprung up: a trillion-dollar coin. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said it’s a no-go, but how come? We talk about what the trillion-dollar coin is and why it isn’t the best (or worst) idea. We also discuss Google backing out of the finance game and share some interesting sound from Disneyworld’s 50th anniversary. Finally, a round of everybody’s favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty!

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Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Oct 02, 2021
Facebook is spinning
00:18:15

Let’s talk about the results of Facebook investigating itself. TLDR: The company says the research it did — on its apps having a negative effect on young people — isn’t what we think it is. Plus, Sen. Joe Manchin is “feeling his oats,” and get ready for slower mail delivery.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Join us on YouTube Fridays at 3:30 p.m. Pacific/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.

Oct 01, 2021
What the debt ceiling drama means for you
00:16:28

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, there could be “catastrophic economic consequences.” But what does that mean for the average American? We’ll get to the bottom of this listener question. Plus, we’ll do the numbers on the high cost of child care and the defense budget. Then, bird watching anyone? We break down what “hawks” and “doves” have to do with monetary policy.

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Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

 

Sep 30, 2021
The “dysfunctional” U.S. refugee system
00:24:52

The U.S. in the middle of resettling tens of thousands of Afghan citizens around the country. At the same time, it’s turning away Haitians and Central Americans at the U.S.-Mexico border. What gives?

“The reasons why they may be migrating are very similar, in terms of fleeing persecution, war, violence; the difference is where they seek that legal relief,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, the president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a nonprofit organization that’s helped resettle refugees for decades.

On the show today, we’ll dig into the U.S. refugee system, how it got to be this way and how we can rebuild a system that is more just.

We’ll also talk about a major victory for garment workers in California and what that might mean for their counterparts nationwide. Plus, we’ll get an update on the debt troubles of China’s Evergrande and hear from listeners about their parent-child “Make Me Smart” listening teams.

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week we’ll explain why Costco hot dogs are so cheap, the fight over Apple’s app store and the economic consequences of hurricanes. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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Sep 28, 2021
Resignations at the Fed
00:14:49

You know it’s a big deal when people retire early from jobs where people never retire early. Two Federal Reserve presidents stepped down after making controversial trades in the financial markets the Fed was actively trying to stabilize in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll discuss why the resignations matter. Plus, a few other stories you might’ve missed over the weekend, including one about dentists fighting a plan to add dental coverage to Medicare. And a Make Me Smile moment from a fellow listener.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Sep 28, 2021
The cryptocurrency future is not here
00:24:47

China is making big crypto moves. Today, it made all financial transactions involving cryptocurrencies illegal. It also banned crypto mining. At the same time, it’s launching its own digital currency. We’ll dig into what it might mean for crypto’s future. Plus, one thing that hasn’t got better during the pandemic: Mothers are still having a hard time returning to work. And now it’s because of a shortage of child care workers. Also, we nerd out about copyright law and wrap up the week with a round of our favorite game, “Half Full/Half Empty.”

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Sep 25, 2021
No more debt ceiling?
00:16:18

It’s tradition. Every couple of years, Democrats and Republicans fight over raising the federal debt ceiling, or the limit of how much money the government can borrow to pay its bills. Right now is one of those times. Should this tradition be broken? We’ll discuss. Plus, Boris Johnson takes aim at Kermit the frog and Brandi Carlile’s upcoming SNL appearance has us grinning. And we’re taking your make me smile submissions.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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Join us on YouTube Fridays at 3:30 p.m. Pacific/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.

Sep 24, 2021
How Jerome Powell happened
00:19:11

Progressive Democrats are pressuring President Joe Biden to replace Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. But how did a non-economist even come to head the Fed anyway? That’s one of the listener questions we answer on this Whaddya Wanna Know Wednesday. We’ll also talk about mismatching in the labor market and who the United States is borrowing money from. Plus, Molly reveals her super-secret project!

Here’s everything we talked about:

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Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Sep 23, 2021
The social safety net explained
00:30:05

Congressional Democrats are working on a $3.5 trillion bill that would vastly expand the social safety net. But what exactly is this thing we call the social safety net?

“We’re talking about things like the earned income tax credit, child tax credits, a cash transfer program called TANF, or Temporary Assistance [for] Needy Families … but if you think about how long it might take you to get on your feet, it is a relatively meager and challenging system to subsist on,” said Tina Sacks, associate professor of social welfare at the University of California, Berkeley.

The idea that the government should help catch Americans if they fall on hard times started during the Great Depression, for obvious reasons. But Sacks says today that net doesn’t work as well as it should. There are a lot of gaps in the system, and at the end of the day our programs are pretty meager compared to those in other developed nations.

On the show today, Sacks walks us through the ins and outs of the social safety net. What it looks like in practice and whether the Democrats’ plan could make a real difference.

Later, we’ll talk about the next legal fight over reproductive rights, hear from a listener who makes us smart about toaster ovens and a callout for all your Duo voice memos!

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week we’ll explain so-called name, image and likeness compensation deals and how they’re changing the game for student athletes, along with the origin of potato chips. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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Sep 21, 2021
The U.S. isn’t the only one that can break the global economy
00:19:08

A massive real estate company is freaking out the global markets. The Evergrande Group is sitting on tons of debt, and investors worry it could go broke and send ripple effects throughout China and beyond. We’ll explain the Evergrande crisis. Plus, you’re awesome! A big shoutout to all the “Make Me Smart” listeners who helped us beat our fundraising goal. And please send photos of you in your banana pants!

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Sep 21, 2021
1 shot, 2 shots … 3 shots? 4?
00:22:53

Today, a group of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted to reject a plan from the White House to approve vaccine boosters for most Americans. That was followed up by a vote to approve boosters for people who are at serious risk of coronavirus disease or over the age of 65. We’ll talk about what makes the discussion around boosters so complicated. We’ll also talk about the Pentagon’s acknowledgment of a drone strike gone very wrong. Finally, we wrap up the show with a round of our favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty.

Give now to support the show you love and to get the “Make Me Smart” banana pants and ringtones! Marketplace.org/givesmart.

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Sep 18, 2021
More about Facebook’s cost of doing business
00:14:10

Today we get hallowed out from more revelations from The Wall Street Journal’s ongoing reporting of what goes on behind the scenes at Facebook and the tradeoffs the tech giant makes in order to stay a tech giant. We also take a look at the Federal Reserve’s review of its ethics rules. And a Make Me Smile courtesy of listeners like you.

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

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Sep 17, 2021
What if the minimum wage was raised like Social Security?
00:14:16

A lot of things are affected by inflation. How come minimum wage isn’t one of them?

On today’s show, we get to the bottom of one listener’s question about minimum wage, but we can’t promise the answer is logical. Plus, we explain the big deal with TikTok and check out some weird beers!

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

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Sep 16, 2021
Occupy Wall Street, 10 years later
00:27:03

Ten years ago this week, a group of activists pitched tents in New York’s Zuccotti Park. They said they were protesting against economic inequality and the gap between the people who hold the top 1% of wealth in this country and the rest of us.

Soon, people in cities all over the globe launched their own Occupy Wall Street protests, and while police broke up the original protest in New York two months later, Occupy Wall Street went a lot longer and a lot further than many expected.

“There were experts, people in the social sciences who had been studying inequality, and were very well aware of its explosive growth in the period since the 1970s. But it wasn’t really on the radar of the general population until Occupy. I think that was one of the major impacts,” said Ruth Milkman, a sociology professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center, who has studied the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Milkman said while Occupy Wall Street may not have done much to close the growing income inequality gap in this country, it made the issue part of the national political conversation. She also draws lines between Occupy, the Fight for $15, the rise of Bernie Sanders and other social movements that followed, including Black Lives Matter.

