Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

www.marketplace.org/shows/make-me-smart-with-kai-and-molly
Hosted by Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood, Make Me Smart With Kai & Molly is now a daily news podcast that breaks down the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the most complex topics of the week. Together, we make sense of today. Because none of us is as smart as all of us. As a leading public media voice, Ryssdal has been a trusted broadcaster for two decades and has received the Alfred I.duPont-Columbia University Award, a Peabody Award and an Emmy. He is the host of our daily news business radio program Marketplace. Wood has spent two decades covering the tech industry on all platforms and is known as a pioneer in podcasting. She is an Ideas contributor at Wired and has been recognized for her dynamic reporting by the Webbys, the National Magazine Awards, and the Gracie Awards. Listen to them together on Make Me Smart With Kai & Molly wherever you get your podcasts.


How are you doing?
Jul 2 • 18 min
We’re about 113 days into this pandemic, heading into a holiday weekend unlike any other in recent memory. We’re still learning about the best way to treat COVID-19, and some states are coming around on mask mandates. It’s not necessarily getting any…
Will coronavirus make it easier to buy a home?
Jul 1 • 15 min
We’ve gotten a lot of questions about the housing market during the COVID-19 recession. For today’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’re going to dive into that, plus scary tech, reserve currency and a little “M*A*S*H” trivia. You can find a list of…
A higher ed crisis is a terrible thing to waste
Jun 30 • 34 min
The rock walls, sushi bars and student center bowling alleys at colleges around the country will likely sit empty this fall. The spring semester has shown that online learning has significant limitations, said NYU marketing professor Scott Galloway, and…
Even the pandemic is bigger in Texas
Jun 29 • 16 min
Marketplace reporter Andy Uhler is in for Kai today, bringing us his on-the-ground reporting from Austin, Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott is rolling back reopening plans. But Abbott’s mostly left the rule-making to local governments and, well, no one knows…
That was fast: Facebook’s ad moderation flip-flop
Jun 26 • 15 min
It was just days ago that Facebook declared it would “not make policy changes tied to revenue pressure” after advertisers announced a boycott over the platform’s moderation efforts — or lack thereof. Today, Facebook announced it would, in fact, respond to…
Verizon boycotts Facebook (for a month)
Jun 25 • 14 min
Joining the likes of REI, Patagonia and others, Verizon is the biggest company by far to pull advertising from Facebook to protest the social media company’s moderation policies and overall corporate approach to combating misinformation. Can a boycott…
Who gets to be an “investor”?
Jun 24 • 16 min
There’s an accreditation process… and there’s an app. For this week’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’ll talk about both. Plus: If you’re not attending college in person this fall, should you get a discount? As always, you can find a list of some of…
Stock up on masks and wipes, the country’s reopening
Jun 23 • 33 min
Loren Wold came on the show to talk about testing and vaccines back in late April, which feels like eons ago in this pandemic. Wold’s a professor and assistant dean for biological health research at Ohio State University. His lab is one of many working on…
Let’s rename the places and stuff named after racists
Jun 22 • 15 min
Sen. John C. Stennis was a segregationist who opposed civil rights bills during his 41-year tenure. So why is there still an aircraft carrier named after him? That’s just one example we’ll pick apart today. Plus, President Trump’s suspension of H1-B visas…
Friday the Juneteenth
Jun 19 • 19 min
It’s Juneteenth, the day in 1865 when the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached slaves in Galveston, Texas. To celebrate, Kimberly is lining up joyful movies about Black characters to watch this weekend. We’re also going to spend some time today…
We have an empathy gap in this country
Jun 18 • 14 min
Kai has said it over and over again: We’ve given up on this pandemic. But people are still dying by the thousands from coronavirus infections. And, according to an interview Kimberly talks about today, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute…
What do you do when a business is spreading COVID?
Jun 17 • 17 min
On this week’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, Kai and Kimberly tackle a listener’s ethical dilemma: Should you blow the whistle on a company that’s knowingly accelerating the spread of coronavirus? Plus, voting machines, stress tests and Champagne…
BLM and pride take it to the streets
Jun 16 • 36 min
Pride month and Juneteenth are upon us, and protests against police brutality are entering their third week. Across the country, we’re seeing two civil rights movements gaining momentum together. Here to talk with us about intersectionality at this moment…
Imagine the economic upside of dismantling systemic racism
Jun 15 • 14 min
Kicking off the week with guest co-host Kimberly Adams, we pick up the conversation within the context of Kai’s interview with Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic. Plus, what today’s big Supreme Court ruling protecting gay and transgender employees says…
This just in: a rollback of protections for trans Americans
Jun 12 • 16 min
A Friday-afternoon story we couldn’t ignore: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced new rules Friday afternoon that would effectively exclude trans people from protection against health care discrimination. The news comes amid the…
Who got half a trillion in COVID loans? The Trump administration won’t say
Jun 11 • 14 min
The Small Business Administration was supposed to release detailed information about who got hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer-backed PPP loans. But at a hearing yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said it’s “confidential information.”…
Do investors care about fighting systemic racism?
