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Another government showdown?
Jul 24, 2023
Episode 972

Another government showdown?

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Yup, we've seen this one before.

Congress averted a government debt default in June, but can it prevent a government shutdown this fall? Lawmakers are at odds again over spending bills to fund the government next year. Kai and Kimberly will also discuss tips for avoiding doomscrolling while maintaining healthy news consumption. And is Twitter’s new name, “X,” actually owned by Meta? Or maybe it’s Microsoft? Either way, lawyers may have some real lawyering to do.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Got a question about resuming student loan repayments for the hosts? Leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART or email us at makemesmart@marketplace.org.

Make Me Smart July 24, 2023 Transcript

Note: Marketplace podcasts are meant to be heard, with emphasis, tone and audio elements a transcript can’t capture. Transcripts are generated using a combination of automated software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting it.

Kai Ryssdal 

I was born ready y’all let’s hit it!

Kimberly Adams 

Hello, I’m Kimberly Adams, welcome back to Make Me Smart where we make today make sense.

Kai Ryssdal 

I’m Kai Ryssdal. Thank you for joining us, everybody. It is Monday today, the 24th day of July 2023.

Kimberly Adams 

We are going to do some news and then hopefully get you smiling a bit. But first to some news as usual, Kai, what caught your attention today over the weekend?

Kai Ryssdal 

I need you to go first because I’m gonna go on a little rant here when it comes to my turn. You go first and do the actual product that this podcast offers as opposed to a ranty cranky, very sweaty host. So you go first.

Kimberly Adams 

Oh, okay. Well, my first one is a little bit of gloating in a really sad way. Because the thing that I said was going to happen is in the process of actually happening. If you remember, back when they came up with that debt limit deal, and they set the spending levels for, you know, the eventual spending bill. And I said, that’s all well and good up until it gets into the hands of the appropriators who can throw it all out the window if they want to, which is exactly what’s happening right now. This week, the House Republicans started putting out their spending bills for you know, the annual, annual appropriations process. It’s supposed to be done by October. It’s what funds the federal government, this is what usually leads to the partial government shutdowns we’re always talking about because they don’t get done by October. And we end up with the wonderful continuing resolutions that we always end up talking about, anyhow, they when they made that debt limit deal, the Republicans and the Democrats agreed to sort of spending levels of when they wrote the bills, “here’s more or less where the numbers are supposed to land.” But within those parameters, they’re sort, they’re sort of like, I would love to have an less gendered way of saying this, gentleman’s agreement of how those numbers would play out. But now, some of the House Republicans are attaching amendments and other qualifiers to pieces of this legislation to try to roll back abortion changes like for the military, or for access to birth control pills that the FDA approved access to vaccine funding at the WHO. Lots of the different sort of cultural policies that have been in the mix that came up with the defense authorization bill as well, that we talked about on the show a while back, at least on the evening show a while back, those are now getting folded into the appropriations bills, the spending bills, and so we’re still waiting on the Senate to finish up its version of the Defense Authorization Act so that they can fund the military because the House version didn’t go anywhere in the Senate and it won’t. So that’s still up in the air. There’s also now all of these appropriations bills that are going to be much harder to pass than they would otherwise be. And a lot of the Republicans are going to end up fighting against each other when it comes to some of these policies. And in theory, a lot of this needs to be done before they head out on their August recess. That’s going to be interesting to watch. But even more so

Kai Ryssdal 

So like, sorry, doesn’t that start like at the end of the week?

Kimberly Adams

Uh huh.

Kai Ryssdal

I’m happy to play this straight man, that was not a setup. Oh my goodness.