On today’s show, we’ll talk with Milkman about the legacy of Occupy Wall Street.

In the newsfix, we’ll talk about Facebook and a new project from The Wall Street Journal that reveals troubling information about what’s happening inside company. Plus, we’ll hear from one of our favorite listeners and one of best low-key answers to the Make Me Smart question we’ve received in a while.

Read the transcript here.

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week we’ll explain why hit songs are getting shorter, why child care is so expensive and how drive-in movie theaters made a comeback. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

Give now to support the show you love and to get the “Make Me Smart” banana pants and ringtones! Marketplace.org/givesmart.

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Sep 15, 2021
Apple says update your devices now
00:21:57

Apple’s security impermeability has been shattered to pieces. Today, Apple issued an emergency software update for its products after researchers discovered devices could be infected with the highly invasive Pegasus software without a single click. We’ll explain what that means for your security. Plus, “Shipageddon” will be with us until 2022, and we discuss a few science-related stories you might’ve missed, including one about baby cows being potty-trained. And finally, one of the fashion industry’s biggest parties is making us smile (#metgala).

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Sep 14, 2021
The problem with politicians owning and trading stocks
00:26:40

Whether the United States moves on climate change may come down to one person — Sen. Joe Manchin. Will his personal financial investments in the energy industry stand in the way? We’ll discuss the ethics around policymakers profiting from industries they’re supposed to be writing the rules for. Plus, we check in on U.S.-China trade relations and Epic v. Apple legal battle. Finally, we close this short/long week, with a round of our favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty.

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Sep 11, 2021
All y’all need to get vaccinated
00:19:45

The White House isn’t messing around. Now that the COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the Joe Biden administration has ordered two-thirds of the American workforce to get the jab. We’ll discuss the latest round of vaccine mandates. Plus, an update on the abortion ban in Texas and the buy now, pay later boom — what can possibly go wrong? Finally, we fill our hollowed-out shells with Blue’s Clues and some fun facts about rats!

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Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Sep 10, 2021
Social Security is not going broke
00:16:08

We often hear Social Security is running out of money, but what does that actually mean?

On today’s show, we answer a listener’s question about the future of Social Security. TLDR, recipients won’t stop getting Social Security checks, but their payments might shrink. Plus, we’ll explain why semiconductors are so hard to make, what’s the deal with returnless refunds, and hollowed-out shell Thursday vs. hollowed-out shell of a Thursday.

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Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Sep 09, 2021
Reproductive rights are economic rights
00:36:57

It might not be talked about much, but reproductive rights are an economic issue.

There’s a growing body of research suggesting a link between access to abortion and women’s economic stability.

“We have evidence that for women who delayed becoming mothers, because they had access to abortion, those women were much more likely to attend college, to graduate college, to obtain occupations that are kind of professional in nature. And they had higher wages by as much as about 10%. And they were about half as likely to live in poverty as adults,” said Caitlin Myers, an economics professor at Middlebury College who studies the effects of reproductive policies.

Myers also pointed to evidence that women who encounter obstacles to obtaining an abortion and are ultimately unable to have one are much more likely to face bankruptcy proceedings, see their credit status decline and suffer financial distress.

In the aftermath of Texas’ abortion ban, we’ll discuss reproductive rights as an issue of economic justice and why those rights are rarely seen through an economic lens.

In the news fix, we discuss Afghanistan’s new government and what it might mean for the country’s economy. Later, a listener shares his favorite Ikea hack, and the fart joke that keeps on giving.

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week, we’re explaining China’s massive tutoring business, how Hollywood stars get paid and hard seltzer. You can hear them all here. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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Sep 07, 2021
The end of a long week
00:25:38

The destruction left by Hurricane Ida has sharpened the focus on infrastructure and climate resilience in the United States. We discuss the importance of the Senate-approved infrastructure bill in speeding up the fight against climate change. We also talk about the emerging corporate responses to the Texas abortion law and some worrying statistics in the latest jobs report. And finally, join us for another round of our Friday game, Half Full/Half Empty!

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Sep 04, 2021
Climate change action: it’s now or never
00:15:45

We know everyone is talking about Texas’s new restrictive abortion law. We’re saving our in-depth conversation about that for Tuesday, when we’ll dive into the economic story behind reproductive rights. Today, we’re talking about other stories that have our shells feeling pretty hollowed out, including the flooding from Hurricane Ida. Can this be a George Floyd moment for climate change? Plus, a bunch of billionaires are paying up. And a plethora of make-you-smile moments — from a swimming rat living his best life in flood waters to ABBA!

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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Join us on YouTube Fridays at 3:30 p.m. Pacific/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.

Sep 02, 2021
Should I get my booster?
00:17:11

Soon, all Americans will be eligible to get a COVID-19 booster shot. One of our listeners is wondering whether getting her booster means taking one from somebody in a developing country. We’ll explain why the vaccine supply chain makes that unlikely. Plus, we’ll check in on Kai’s January 2021 prediction about the 10-year Treasury note and answer a couple of questions about recycling and meal kits.

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Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Sep 01, 2021
What’s the deal with the creator economy?
00:30:44

By now you’ve heard the phrase creator economy. It includes everyone from TikTok stars to Twitch streamers and adult-content creators on sites like OnlyFans.

According to one report, more than 50 million people around the world consider themselves creators, and it’s become the fastest-growing type of small business.

“The influencer marketing industry is projected to be over a $20 billion business in the next couple years,” said Taylor Lorenz, who covers tech culture and online creators for the New York Times. She’s also the author of the forthcoming book “Extremely Online: The Rise of the Online Creator and Creation of a New American Dream.” 

“For so long, it was really, really, really hard to build tech products for influencers or creators … because tech executives and tech investors really thought of it as a niche market, right? Now, obviously, there’s so many creators, the pandemic kind of pushed everyone online and the industry is, you know, reaches a sort of a maturation point where it makes a lot of money. And so you see the Silicon Valley investors kind of rushing in.”

Today, we’re doing the numbers on the creator economy and discuss how it’s not only changing the business world, but also changing how people think about democracy, misinformation, the anti-vaccination movement and, ultimately, whom people trust.

In the news fix, we’ll commiserate over airline customer service wait times, and is Kai a psychic? His “Jeopardy!” prediction comes true. Plus, we’ll hear from a listener who is the boss of multitasking, and another one calls in with a life update.

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week, we’re explaining libraries, vaccines and Dolly Parton. You can hear all our explainers here. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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Sep 01, 2021
Humanity can’t get a win
00:18:48

It’s been a somber news day. Hurricane Ida hit New Orleans on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. This time, the city’s $14.5 billion system of levees seemed to have held up, but the storm knocked out power for 1 million people. We’ll talk about what this extreme weather tells us about climate adaptation. Plus, it’s the end of an era in Afghanistan as the last American troops pull out of Kabul and we’ll share a few stories you might’ve missed over the weekend. Finally, an Al Roker clap back you didn’t know you needed.

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Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Aug 31, 2021
What’s Elon up to?
00:20:01

He sells electric cars. He wants to go to Mars. Now he wants to sell … electricity? Yup, Elon Musk wants Tesla to get into the energy business in Texas. We’ll discuss what it all means and how Tesla is making money these days. Plus, a bananas story about misinformation on the internet. And the hosts take a stand on the latest round of our favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty.

