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Make Me Smart

Marketplace

Each weekday, Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal and Kimberly Adams 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.

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What to know about affordable housing
Yesterday
What to know about affordable housing
Following up on our recent deep dive into the housing crisis, today we’re taking a deeper look at affordable housing. There’s not enough of it in this economy, but getting more built is a hard nut to crack. But what exactly is affordable housing? And, what’s considered affordable these days? Experts say there are generally two large buckets. Big “A” affordable housing is publicly subsidized units that are intended for low-income households. Small “a” affordable housing is generally considered housing priced at no more than 30% of a household’s budget. Either way, there’s a shortage. “Part of the issue is that after the last recession, we had more higher-income renters who were stuck in the rental market or who chose to stay in the rental market longer. So then we just see rents continue to rise,” said Whitney Airgood-Obrycki, a senior research associate at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, which just released a report on the state of the nation’s housing. On today’s show, Airgood-Obrycki makes us smart about the realities of America’s affordable-housing crisis and its impact on the broader economy. In the News Fix, we’ll discuss a new report that may offer clues about where all the affordable homes may have gone. Plus, the Federal Reserve takes consumers’ attitudes about inflation seriously. But it turns out that measuring those attitudes isn’t exactly a hard science. We’ll explain. Then, we hear from listeners about the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, mortgage rates and old school typing rules. Here’s everything we talked about today: “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2022” from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University“Biden administration creates plan to increase affordable housing” from Marketplace“Where Have All The Houses Gone?” from the House Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations“The Strange Art of Asking People How Much Inflation They Expect” from The Wall Street Journal“At least 50 people found dead in abandoned 18-wheeler in San Antonio” from The Texas Tribune“Two Spaces After a Period or Just One? Please Get It Right!” from Patrick’s Place blog Do you use two spaces after a period? Let us know. Email us at makemesmart@marketplace.org. You can also leave us a voice message at (508) 827-6278 or (508) U-B-SMART. Your donation powers the journalism you rely on. Give today to support Make Me Smart.
What to know about affordable housing
Yesterday
What to know about affordable housing
Following up on our recent deep dive into the housing crisis, today we’re taking a deeper look at affordable housing. There’s not enough of it in this economy, but getting more built is a hard nut to crack. But what exactly is affordable housing? And, what’s considered affordable these days? Experts say there are generally two large buckets. Big “A” affordable housing is publicly subsidized units that are intended for low-income households. Small “a” affordable housing is generally considered housing priced at no more than 30% of a household’s budget. Either way, there’s a shortage. “Part of the issue is that after the last recession, we had more higher-income renters who were stuck in the rental market or who chose to stay in the rental market longer. So then we just see rents continue to rise,” said Whitney Airgood-Obrycki, a senior research associate at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, which just released a report on the state of the nation’s housing. On today’s show, Airgood-Obrycki makes us smart about the realities of America’s affordable-housing crisis and its impact on the broader economy. In the News Fix, we’ll discuss a new report that may offer clues about where all the affordable homes may have gone. Plus, the Federal Reserve takes consumers’ attitudes about inflation seriously. But it turns out that measuring those attitudes isn’t exactly a hard science. We’ll explain. Then, we hear from listeners about the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, mortgage rates and old school typing rules. Here’s everything we talked about today: “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2022” from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University“Biden administration creates plan to increase affordable housing” from Marketplace“Where Have All The Houses Gone?” from the House Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations“The Strange Art of Asking People How Much Inflation They Expect” from The Wall Street Journal“At least 50 people found dead in abandoned 18-wheeler in San Antonio” from The Texas Tribune“Two Spaces After a Period or Just One? Please Get It Right!” from Patrick’s Place blog Do you use two spaces after a period? Let us know. Email us at makemesmart@marketplace.org. You can also leave us a voice message at (508) 827-6278 or (508) U-B-SMART. Your donation powers the journalism you rely on. Give today to support Make Me Smart.