Kimberly Adams 

It’s supposed to, and, but even if it doesn’t get done for the August recess, you know, when they come back from the August recess, they’re gonna have a dead run to finish some of these bills before the funding expires in October, we’re gonna get continuing resolutions to keep government funding at a level, you know, the previous year’s level, but the issue still is like, the parties are so far apart on these issues that it’s hard to see where the compromise is going to come. So it’s going to be relevant, relatively interesting, late summer, early autumn when it comes to getting bills through the house in the Senate. So one of the deals that McCarthy made for the speakership was that he promised that he wasn’t going to let any more of these big omnibus spending bills go through. I don’t know if you remember that? Because a lot of times when they really struggle to get these 12 individual appropriations bills through, they just bundle them all together, there’s stuff that everybody doesn’t like in them, but to get the whole package through, they just put it all together and and everyone complains about how many thousands of pages of spending bill is that nobody knows what’s in it. And this is the narrative all the time. But McCarthy said he wasn’t going to do that, and, you know, regular order that they were going to push these bills through in the traditional way. But that allows these amendments in these processes that allow for the insertion of all these things. And to be fair, this is how the process is supposed to work. It really is. But you know, it’s just really polarized.

Kai Ryssdal 

Yeah, congress, congress has just forgotten how to do it, right. They’ve, they just they haven’t done it this way, in a very long time.

Kimberly Adams 

They haven’t done it this way, in a very long time. And one of the reasons that a lot of the Freedom Caucus members and a lot of the conservative Republicans really pushed for this change is because many members of the House in particular, were being completely left out of the spending bill process and not necessarily allowed to weigh in via committees, because stuff was getting negotiated by leadership. And so now a lot of the power has been returned to the regular membership, but that allows for these sorts of delays and extra stuff added in now. So that will be fascinating to watch. I know I went hardcore D.C. wonkiness there, but it’s important because it matters how the federal government spends our money. The other one is this really interesting study highlighted in the New York Times and elsewhere, that about a study released Monday about elite college admissions. And ever since the, you know, overturning of affirmative action, for college admissions by the Supreme Court, lots of reporters and groups have been looking into other ways that colleges prefer some students over others, and in particular, legacy admissions and things like that. So here’s a big study that was done by Opportunity, Insights, a group of economists based at Harvard, who study inequality, and I’m reading here from New York Times, it “quantifies, for the first time, the extent to which being very rich, is its own qualification in selective college admissions.” And basically, if you are very wealthy, you are something like 2.2 times likelier to get into an elite school, even if your scores are the same. And all other things are held constant. And so let’s see children from families in the top 1%, were 34% more likely to be admitted than the average applicant. And those from the top 0.1% were more than twice as likely to get in. And so it will be fascinating to see how, as schools try to come up with other ways besides affirmative action, to diversify their, you know, applicant pools, how they factor in the sorts of pieces of information now that it’s documented.

Kai Ryssdal 

For sure. For sure.

Kimberly Adams

Alright, rant proceed.

Kai Ryssdal

I will be brief. So I was away, Thursday, Friday, as listeners, hopefully recognized that I was not on podcast. Thank you, Amy Scott. And I went to a 60th birthday party for my college roommate. And he had a bunch of people up to his place in northern Michigan. So first of all, Northern Michigan is gorgeous. And I highly recommend and I’m not just saying this because the director of podcasts at Marketplace is Bridget Bodnar, who bleeds Michigan blue. Not saying it for that reason at all. It is just flat gorgeous up there. I really really enjoyed myself. And if you have the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and get off the grid for 72 hours, I It’s restorative. I cannot recommend it highly enough and I know I say on this podcast a lot. I don’t do the whole self-care thing, this weekend was was a whole lot of self-care. There was a lot of bourbon involved too. But there was a lot of self-care. And it was great. So just really enjoyed that. But here’s the rant. So I unplugged for 72 hours. And I didn’t even check things when I got home last night. And then I picked up, figuratively the newspapers this morning. And you read about Israel in crisis and I’m literally scrolling down the Washington Post homepage, Israel in crisis, “Small-town GOP officials are torn over Biden’s clean energy cash,” “States lose federal water funds as lawmakers redirect money to state to pet projects,” “Job applicants are battling AI resume filters with a hack.” Sorry, flipping to The Wall Street Journal, “FDIC scolds banks for manipulating deposit data,” “Why the Fed isn’t ready to declare victory on on inflation,” And here’s a really terrible one, “Cleaning up ChatGPT takes heavy toll on human workers,” workers in Kenya who were traumatized by efforts to clean up Chad GPT Russia attacks green terminal, I could go on. Oh, wait, sorry, here’s one, “Heart attack rises significantly, risk rises significantly on extremely hot polluted days,” which as we all know, a big chunk of the country is dealing with right now. And it’s it’s the the I don’t get like this a lot. But when I do it really affects me, which is funny because I’m absorbed by the news. And I like knowing what’s going on. The news is is terrible right now. And it’s really debilitating. And so I think everybody should just unplug and go to northern Michigan and hang out with friends from college because oh my lord, it’s terrible. And, and and it can’t continue this way that it just I mean, it will, because the news is the news. And hopefully what we do at marketplace brings better things and more informed of things and doesn’t bog you down with the garbage that you see a lot of other places. But, man, it’s really hard to deal with sometimes. And it just, it smacked me upside the head today when I when I started to get back into the news. And that’s my rant. That’s, that’s really all I want to say.