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Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

Aug 28, 2021
Raging against the patriarchy
00:16:40

Today, we blame our hollowed-out-ness on the patriarchy! First, one of the leaders of the Time’s Up organization, which is supposed to support women, resigned after helping former New York governor Andrew Cuomo with his sexual harassment scandal. But that’s not all. Over at “Jeopardy!” Mike Richards is getting to keep his executive producer job despite the backlash over his treatment of women. We’ll dig into both stories and talk about what it all means for women in the workplace. Plus, why isn’t California’s gubernatorial recall election getting more attention? And a heartfelt farewell made of sheep bring us to the happy place.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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Join us on YouTube Fridays at 3:30 p.m. Pacific/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.

Aug 27, 2021
How to prove your vaccine status
00:14:52

From restaurants to bars and gyms, more and more businesses are requiring customers to be vaccinated. Our listener Leila wants to know what exactly you need to show those businesses to get through the door. On today’s episode, we’ll dig into some of the options and do a little show and tell. Plus, we’ll answer one of the nerdiest questions we’ve received about taxes, along with others about no-needle vaccines and the history the Federal Reserve’s annual meeting in Jackson Hole.

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Aug 26, 2021
Can capitalists save the planet?
00:36:21

We’ve seen plenty of companies make pledges to reduce emissions and increase investments in climate solutions. How real are these commitments?

Someone who has been thinking — and acting — on this topic is Michael O’Leary, managing director at Engine No. 1, the activist investment firm that won three seats on the board of Exxon Mobile.

“I think if we had made a purely environmental argument, kind of a save-the-polar-bears argument on why we need a new leadership at Exxon, I don’t think we’ve been successful. We had to make the economic argument, the argument that this is what what was best for the long term of the company,” O’Leary said.

On the show today, we’ll discuss the role of corporate America in the fight against climate change and what it really means to have environmental social governance goals incorporated into business strategies.

O’Leary, who is also the co-author of “Accountable: The Rise of Citizen Capitalism,” said there was a way to build an economy better prepared for climate change.

“Ultimately, our economy has transformed before it can transform again. But given the sort of capitalist society we live in, it’s going to require capitalists to require shareholders to be part of that movement, if not leading it.”

We’ll also discuss more dire news about how climate change threatens our food supply, and another sign that “capitalism doesn’t care if you live or die.”

Plus, listeners react to last week’s episode with social psychologist Amy Cuddy on “pandemic flux syndrome” and an answer to the “Make Me Smart” question that’s giving us all the feels.

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week, we’re explaining food deserts, bicycle commuting and the possible end of open office workspaces. You can hear all our explainers here. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

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Aug 25, 2021
Should Fed chief Powell stay or go?
00:16:39

Today, we’ve got Jerome Powell on the brain. As he prepares to make a major speech at the virtual Jackson Hole summit this week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, a Democrat, has indicated that she’d like Powell, a Republican, to keep his job as Federal Reserve chair after his current term ends in February. Some Dems aren’t on board, and that’s causing a rift in the party. We’ll explain why. Plus, we’ll discuss what a California ruling could mean for ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft and close this Whaddya Miss Monday with a COVID-19 roundup.

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Aug 24, 2021
Where are all the COVID tests?
00:23:25

As the delta variant spreads, Americans are once again in need of COVID tests. We’ll talk about one frustrating reason some of those tests are so hard to find. Plus, we can’t stop talking about Afghanistan, regarding the “Jeopardy!” host scandal, don’t say we didn’t tell you so! Then, we end this episode of Economics on Tap with a round of “Half Full/Half Empty.”

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Aug 21, 2021
Is Israel a sign of what’s to come?
00:16:15

For our 500th episode, we’re doing a little rinse and repeat. In the news fix, we get March 2020 vibes as we discuss developments from Israel, which has one of the world’s highest vaccination rates, raising concerns that the coronavirus vaccines’ protection may wane over time. Plus, the Federal Trade Commission is re-upping its antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, and the controversy over the new “Jeopardy!” host escalates. Then, a special edition of our favorite game, “Half Full/Half Empty.”

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Join us on YouTube Fridays at 3:30 p.m. Pacific/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.

Aug 20, 2021
The downsides of SPACs
00:17:04

SPACs have been all the hotness on Wall Street this year. These special purpose acquisition companies help businesses sell shares to the public faster than the traditional IPO process and bypass some of the regulatory hurdles. But one listener wants to know, what can go wrong when you “SPAC it”? We’ll explain the upsides and downsides of SPACs. Plus, we’ll answer your questions about who’s making money on disinformation, China verus Big Tech and why canning lids are so hard to find right now.

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Aug 19, 2021
Our mental “surge capacity” is maxed out
00:33:43

For some, life is starting to resemble something like normal. Kids are going back to school, some offices are welcoming back workers… so why are we still feeling stressed?

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy says there are a couple reasons. For one, the pandemic has gone on for so long, our coping system known as “surge capacity” is now depleted.

“We then move into this regression phase where we withdraw, we get sad, agitated, we don’t want to hang out with people, we’re done with Zoom meetings. So it’s not surprising that we don’t have the capacity to feel intense positive emotions right now when we go out to that live concert,” Cuddy said.

And when you throw the coronavirus delta variant into the mix, things get even harder. Cuddy says right now it’s common for people to experience spikes in anxiety, depression and have a desire to escape. She refers to this as “pandemic flux syndrome.” That’s not a clinical term. But it is real.

On today’s show, Cuddy explains the role employers can play to help workers through this chapter of the pandemic.

Later in the show, we’ll discuss how Facebook is dealing with the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan and MacKenzie Scott reshaping the nonprofit world. Plus, a longtime listener calls in with an update on paying for his twin sons’ college education.

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When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week, we’re explaining 747 jumbo jets, the Social Security System and Rosie the Riveter! You can hear all our explainers here. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

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Aug 17, 2021
It’s time to start worrying about water
00:16:36

The United Nations report on the climate crisis may have fallen out of the headlines, but we’re still taking about it on the show. Today, we’ll dig into how the climate is behind a historic water shortage in the West affecting millions of residents and businesses. We’re also obsessing over today’s other big story: the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban. Plus, yay for reducing child hunger in America and congrats to USWNT legend Carli Lloyd on her retirement.

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Aug 17, 2021
The COVID-19 endemic?
00:22:11

The delta variant might have some of us feeling like we’re reliving March 2020, but a new piece in The Atlantic is making us smart on how the COVID-19 pandemic might end. We’ll discuss what it’ll mean when the virus becomes endemic and blends into the background of our lives. Plus, people are getting vaccine boosters under the table, and it’s getting ‘hot in herre’: Earth just went though the hottest month on record! Then, we end Friday like we usually do, with a round of Half Full/Half-Empty.

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Aug 14, 2021
America has been diverse. We just weren’t counting right.
00:17:47

The latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau might create the impression that America just became more diverse, but we may have been that way all along. We’ll break down some of the census numbers. Also, guest host Meghan McCarty Carino, who’s feeling a little less hollowed out today, discusses what we can learn from Native Americans’ high COVID-19 vaccination rates. Then, the hosts get all smiley and talk about LeVar Burton’s future post-“Jeopardy!” and what happened when a celebrity spotted a bear inside a grocery store.