Jun 10 • 18 min
IBM’s stock price slumped this week after the company announced it would get out of the facial recognition business for fear that it could lead to racist, abusive surveillance. So what do we make of that? We’ll talk about this disconnect between our…
Defund police? Then what?
Jun 9 • 37 min
Following two weeks of sustained protest over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, the City Council there voted to explore dismantling its Police Department. Minneapolis is among the few cities now seriously considering the work of activists…
We’re officially in a recession
Jun 8 • 16 min
After a 128-month expansion, the U.S. economy entered a recession in February. Today, we’ll talk about what that means and where we go from here. Plus: Guest co-host Kimberly Adams talks about a #MeToo-style movement for Black journalists and why it…
Yes, you can trust the jobs report
Jun 5 • 17 min
We were all surprised by this morning’s May jobs numbers, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust them. That’s a dangerous road to go down. On today’s show, we’ll pick apart how the Bureau of Labor Statistics does the numbers and the wonkiness behind…
K-Pop stans vs. racism
Jun 4 • 15 min
If you find yourself rage-clicking on trending topics that appear to be racist this week, you’ll likely be greeted by gifs and videos of BTS or another massively popular Korean pop group. Their famously dedicated fan armies have joined the fight against…
Yes, Quibi still exists
Jun 3 • 15 min
For Whaddya Wanna Know Wednesday, we dipped into the mailbag and pulled out a mix of your questions from the past week, including: What’s happening with Quibi, the very-well-funded mobile-only streaming service that landed with a thud in the middle of a…
Will the George Floyd protests finally catalyze real change?
Jun 2 • 34 min
Protests against the killing of George Floyd in police custody have flared in some 140 cities. Once again Americans are confronted with a reminder of the ways people of color, particularly black people, bear a disproportionate burden in this economy in…
Facebook, protests and a whole lot more
Jun 1 • 14 min
Many Facebook employees took a virtual hike to protest the company’s policies around presidential messaging. And there’s a lot to process on this Monday. We do bring you a couple of things to make you smile, though. For a full list of the stories we…
These are broken times
May 29 • 16 min
It’s been a long week, so we went live on YouTube Friday to talk about what’s happening in Minneapolis, our hobbled economy, and President Trump’s leadership over a drink. In lighter news, we’ll also discuss how to leave your dog at home after the…
What does Hong Kong bring to China’s economy?
May 28 • 15 min
As China cracks down on Hong Kong’s autonomy, we take a minute to examine the territory’s place in the world’s second-largest economy. Plus: the Boston Marathon, the Wall Street Journal and a couple of Uncles David. For a full list of the stories we…
What’s HBO Max?
May 27 • 15 min
Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday isn’t just about answering your questions. Sometimes our hosts have questions too. Today, Kai is trying to figure out the latest entrant in the streaming wars. Plus: how oil prices bounced back and the future of higher ed.…
Back to the mall … but is anyone buying?
May 26 • 31 min
After years of sagging sales and changing customer habits, the coronavirus pandemic has retail fighting for its life. As more states move to partially reopen nonessential businesses, it’s still not clear who’s going to make it out of this crisis. For our…
Happy Friday: Your SAT scores really don’t matter anymore
May 22 • 15 min
Not in California, anyway. The University of California system announced this week it will phase out the use of ACT and SAT test scores in its admissions process. Will it ease stress and lower barriers for low-income families? We’ll talk about it. Plus:…
Hank Paulson on the strong dollar
May 21 • 15 min
On today’s show, we’ll dig into former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s column in Foreign Affairs about how to keep the dollar strong. Plus, Big Tech’s new work-from-home reality check and some useful euphemisms for “President Trump lied.” For a full…
Can you deduct a home office on your taxes?
May 20 • 17 min
Or will your employer pay for some WFH remodeling? Eh, don’t get your hopes up. We’re fielding a couple of personal finance questions on today’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. We’ll also answer your mail about the confusing surge in the stock market and…
When we go back to work, tech will have a new job
May 19 • 31 min
Ready or not, the country is starting to reopen, and some Americans are getting back to work. There’s a lot of new tech on the table for preventing a surge in COVID-19 cases, but what’s actually effective? And what data will you have to give up to use it?…
This recession curve could take many shapes
May 18 • 14 min
Is it a “V”? A “W”? What about a Nike swoosh? What about a “K”? Stay with us. Also meeting up here today: Masayoshi Son, Chuck E. Cheese and Jesus Christ. For a full list of stories we talked about today, check out our episode page at makemesmart.org.