Inflation: Nobody really knows what the what
21-06-2022
Inflation: Nobody really knows what the what
Inflation is the economic story of the day. And, even though it’s been percolating for over a year, last week the inflation story kicked into high gear with the Federal Reserve making big moves to get rising prices under control. So what changed, exactly? For starters, a combination of reports showing the worse of inflation isn’t over and that consumers expect inflation to keep rising. “And so, that was one of the reasons why we saw the Fed do, a bigger rate hike than they were originally expecting, said Victoria Guida, who covers the Federal Reserve for Politico. “It wasn’t just because they wanted to get interest rates up faster, it was also sort of a message to the American public: ‘Hey, we’re really serious about getting inflation back down. So, you know, don’t get it into your heads that inflation is going to stay this high forever.'” On the show today: How the Fed miscalculated inflation, and why we may not know how well the Fed navigated this moment until years down the road. Plus, we’ll answer a couple of your inflation questions. Later, we’ll discuss how companies are responding to inflation and the scale of China’s surveillance state. Then, if you have a hard time remembering the weather in Celsius, a listener shares a hack that’ll make you sound smart in front of your friends. And an answer to the Make Me Smart question that has many of us nodding along. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Failure ‘not an option’: Fed vows all-out fight on inflation” from Politico“On Inflation, Economics Has Some Explaining to Do” from The Wall Street Journal“Recession-Fearing Bosses Quietly Abandon Open Jobs” from Bloomberg“China’s Surveillance State Is Growing. These Documents Reveal How.” from The New York Times“Greitens ‘RINO hunting’ ad gets attention and condemnation” from St. Louis Public Radio Join us tomorrow for Whaddya Wanna Know Wednesday. And if you’ve got a question you’d like us to answer in a future show, email us at makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voice message at (508) 827-6278 or (508) U-B-SMART.
If you care about the economy, you should care about Jan. 6
14-06-2022
If you care about the economy, you should care about Jan. 6
For days now, we’ve been talking about something that happened 17 months ago, the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Congressional hearings into the events of that day started last week. The details can feel removed from the day-to-day economic struggles of the average American, but they are crucial. The Jan. 6 committee wants Americans to “understand that not only what happened was bad, it’s ongoing. This is still a threat to the country, is still a threat to democracy. And that if you do care about the economy, you need to make sure that we have a functioning government to confront those problems in the future too,” said Kyle Cheney, senior legal affairs reporter at Politico. On the show today, we’re talking about the aftermath of Jan. 6, what may come after the hearings and why this is important for the stability of our democracy and our economy. Later, we’ll discuss the rising tide of white nationalism and extremism after the arrests of dozens of people who police say were plotting to attack an LGBTQ pride event in Idaho. Also, crypto winter is here! Are the layoffs at Coinbase the first of many? Plus, listeners weigh in on the housing market and Taco Bell ditching dine-in service. Then, we end the show with a fatherly answer to the “Make Me Smart” question. Here’s everything we talked about today: Kyle Cheney’s Twitter feed “Jan. 6 panel makes case election fraud claims were Trump vs. ‘Team Normal’” from PoliticoFBI assisting investigation of Patriot Front, an alleged white nationalist group accused of planning riot at Idaho Pride event from CBS News“CDC Rescinds Order Requiring Negative Pre-Departure COVID-19 Test Prior to Flight to the US““Title 42 and its Impact on Migrant Families” from Kaiser Family Foundation“Coinbase says it will cut 18 percent of its work force.” from The New York Times Join us tomorrow for Whaddya Wanna Know Wednesday. If you’ve got a question you’d like our hosts to answer, send it our way. We’re at makemesmart@marketplace.org and (508) 827-6278 or (508) U-B-SMART.
Let’s talk about that prime-time Jan. 6 committee hearing
11-06-2022
Let’s talk about that prime-time Jan. 6 committee hearing
Last night we tuned in to the prime-time airing of the Jan. 6 committee hearing (we’d love to hear your thoughts if you were too). And today we’re going to talk about it. We’ve also got updates on COVID testing for international flyers to the U.S. and a possible falling out between Meta and its chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg. Then during Half Full/Half Empty, Kai and Kimberly weigh in on financial literacy classes, the Novavax COVID vaccine, converting classic cars into electric vehicles, a new European Union tech rule and Taco Bell’s new drive-thru architecture. Here’s everything we talked about on the show today: “Ginni Thomas pressed 29 Ariz. lawmakers to help overturn Trump’s defeat, emails show” from The Washington PostThe official statement from Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera regarding defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio’s comments“U.S. to lift covid testing requirement for fliers entering the country” from The Washington Post“Meta Scrutinizing Sheryl Sandberg’s Use of Facebook Resources Over Several Years” from The Wall Street Journal“States are adding a new requirement for high school graduation: financial literacy” from Marketplace“At this point in the pandemic, will there be a market for the Novavax vaccine?” from Marketplace“Car buffs want to turn classic rides into EVs. These Southern California businesses are making it happen.” from Marketplace“New EU rule will require all phones and electronics to use a standard charger” from CNN“See Taco Bell’s new floating restaurant that delivers tacos from the sky” from CNN Are you keeping an eye on the Jan. 6 hearings? Send us an email with your thoughts or questions at makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voice message at (508) 827-6278 or (508) U-B-SMART.