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Aug 13, 2021
The money behind the infrastructure bill
00:17:05

Senators have been referring to the bipartisan infrastructure deal as a $1.2 trillion package. They say $500 billion is considered new spending. So where does the other $500 billion come from? On this “Whaddya Wanna Know Wednesday,” we’ll also answer your questions about who is picking up the tab for unvaccinated Americans’ weekly COVID-19 tests. Plus, we’ll explain why so many Olympic athletes are broke.

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Aug 12, 2021
Vaccine mandates are a sticky issue
00:39:22

A growing list of huge companies, from Google to Walmart and Tyson Foods to United Airlines, have announced they’ll require shots for employees, customers or both. Restaurants and other small businesses are, too. But making a mandate is one thing; figuring out the enforcement, the caveats and the impact is another. On today’s show, MIT Technology Review reporter Mia Sato walks us through how these mandates happened, who gets left out from them and whether corporate America can actually save “hot vax summer” from the surge in delta variant cases.

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Aug 10, 2021
What’d we miss? Nothing good, apparently.
00:20:56

We have two routes to the dark place today: That harrowing U.N. report on the climate crisis and the 2021 redo of all the COVID superspreader angst we went through last year. We’ll talk about both before getting into some of the stories we missed over the weekend. Plus: Who do you have on your Nickelodeon character bracket?

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Aug 10, 2021
Pandemic moves are complicating the climate crisis
00:24:00

We’re picking up some of the apocalyptic themes from yesterday to talk about the drought and wildfires throughout the Western U.S., and how the folks who left the cities in the pandemic are dealing with them. Oh, and the climate threats to the gulf stream. The dark place sting does make an appearance. It’s not all bad though: There’s a new moon and a meteor shower next week, and we get to play another round of our favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty.

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Aug 07, 2021
Chill out and wear a mask
00:16:15

Feeling a little hollowed out this Thursday? Some in the media are downright apocalyptic. On today’s show, we’ll unpack some of the coverage around COVID-19 variants and what you should (and shouldn’t) be worried about. It does get a little dark though. Later on, guest hosts Kimberly Adams and Meghan McCarty Carino cheer each other up with their favorite Olympic moments.

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Aug 06, 2021
Pandemic pups have an economic effect
00:18:00

Like so many people hanging out at home in this pandemic, our listener Joel got a dog. He wants to know if enough people got new pets to make an economic impact. On today’s show, we’ll do the numbers and answer more of your questions about wildfires and vaccines, plus get an update from Kimberly’s Uncle Davids.

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Aug 05, 2021
The debt ceiling debate is more about politics than economics
00:31:00

The debt ceiling debate is full of contradictions. It’s real but it’s not real. It’s a problem but it’s not a problem. Congress missed the deadline to raise the federal borrowing limit before it went back into effect at over the weekend. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has moved some money around as a short-term fix, but Congress needs to raise the limit, and soon. But America’s debt isn’t like other kinds of debt, or even other countries’ debts. On today’s show, Harvard economist Megan Greene explains it all as we prepare for that perennial partisan fight. Plus: “spiritual opium,” “Pokémon Go” and, oh yeah, that infrastructure spending bill.

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Aug 04, 2021
The eviction moratorium blame game
00:15:00

The federal eviction moratorium expired at the end of July, meaning potentially millions of struggling renters could lose their homes. On today’s show, we’ll pick apart the finger pointing between the White House and congressional leadership over who let the moratorium lapse, and what’s next for renters and landlords. Plus: The Ozarks, wolf turns and mysterious jetpack pilots.

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Aug 03, 2021
Let’s do the numbers on those breakthrough COVID cases
00:18:43

A tiny fraction of 1% of vaccinated Americans have tested positive for COVID-19. But if you don’t read beyond the headlines, you might not know that. On this punchy happy hour episode, we’ll talk about why the media need to do better reporting on the delta variant. And speaking of failure … Congress went on summer break without extending the eviction moratorium. We’ll talk about it and play another round of our favorite game, “Half Full/Half Empty.”

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Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube for this episode! We’re live Fridays 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.

Jul 31, 2021
A different kind of Hollywood superhero fight
00:15:21

It was bound to happen at some point. Scarlett Johansson, who’s played Black Widow in Marvel movies for a decade now, is suing Disney for breach of contract. After delaying it a year for the COVID-19 pandemic, the company released the “Black Widow” movie on Disney+ the same day it hit theaters. We’ll talk about the suit and what it says about the state of the movie industry. Plus: some vaccination history, the Steak-umm Twitter and a few technical difficulties, because why not?

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Jul 30, 2021
You can’t hide from Facebook
00:16:48

Facebook earnings are out, and one our listeners is looking for a little clarity in how exactly the company keeps beating expectations and bringing in tens of billions every quarter. We’ll get into the nuances of ad targeting, locking down your profile and how we create our own filter bubbles. Plus, more answers to your questions about the Congressional Budget Office, Navy planes and unemployment benefits.

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Jul 29, 2021
WeWork’s whole bananapants story
00:29:15

Was WeWork a tech company? A trillion-dollar business? A way of life? With the benefit of hindsight it’s easy to say, emphatically, “No.” But looking back at the lofty goals and investor enthusiasm that propelled the We Co. to a $47 billion valuation, we’re left wondering if the people involved have learned anything. Here to talk with us about it is Wall Street Journal reporter Maureen Farrell, who co-wrote the new book “The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann and the Great Startup Delusion.” Plus: Simone Biles, the Food and Drug Administration and polyamory pedantics.

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Jul 27, 2021
We need to think about the unvaccinated differently
00:17:03

There are limits to personal freedom and responsibility — it runs out when you put others at risk. You can’t drive drunk, for example. But are people who aren’t vaccinated for COVID-19 as brazen as a drunk driver? Or are they victims, scammed by bad information? Sociology professor Brooke Harrington has a great thread trying to reconcile all this, and we’re going to unpack it a bit on today’s show. Plus: Olympics highs and lows, the Frito-Lay strike and a sneak peek of tomorrow’s bananapants episode.

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Jul 27, 2021
Make Me Sports
00:20:24

We started out this episode talking about the folks who are still unvaccinated for COVID-19, but quickly turned to the way the NFL switched from carrot to stick in response to the delta variant. That’s just one of a few big stories we have to talk about on this oddly sports-centric show. We’ll also talk about why HIPAA doesn’t mean what many people think it means, and play another round of Half Full/Half Empty.

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Jul 24, 2021
Let’s talk about loneliness
00:16:44

Welcome to the metaverse! It’s run by Facebook. Plus: We cover a wide range of topics on this show and on our other daily news programs. But there’s a big one, a part of the human condition, we don’t often touch. So today we’re going to talk a bit about the proliferation of “ethical non-monogamy” on dating apps, the increase in sex toy sales in the pandemic, and why we don’t talk about those things on air very often.

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Jul 23, 2021
Hey, whatever happened to student loan forgiveness?
00:17:37

Federal student loan forbearance is set to expire at the end of September. There was a lot of talk at the start of the year of the Biden administration forgiving some amount of student loan debt, and one listener wants to know: What happened with all that? We’ll attempt to figure out the answer on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, plus more of your questions about the doctor shortage and the longevity of phone and electric car batteries.

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Jul 22, 2021
Our power grid is buckling under the weight of climate change
00:35:45

The power grid isn’t like other infrastructure. It’s a complex system that’s always on, on-demand all over the country. When supply can’t keep up with demand, as in extreme weather, things can go wrong very quickly. Carnegie Mellon assistant professor Destenie Nock studies and helps plan power systems, and on today’s show she’ll tell us about the challenges of maintaining and repairing a power grid in the face of climate change, and the outlook for potential solutions.