Will there be a baseball season?
May 15 • 20 min
For now, it’s millionaires versus billionaires. The MLB is exploring a way to get baseball season started during the pandemic… and Kai’s out today. So we drafted Andy Uhler to go deep on the players union, salary caps and more. Plus: a playlist for your…
If you could work from anywhere, where would you live?
May 14 • 16 min
Twitter was the first big tech company to tell workers they could work remotely indefinitely, even after the pandemic wanes. Does this portend tech workers fleeing the high price of living in Silicon Valley, or even a migration away from big cities? We’ll…
Some Airbnb, more MMT and ‘keyboard money’
May 13 • 17 min
You guys had a lot of questions after our episode about Modern Monetary Theory, and today we’re going to answer one on Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. We’ll also talk about the Fed, Airbnb and the history of unemployment in this country. For a full list…
Maybe Modern Monetary Theory is an answer to the COVID-19 economic crisis
May 12 • 40 min
Does debt matter? For an individual, a household or even a generation, sure it does. But what about a nation? Modern Monetary Theory says no. To help us understand MMT and why it matters in this crisis is Stephanie Kelton. She’s a professor of economics…
What is Elon Musk doing now?
May 11 • 15 min
In his (sigh) tweet today, the Tesla CEO said he’s reopening a Northern California factory a couple weeks before he’s allowed, daring police to come arrest him. But given the way this pandemic works and Tesla’s safety record, Elon Musk could very well be…
What a week, huh?
May 8 • 19 min
Some days you’re the murder hornet, some days you’re the praying mantis. It’ll make more sense when you listen. For all the links from today’s show, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org
We know what we need to do, but we’re not doing it
May 7 • 13 min
The U.S. is the richest country in the world. Why can’t we get our act together around COVID-19? If it sounds like we’re oversimplifying, on the show today we’ll look to Germany and how it’s kept factories open while avoiding severe outbreaks. Plus, why…
When we look back, will this be a blur? Or a new beginning?
May 6 • 15 min
Will the memories of this COVID-19 outbreak and economy fade away for most of us, or change society forever? That’s one of the big questions for this edition of “Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday.” Plus: Is this 2008 for commercial real estate? And how is…
The state of the states
May 5 • 35 min
Thirteen percent of American workers are employed by a state government, and states get about 70 percent of their income from sales and income taxes. But with businesses shuttered and unemployment claims surging, local governments are facing a huge…
Is the simulation breaking? Cruises are going to set sail again?
May 4 • 16 min
We don’t have enough time today to ponder the nature of our existence, but we are going to talk about these fascinating coronavirus pandemic simulations. Also, yes, Carnival’s plan to start cruises again in August. Plus: Kai’s deep in this thread and…
Elon Musk is tweeting through it
May 1 • 18 min
Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Twitter this morning: “Tesla stock price is too high imo,” along with a bunch of other stuff. We need a drink before we can dive into this one. Also today on Economics on Tap: consumer spending, additional stimulus and a remote jazz…
How about contact tracing for COVID-19 misinformation?
Apr 30 • 14 min
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, no great fan of Facebook, has asked other tech giants to follow the company’s example by contacting users who’ve interacted with misinformation. Plus, we’ll talk about the joy of vacuuming and the wonders of nature.
Can states run out of unemployment money?
Apr 29 • 15 min
And can they go bankrupt? That’s just two of the questions we’re tackling in today’s “Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday.” Plus: Should we be concerned Google is in so many schools? Why do big companies get small business money? And maybe the most important…
We need millions of tests to open this economy. So, where are they?
Apr 28 • 33 min
Coronavirus testing is way, way, waaaay behind here, folks. A lack of tests hobbled the government’s efforts to track the pandemic in the U.S. Now health experts say we need millions of tests every week to safely reopen the economy. Here to walk us…
UFOs? Sure, why not.
Apr 27 • 12 min
After years of leaks and reportage, the Pentagon has finally declassified three videos of Navy pilots encountering unidentified flying objects. You know our own former Navy pilot and current sci-fi geek had to weigh in. But first, a bit about the Payroll…
A very-happy happy hour
Apr 24 • 16 min
First of all, we have to kick off this episode with a big thank you. In just two days, 230 of you donated to support the show. If you wanna join that group, head to Marketplace.org/givesmart. Also on tap today: the continuing scandal in the U.S. Navy, how…
That new $484 billion aid package isn’t enough
Apr 23 • 17 min
Right before we started the taping, the House of Representatives passed another big coronavirus relief bill. President Donald Trump has said he will sign it, but how long will it last? Kai’s predicting another bill in less than 12 days. Plus: The…