A big “huh?” moment in crypto regulation
10-06-2022
A big “huh?” moment in crypto regulation
This week, U.S. Sens. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York introduced a bill to regulate cryptocurrencies. Then, they went on TV pumping up bitcoin. We’ll explain why that’s not cool, starting with the fact that, according to her financial disclosures, Lummis is a big-time crypto investor. Consult your own financial advisers, and think twice before investing in crypto via your retirement account. Plus, tonight’s Jan. 6 committee hearings are this generation’s Watergate moment. Will you be watching? And, are UFOs real? NASA wants to find out. Here’s everything we talked about today: Sens. Lummis and Gillibrand pumping up bitcoin on Twitter“First Open Testimony Before January 6 Committee” from C-SPANFourth Amendment | Resources | Constitution Annotated | Congress.gov | Library of Congress“Supreme Court Makes Federal Officials ‘Absolutely Immunized’ From Personal Lawsuits” from Government Executive“The Supreme Court gives lawsuit immunity to Border Patrol agents who violate the Constitution” from Vox“NASA Starts a Scientific Study to Find Out if UFOs Exist” from BloombergFact Sheet: Biden Administration Announces Operational Plan for COVID-19 Vaccinations for Children Under 5 | The White House We’d love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about today’s show or anything else that’s on your mind. You can reach us at makemesmart@marketplace.org and (508) 827-6278 or (508) U-B-SMART.
America’s housing crisis is bananas
08-06-2022
America’s housing crisis is bananas
This country had a problem with housing before the pandemic. But it got real bananapants in the midst of it. A large part of why we’re in this mess comes down to supply and demand. There’s just not enough homes to go around, which is driving up prices. Housing prices are up 20% from last year, and experts say we need up to 6.8 million units to meet demand. So if it’s a supply problem, why can’t we just build more homes? “Builders like to talk about the three L’s that go into housing: land, labor and lumber. And all of those things are harder to get. And more expensive,” said Amy Scott, a senior correspondent at Marketplace who covers housing. On today’s show: Amy explains how we got here and why solving the housing shortage is a lot more complicated than it sounds. In the News Fix, as the Jan. 6 committee prepares for public hearings this week, authorities continue to make arrests in connection with the attack on the Capitol. Plus, we’re talking stagflation. Then, we’ll hear from an educator who is rethinking the teaching profession. And, who knew so many of you loved popcorn?! Here’s everything we talked about today: “In addressing the housing shortage, we might need to rethink the way housing policy works” from Marketplace“There’s never been such a severe shortage of homes in the U.S. Here’s why” from NPR“The U.S. Housing Market Has Peaked” from The Atlantic“Explainer: Hundreds charged with crimes in Capitol attack” from the Associated PressUvalde teacher speaks out from ABC News“World Bank Warns of Stagflation Risk, Cuts Global Growth Forecast to 2.9%” from The Wall Street Journal When you’re done listening, send us your answer to the “Make Me Smart” question. We’re at makemesmart@marketplace.org and (508) 827- 6278 or (508) U-B-SMART.
Can America fix its gun problem?
31-05-2022
Can America fix its gun problem?
After the massacre in Uvalde, Texas, it’s easy to feel discouraged about guns in America because we’ve been here before, and little has changed. But one person who remains hopeful in times like these is Dr. Garen Wintemute. He heads the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis, and has been studying gun violence for decades. “Violence is a health problem,” he said. “It kills more people than motor vehicle injuries. And, yes, I’m constitutionally hopeful. But my hope is born out of having done this for 40 years.” On the show today, Wintemute walks us through some of the policies that could make a real difference, from “red flag” laws to universal background checks, and discusses why this time could be different despite the gun control gridlock in Washington. In the News Fix, the nation’s highest court is going to great lengths to find the person who leaked the draft opinion on overturning Roe v. Wade. Plus, if you’re tired of paying high gasoline prices, get used to it. We’ll explain why. Then, listeners sound off on Uvalde, and we all get smart about bourbon! Here’s everything we talked about today: “Heavily outspent, gun control groups still press their case” from Marketplace“The two paths Congress could take on gun control” from Vox“Meet the Doctor Who Gave $1 Million of His Own Money to Keep His Gun Research Going” from ProPublica“What research shows on the effectiveness of gun-control laws” from The Washington Post“Exclusive: Supreme Court leak investigation heats up as clerks are asked for phone records in unprecedented move” from CNNEU’s Ban on Russian Oil Adds Stress to Region’s Economies from The Wall Street Journal