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Jul 21, 2021
Monday is longreads day
00:18:35

We’re keeping with our What’d We Miss Monday theme and tackling a bunch of the biggest stories that crossed our desks this weekend. There’s the delta variant of COVID-19, the plight of Uyghurs in China and potential new worker safety regulations in the face of climate change. But if that all sounds like too much of a bummer, we have a fun story about gardening in space.

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Jul 20, 2021
We’re feeling a little apocalyptic today
00:23:35

You know how in disaster movies, you usually see a montage of news stories as everything falls apart? We can’t help but feel that way about all the climate-related news this week. Good thing it’s happy hour. Plus, Kai and Kimberly disagree on President Joe Biden’s rhetoric around Facebook and play a round of our favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty.

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Jul 17, 2021
Misinformation is the new smoking
00:13:53

We got the Biden administration’s first advisory from the surgeon general today, and it’s about how mis- and disinformation have put lives at risk in the COVID-19 pandemic. As Los Angeles County gets ready for another mask mandate, we’ll talk about what that advisory could mean for regulations down the line. Also on today’s show: Shohei Ohtani, inflation and a reason to think twice before griping on Slack.

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Jul 16, 2021
Would canceling the Tokyo games bankrupt the Olympics?
00:17:41

Japan has a relatively old population and a relatively low vaccination rate. A listener in Tokyo wants to know: What would have happened if the Olympic Committee had canceled the TV-only Summer Games entirely? On today’s show, we’ll follow the money. Plus, more of your questions about inflation, military service and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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Jul 15, 2021
“Right to repair” is about more than DIY
00:27:37

You might not want to crack open your smartphone, but iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens wants you to have the option. His company provides instructions, parts and tools, but there’s a lot more to the “right to repair.” It’s a movement with implications for the environment and the broader economy, and bipartisan support is growing at the state and federal levels. Wiens talks us through it on today’s show. Plus: A listener weighs in with a list of what America does well, and European Union Commissioner Margrethe Vestager answers the Make Me Smart question.

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Jul 14, 2021
What’d we miss?
00:17:29

Kai was out on Friday, and there’s a lot to talk about, so we’re taking our listener Andrew’s suggestion and trying out “What’d We Miss Mondays” around here. On the docket: China’s economic recovery, wildfires, Virgin Galactic, Euro Cup, Biden’s executive orders, Burger King and more. Let us know what you think of this grab-bag format for a Monday!

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Jul 13, 2021
We’re watching a rocket-measuring contest between two billionaires. Why?
00:26:26

This Friday, let’s look at things a bit differently. Take, for example, the Disney classic that’s really about climate change, or why Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson should maybe stick around on Earth. Did we mention this happy hour is sober? All that, plus another round of our favorite game Half Full/Half Empty.

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Jul 10, 2021
Hey look, everything at Facebook is definitely, totally fine!
00:18:29

Billionaires, Big Tech executives and media moguls are rubbing shoulders in Sun Valley, Idaho, this week. Normally, they tend to be a little press shy at the annual event, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg were all smiles during a photo op today … timed conveniently after an excerpt from a dishy, new book about their partnership dropped in The New York Times. We’ll unpack that on today’s show, plus we’ll discuss COVID boosters, the Olympics and New York City subway floodwater.

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Jul 09, 2021
What does America do well?
00:17:00

After the long holiday weekend, we have a few Independence Day-themed listener questions to answer. We’ll get into the supply chain for fireworks, as well as that potential stumper from the episode title. And we’ll talk about private equity and the housing market and COVID-19 and the labor force.

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Jul 08, 2021
How downward mobility really feels
00:33:57

A lot’s changed since the last time we saw Annabelle Gurwitch. Since the actress and writer last appeared on our show back in 2017, she’s been living through the same pandemic as the rest of us, of course, but she’s also gotten divorced, lost her health insurance, had her car repossessed, tried out gig work, and then was diagnosed with lung cancer. In her new book “You’re Leaving When?” Gurwitch discusses downward mobility. We’ll talk with her about it, plus her experience sheltering LA homeless youth in her guest bedroom.

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When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week, we’re explaining sister cities, strawberries and the Cannes Film Festival. You can hear them all here. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

 

Jul 07, 2021
Let’s follow the money, and the controversy, at the Olympics
00:26:57

The Summer Olympic Games are about three weeks away. This week, there’s been no shortage of controversy around the International Olympic Committee and its treatment of Black athletes. Over drinks today we’ll run it down. Plus: a surprising statement from the defense secretary and a surprise guest joins us for “Half Full/Half Empty.”

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Jul 03, 2021
Let’s unpack the Supreme Court ruling on voting restrictions
00:15:13

The Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s voting restrictions with a 6-3 ruling today. We’ll talk about what it means for the Voting Rights Act, and the signal the conservative court is sending about voting laws overall. Plus: Why Robinhood could be the new WeWork, and the gender pay gap in the White House.

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Jul 02, 2021
Where did all the chicken wings go?
00:16:51

You can still find chicken wings in grocery stores, but not so much in restaurants. This after last year, when canceling March Madness lead to a surplus of chicken wings. The chicken wing shortage might even have Wingstop pivoting to thighs. We talked with the National Chicken Council about it. Plus, more listener questions about vaccines, antitrust and 3-pointers.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Join us on YouTube Fridays 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.

Jul 01, 2021
Fossil fuel is under pressure
00:33:00

No pun intended. Big Oil has hit a number of setbacks recently, but there’s still huge demand for fossil fuels. Jason Bordoff, director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, gives us a more holistic view of the fight against climate change and fossil fuels’ role in it. Because even as electric cars and solar batteries become more accessible, massive industries like steel and cement still run through a lot of oil. So, too, will emerging economies in Africa and Southeast Asia.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week, we’re explaining the Pride flag, Section 18 and charcoal. You can hear them all here. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

Jun 30, 2021
Let’s unpack the big Facebook antitrust news
00:15:40

Some Big Tech news broke right before we recorded this episode: A federal judge dismissed antitrust lawsuits brought against Facebook by more than 40 states. Today we’ll spend some time breaking down the reasoning, its impact on Facebook’s share price and what to expect next from Lina Khan’s Federal Trade Commission. Plus: The heat wave in Oregon, LeVar Burton and a gender-reveal party that’s … actually good?

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.

Jun 29, 2021
We are (probably) not alone in the universe
00:22:45

It’s not that they’re aliens, but they’re not not aliens. A new Pentagon report released Friday can’t account for 143 “unidentified aerial phenomena” seen since 2004, though it has a few ideas. We’ll allow ourselves to speculate, and quote “Contact” a bit on today’s show. That, plus a grab bag of news to round out the week.

Here’s everything we talked about on the show 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 happy hour! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

Jun 26, 2021
COVID-19 is going to be with us for years
00:15:35

More than 150 million Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and that’s great. But that huge number masks some series disparities in this country, to say nothing of the rest of the world. On today’s show, we’ll talk a bit about virus variants and lasting effects in India and Brazil. Later, we’ll check in on President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan and briefly pivot to sports and art.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Jun 25, 2021
Health care can’t quit fax machines — here’s why
00:15:28

We have a good, old-fashioned “I’ve Always Wondered” kinda listener question today: Why is the doctor’s office seemingly the only place in American life you need to fax documents to? We’ll talk about why health records are so slow to digitize and the impact it can have on care. Plus more of your questions about gerrymandering and the Federal Reserve.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Join us on YouTube Fridays 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.

Jun 24, 2021
Critical race theory has been around for decades — why’s it a powder keg now?
00:34:50

If you’ve been tuned in to the culture war at all in the last six to 12 months, you’ve probably heard a lot about “critical race theory.” You’ve probably heard less about what it actually is. On today’s show, we’ll go deep with an actual critical race theorist on the nuances of what CRT is and isn’t, and what the recent controversy about CRT in schools has to do with the voting restrictions we talked about last week.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Jun 23, 2021
We’re still learning about the COVID-19 pandemic
00:18:00

It might feel like the COVID-19 pandemic is wrapping up in some parts of the United States, but there’s still new variants along with fresh revelations about the government’s response to the crisis. We’ll talk a bit about both on today’s show, plus the Supreme Court ruling on the NCAA and the West Coast perspective on New York’s mayoral race.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Jun 22, 2021
Why Jeff Bezos needs to come back from space
00:20:00

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is headed to space on a suborbital flight run by his company Blue Origin. As of this taping, more than 16,000 people have signed a Change.org petition telling him to stay there. (There’s also a petition for him to buy and eat the “Mona Lisa,” but we’ll leave that alone). On today’s show, Kimberly Adams rounds out her guest-hosting stint with a surprisingly thoughtful answer for why Bezos needs to come back down to Earth. But first, we have to talk about the drought in America’s southwest and a very good dog. Plus, another round of Half Full/Half Empty, with suggestions from the fan-run “Make Me Smart” Discord server!

Here’s everything we talked about today (if you can’t open these on your podcast app, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org):

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

Jun 19, 2021
The Fed is changing how it thinks about this economy
00:17:00

We’re going to get a little wonkier than usual today, because there’s a complex but important change happening in the way the Federal Reserve seems to think about the labor market and this economy more broadly. Plus: An update on that couple who waved guns at Black Lives Matter protesters and the nuances of America’s newest federal holiday.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Jun 18, 2021
When does a political donation become a bribe?
00:15:48

Kimberly Adams is still filling in for us from Washington, D.C., just in time for a big but surprisingly nuanced question about campaign finance reform. One listener wants to know about political action committees, dark money and the philosophical framework ostensibly making sure those contributions are on the right side of the law. Plus, more of your questions about career changes, gas prices and “The Expanse.”

Here’s everything we talked about today (if you can’t open these links on your podcast app, check out the episode page on makemesmart.org):

Join us on YouTube Fridays 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.

Jun 17, 2021
Voting has always been hard for some Americans, and it’s getting harder
00:33:41

For as long as we’ve had a democracy in this country, we’ve fought about who gets to vote and how. But this longstanding fight has taken on a new intensity since the 2020 election: At least 14 states have passed more than 20 laws so far this year restricting voting, and money is pouring in both to fight and enact them. On today’s show, the Brennan Center’s Daniel Weiner gives us the lay of the land and tells us why there’s reason to be hopeful about the state of voting in this country.

Here’s everything we talked about today (if you can’t click these links on your podcast app, try the episode page at makemesmart.org):

Jun 16, 2021
The pandemic’s knock-on effects
00:13:38

American corporations were already borrowing a lot before the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, with the economy all but ground to a halt and money even cheaper, they took on even more debt. On today’s show, we’ll talk about what that means, along with another unexpected dimension of this economy reopening: National Parks packed to the … hills.

Here’s everything we talked about today (if these links aren’t showing up for you:

Jun 15, 2021
And just like that, we have a Big Tech antitrust bill
00:24:41

Five of them, actually! We have to eat a little crow here. We’ve been saying for days, months, years that Congress can’t agree on anything much less regulate tech giants like Google, Apple and Facebook. But today lawmakers introduced five bills aimed at reining in Big Tech, and they’re bipartisan. We’ll talk about them, and the likelihood of anything passing, over drinks for today’s Economics on Tap. Plus: Pulitzers, lithium mines and another round of our favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Join us on YouTube Fridays 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.

Jun 12, 2021
Remember MoviePass? The FTC does
00:17:27

The deal was too good to be true, because it was: A few years ago, MoviePass started offering users unlimited movie tickets for $10 per month. It was an unworkable, growth-focused business model even more extreme than most startups subsidizing post-recession online life, and MoviePass knew it. A Federal Trade Commission investigation found all sorts of shady tactics the company used to keep its most movie-addicted viewers from getting tickets. We’ll talk about it, plus electric trucks, game show history and a new ocean (??) on this not-so-hollowed-out Thursday.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

For more on millennial lifestyle subsidies, space travel and the trade war with China, check out our newsletter! It comes out every Friday morning. Subscribe and read the latest issue here.

Jun 11, 2021
Should you be worried about ransomware?
00:13:46

We spent a lot of time on yesterday’s show talking about ransomware attacks against companies, institutions and critical infrastructure. They’re on the rise, but one listener wants to know: what about individuals? Should we be worried about an attack? On today’s show, we’ll tell you not to reuse your password and other helpful answers. Plus, more listener questions about tariffs, vaccine lotteries and day drinking.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Do you have a question for Whatta Ya Wanna Know Wednesday? Email us at makemesmart@marketplace.org or send in a voice memo! Here’s how to do it.

Jun 10, 2021
Ransomware attacks are “death by a 1,000 cuts”
00:27:24

There was a successful ransomware attack every eight minutes last year, according to one cybersecurity firm. This year’s high-profile attacks — the ones we know about, that is — have disrupted critical infrastructure and had knock-on effects on consumers. On today’s show, we’ll talk with Robert Latiff, author of “Future War,” about the worst-case scenario, why the U.S. is particularly vulnerable and what the federal government needs to do before it’s too late.

Here’s everything we talked about on the show 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.

Jun 09, 2021
Jeff Bezos is going to space
00:16:33

After putting up the money for his own space company, Blue Origin, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced today he’ll be on board its first manned mission. His brother will too. We’ll talk about it, plus more headlines from the future: cryptocurrency ransom, new treatments for Alzheimer’s and a prophetic Prince album.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Jun 08, 2021
Facebook made its bed and wants Congress to lie in it
00:21:13

You probably saw the big news from Facebook’s Oversight Board today, upholding former President Donald Trump’s suspension from the platform for two more years at least. But Mark Zuckerberg has more than Trump to deal with today, including antitrust probes from overseas. The company is still begging Congress for regulation which, we gotta say, is pretty rich. Plus, life at AMC after its meme stonk run and another round of our favorite game Half Full/Half Empty.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Jun 05, 2021
Wait, the NFL was doing *what*?
00:18:56

It’s the first week of summer — culturally, if not meteorologically. Changing of the seasons is a great time to start anew on some things, like redistributing vaccines for example; and to stop doing other things, like Facebook’s policy carve outs for politicians or the NFL’s shocking “race-norming” practice. We’ll talk about all of it, plus a whale vomit jackpot.

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.

Jun 04, 2021
How Amazon Sidewalk works (and how to opt out)
00:16:15

A few years ago, it might have been an intriguing idea: All the smart speakers, cameras and so on in your home networking with nearby smart home devices in your neighborhood, forming a mesh network so they all work better. But this is 2021 and Amazon is turning on the feature by default. You’d be right to have some questions. Ahead of Amazon Sidewalk’s launch this month, we’ll tell you about the privacy implications and how to opt out. Plus, more listener questions about destroyed currency and cargo ship jail.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Jun 03, 2021
Corporate tax doesn’t have to be a “race to the bottom”
00:27:00

You might remember our episode on the tax gap, the billions unpaid by some of the richest Americans. Better enforcement of the existing tax law could yield big returns, but that’s just for individuals. Corporations pay taxes too — that is, when they aren’t parking their money in overseas tax havens. To stave off a “race to the bottom” and fund its infrastructure plan, the Biden administration is pushing for a global corporate tax minimum of around 15%. On today’s show, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center senior fellow Thornton Matheson talks us through who benefits from the tax trends of the past 30 years, which countries are on board with Joe Biden’s proposed 15% minimum and the chances of it actually happening.

Jun 02, 2021
Microsoft says Russian group is responsible for latest cyberattack
00:26:12

Always double-check before you click. Over 150 organizations worldwide were targeted in the attack, according to a blog post from Microsoft this week. The company believes the Russian group behind the attack, Nobelium, was also responsible for last year’s massive SolarWinds hack. Microsoft said that at least a quarter of the organizations targeted are involved in international humanitarian and human rights work. This comes three weeks before a scheduled meeting between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. We talked about how that conversation might go. Plus, the rest of the day’s news and a round of everyone’s favorite Friday fixture, Half Full/Half Empty!

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

May 29, 2021
States offer the unvaccinated a shot at glory
00:17:32

Earlier today, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced California would be joining the slew of states that are offering incentives to encourage vaccinations, which have been steadily declining. Folks who have already gotten their shots are also eligible for the prizes, which range from a $50 grocery card to a grand prize of $1.5 million. Plus, a big boost in crypto, big moves in the Indy 500, and AMC to the mooooon!

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

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May 28, 2021
All we want for Christmas is supply chain relief
00:18:44

Winter is coming — eventually. Hopefully there’ll be plenty of cheer, but what about discount electronics? We answer one listener’s question about how the chip shortage will affect the holiday shopping season. Plus, Florida takes on tech, and the return of the dual voice memo!

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

Make Me Smart is powered by listeners like you. Become a Marketplace Investor before Thursday to help us reach our fundraising goal: marketplace.com/givesmart

May 27, 2021
A look at the history — and future — of police funding
00:26:18

How do we reduce crime, especially amid calls to defund the police?

While many point to rising crime rates as an indicator that more funding is needed, studies show almost no link between crime and money spent. So what’s the answer?

“We know what’s required,” said Elizabeth Hinton, a professor of history and African American studies at Yale University and author of the new book “America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s.”

On today’s show, Hinton walks us through some of the decisions that have led to the current moment, past attempts to find a solution and things to consider in conversations around police funding as we move forward.

“When people are talking about defund the police or calling for defund the police, they’re saying we want a different set of investments of our taxpayer dollars into communities.”

Later on, we’ll hear from a listener who gives us insight into one of Molly’s favorite songs. Plus, an answer to the Make Me Smart Question.

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

Cheers to making it through this year! Donate today to get our new Mason jar mug and “Stonktails” recipe book: marketplace.org/givesmart

 

May 25, 2021
The streaming battle may be getting shaken, not stirred
00:17:58

In a world where content is king, Amazon may be looking to capture the crown. There are reports the tech titan is acquiring MGM Studios. If a deal does happen, it would be Amazon’s second-largest acquisition since its purchase of Whole Foods in 2017. We take a look at what that would mean for the media landscape in the wake of the recent AT&T-Discovery deal. Plus, New York City moves away from remote learning; vaccination sweepstakes; and pandemic pups.

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

Cheers to making it through this year! Donate today to get our new Mason jar mug and “Stonktails” recipe book: marketplace.org/givesmart

May 25, 2021
Tim Cook’s (not so) Epic testimony
00:26:08

The antitrust trial involving Apple and Epic Games has provided a rare look into some of the tech giant’s business practices. The case wraps up soon, and it’s going out with a … slightly boring whimper. Apple CEO Tim Cook took the witness stand today. We talk about the importance of what he said, and didn’t say. Plus, how vaccines are making singles more attractive and a round of our favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty.

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

Cheers to making it through this year! Donate today to get our new Mason jar mug and “Stonktails” recipe book: marketplace.org/givesmart

May 22, 2021
Let’s get digital (currency?)
00:17:12

Cryptocurrency is a hot market, and some nations’ governments are wondering if it’s time to make their move. China already has a digital yuan, and the U.S. Federal Reserve announced today that it would explore a digital currency this summer. There are important differences between a minted digital currency and cryptocurrency, and we’ll help you figure out what those are. Plus, Chris Bosh, a royal gun show and a little CEO diversity.

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

Cheers to making it through this year! Donate today to get our new Mason jar mug and “Stonktails” recipe book: marketplace.org/givesmart

May 21, 2021
This is why the internet is so annoying right now
00:16:28

You know how it goes. You click on an article, but you can’t read it without tussling with a series of pop-ups, banners and prompts. “Yes, I accept cookies.” “No, I don’t want your newsletter.” “Sure, I’ll turn off my ad blocker.” “Whoops, I hit the paywall.” It’s not ideal. One of our listeners wants to know what happens if we don’t click “OK,” and the answer leads us to revisit our old friend, the General Data Protection Regulation. Plus, we answer more of your questions about cryptocurrency and coffee beer.

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

Cheers to making it through this year! Donate today to get our new Mason jar mug and “Stonktails” recipe book: marketplace.org/givesmart

May 20, 2021
Who’s scared of a little inflation?
00:33:06

We’ve put it off for a long time, but it’s time to talk about the I-word. Nine letters, three syllables: inflation. The Federal Reserve likes it around 2%, but it’s been a long time since we’ve gotten there. As this economy inches back on track, consumer prices are going up and the investor class is getting spooked. Meanwhile, Fed Chair Jay Powell is keeping interest rates low. So what’s going on? Here to make us smart (and calmer) about it all is Brown University political economist Mark Blyth.

Cheers to making it through this year! Donate today to get our new mason jar mug and “Stonktails” recipe book: marketplace.org/givesmart

May 19, 2021
Air travel is back — but is that good?
00:17:16

Well, it’s definitely Monday. Companies are panic-buying over inflation fears, Elon Musk is still talking about crypto, AT&T is suddenly pivoting out of content and, oh yeah, bald eagles want to eat your pets. We’ll talk about all of it. Plus: Molly reflects on a recent air travel experience that has her craving a “John Madden summer.” Your mileage may vary.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

“Make Me Smart” is a part of your daily habit. We run on listener support, so make donating part of that habit, too! Give what you can today: marketplace.org/givesmart

May 18, 2021
Joe Biden’s Venmo is a national security risk
00:22:00

In just 10 minutes of searching, reporters at BuzzFeed were able to find Joe Biden’s Venmo. See, while you can make your activity on the payment app private, your friends list is always public. For the White House, there are potential national security implications, but for the layperson, that feature could open the door to spying, scamming and harassment. We’ll talk about it over drinks. Plus more of the day’s news and a round of our favorite game: Half Full/Half Empty!

By the way, in this episode we talk a lot about the new Marketplace tote bag, which is a thank-you gift for Marketplace Investors. See it for yourself and get your own here.

Here’s everything else we talked about today:

“Make Me Smart” is a part of your daily habit. We run on listener support, so make donating part of that habit, too! Give what you can today: marketplace.org/givesmart

May 15, 2021
The White House trains its sights on for-profit colleges
00:14:13

For-profit schools got a bit of a break under the Trump administration, but no longer. The former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now in charge of student loans at the Education Department, and he’s hitting some schools’ bottom line. Marketplace reporter Amy Scott is with us to talk about it today. Plus: the politicization of unemployment, New York City homes under $100K and, of course, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new mask rules.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

“Make Me Smart” is a part of your daily habit. We run on listener support, so make donating part of that habit, too! Give what you can today: marketplace.org/givesmart

May 14, 2021
What you need to know about Apple’s new tracking update
00:16:33

If you have an iPhone or iPad and your software is up to date, you may have seen a prompt pop up in Instagram, Facebook or other apps. It asks if you want to allow the apps to track you, and it’s a little confusing. On today’s show, we’ll try and help a listener clear it up. Plus, immersive travel, jobs numbers and Kai Ryssdal’s “Top Gun” days.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

“Make Me Smart” is a part of your daily habit. We run on listener support, so make donating part of that habit, too! Give what you can today: marketplace.org/givesmart

May 13, 2021
Back to school won’t mean back to normal
00:33:00

This economy won’t reopen until schools reopen, full stop. So how are we doing on that? More than half of schools teaching up to eighth grade have reopened for in-person instruction, and a large majority of teachers and other relevant workers are vaccinated. But most students are still learning at least partly online and, of course, it’s nearly summer break. No one seems to know what fall will bring. Today, Washington Post education reporter Valerie Strauss walks us through the uncertainty and the possibilities of a hybrid model that’s actually good.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

“Make Me Smart” is a part of your daily habit. We run on listener support, so make donating part of that habit, too! Give what you can today: marketplace.org/givesmart

May 12, 2021
Your COVID-19 vaccine was likely free — what about the booster?
00:16:46

President Joe Biden loosened intellectual property restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines last week in an effort to slow the pandemic — which, reminder, is very much still going on. On today’s show, we’ll follow on that news a bit and talk about where the real money is made from those vaccines. Plus: The Food and Drug Administration says yes to vaccines for more teens, attorneys aeneral say no to an Instagram for kids, and America says “well … OK” to the return of Bennifer.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Make Me Smart is a part of your daily habit. We run on listener support, so make donating part of that habit, too! Give what you can today: marketplace.org/givesmart

May 11, 2021
The economy gained 266K jobs — but they didn’t go to women
00:25:07

In a typical month, 266,000 new jobs would be amazing. But April (and the 12 months before that) was not a typical month. Economists expected about a million, the labor market’s still in a deep hole and on balance, we expected women to get some of them. On today’s show we’ll take you behind the numbers, plus a little on Elon Musk’s autopilot problem and another round of our favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty.

Check out all the thank-you gifts at $5 amonth and keep “Make Me Smart” going strong when you donate today: marketplace.org/givesmart

May 08, 2021
The chip shortage could mess up your summer vacation
00:18:35

As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, there’s been something of a global chip-demic brewing. And like the pandemic, a semiconductor shortage has knock-on effects you might not expect — like not enough rental cars to go around. How will this affect the pent-up demand for post-vaccination travel this summer? We’ll talk about it. Plus: Berkshire Hathaway gets Y2K’d, the Fed talks about “meme stocks” and condors make a mess.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Check out all the thank-you gifts at $5 a month and keep “Make Me Smart” going strong when you donate today: marketplace.org/givesmart

May 07, 2021
What’s the difference between misinformation and plain ol’ lies?
00:16:59

We got that question from a listener and today, as Facebook’s own Oversight Board handed down a decision on banning Donald Trump, seemed like the right day to pick it apart. Along with the lexicon of dishonesty, we’ll answer your questions about record-high lumber prices and “green hydrogen.”

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Check out all the thank-you gifts at $5 a month and keep “Make Me Smart” going strong when you donate today: marketplace.org/givesmart

May 06, 2021
There’s more to the baby bust than COVID-19
00:29:30

A baby represents an investment in the future. Looking back at the last 15 months, you could understand why some people may not feel great about having one right now. But the causes and effects of a record-low birthrate stretch much further than the pandemic. On today’s show, Notre Dame economics professor Kasey Buckles will help us put the birthrate in context and unpack the immigration, climate and economic implications. Later in the show, listeners weigh in the death of the mall and the return of cruise ships, plus acting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel answers the Make Me Smart Question.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

May 05, 2021
Is meat over?
00:17:14

The plant-based “meat” industry has been growing for a while — we did an episode about it in 2019. But now tastemaking websites and restaurants are starting to turn away from meat and seafood, and companies who have made their name in meat are embracing alternatives. Is the sun setting on the burger kingdom? We’ll talk about it. Plus: “The Fed” hits the small screen, Trump might be back on Facebook and the Gates marriage comes to an end.

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.

May 04, 2021
You can’t stop being you at work
00:26:07

You might not care about the company Basecamp or use its software, but you might care about the dust-up there. Employees are leaving en masse after the company banned “societal and political discussions” in the workplace. Today, we’ll wade into the controversy and try to come out smarter. Plus, another round of our favorite Friday game, Half-Full/Half-Empty.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Thanks to everyone who watched and participated in our happy hour livestream! Join us on YouTube 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.

May 01, 2021
Feeling hollowed out? Us too.
00:18:06

Molly calls it fight-or-flight wearing off. Kai calls it rubber-band syndrome. It’s that special kind of burnout where you’ve been working so hard for so long, keeping it all together, that the second you take a breath, you’re instantly knocked on your butt. We know we’re not the only ones feeling that way — CVS is offering in-store therapy now! — and it might get worse before it gets better, so today we’re gonna talk about it. Plus: Amazon’s “oil company money,” Rice Krispies Treats and T-Pain’s DMs.

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 30, 2021
Do we really need a Real ID?
00:15:04

Homeland Security extended the real ID deadline this week, and one listener asked why this kind of identification is even a thing. Molly and Kai discuss. Plus: Will companies start requiring their employees to get vaccinations? And explainers about the financial press’ interest in company earnings and what the “Overton window” has to do with reparations.

What we talked about today:

Apr 29, 2021
The pandemic all but killed privacy. It’s not too late to bring it back.
00:34:00

For more than a year we’ve been ensconced in our homes, but that doesn’t mean we have a lot of privacy. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has entrenched the yearslong erosion of our privacy, according to Harvard professor emeritus Shoshana Zuboff. Powerful tech companies were already doing big business with our data. Now they’re providing the tools essential for school, work, even getting the vaccine. But Zuboff says there’s a reason to hopeful: Living online has sharply increased public concern about data privacy and lawmakers’ appetite for regulating big tech.

Here’s what we talked about today:

Apr 28, 2021
Should we ban cryptocurrencies?
00:16:45

Twitter is full of conversation starters. Most of them are bad, but today we hit on a thread that really did make us think. It’s all about the why, if not the how, of banning cryptocurrency for the sake of the environment. On today’s show, we’ll pick it apart a bit. Plus: Facebook vs. Apple and Apple vs. podcasters. Oh, and some vaccine news to start us off.

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

Apr 27, 2021
Everyone calm down about the capital gains tax
00:26:06

Look at a well-heeled publication like the Financial Times today and you’ll see that investors are in “uproar” about President Joe Biden’s proposed capital gains tax hike on the superrich. Today we kindly — eh, maybe not-so-kindly — ask everyone to pump the brakes a bit. Plus: vaccine nationalism, D.C. statehood and much more on this jam-packed happy hour episode.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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

Apr 24, 2021
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 abou