Kimberly Adams 

No, I agree. It’s, it’s rough. And I’m kind of torn on this whole, like, you got to switch it off and then you know, turn it off at times, because I have a lot of people in my life who are just like the news is too negative, I can’t deal, I just don’t look at the news anymore.

Kai Ryssdal

That’s not what we want.

Kimberly Adams

I know, because that’s also like such a point of privilege. Because you get to do that if you aren’t being directly harmed by the things that the news is covering, if you’re not one of the people forced to work in the heat and at higher risks risk of a heart attack, because of extreme temperatures. If you know, you aren’t losing access to your water, because somebody’s pet project funneled funds away from it. I also was able to escape to the woods this weekend and did some tent camping for like the first time in a decade. And I was very excited about it. And I was particularly excited that I did not step on the copperhead that I almost stepped on while hiking, which was would have been a bad situation. But it was really beautiful. It was very relaxing, it was very peaceful. And I also kind of was hit in the face with all the news. I’m like, “Okay, here we go again.” But I think you’re right, it’s important to step back and, you know, look at something green while it’s still available to and restore with the knowledge that you know, you got to come back to hopefully make things better. Right? Like use that to restore and re-energize so that maybe we can all make the world a better place.

Kai Ryssdal 

Exactly. Exactly. All right, Charlton. Alright, what do you got? Anything?

Kimberly Adams 

Not really, just that I went outside this weekend and went hiking and it was lovely. And that made me smile. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna own that.

Kai Ryssdal 

Awesome. So here is my make me smile. Made me actually laugh a little bit out loud. So if you’ve been following up or listening to Twitter and Elon Musk, you know, he changed the name of the company in his in his further ambitions to absolutely burn $44 billion in a big garbage can in the streets of San Francisco. Outside Twitter headquarters, he’s changed the name of the company to “X”. And he continues to defenestrate that entire company. But Alex Weprin, who now writes on finance and advertising at The Hollywood Reporter, he was at Politico before that, TVNewser and a bunch of places before that he discovered today thanks to a search at the US Patent and Trademark Office, that in point of fact, Meta owns the trademark or the patent or whatever the service mark rather sorry, on the letter “X”. So, okay, I mean, maybe maybe Musk’s lawyers will will you know point out some stylistic differences between Meta’s mark on X and Elon Musk’s mark on X, but it made me laugh out loud. Always got to check the paperwork before you change name of your company that you’re driving into the ground.

Kimberly Adams 

So that’s hilarious because I saw another tweet. And you know, I’m sure the fact checkers will figure out which of these are real, which says that Microsoft owns…

Kai Ryssdal

Oh, oh, that’s great. That’s too funny.

Kimberly Adams

This is well, this one from Andres Guadamuz, I believe @technollama. This is reported in futurism.com that Microsoft owns the trademark for this guy is a intellectual property law professor at the University of Sussex. So regardless, it seems owned by somebody.

Kai Ryssdal 

Look let the lawyers fight it out, baby. The lawyers fight it out, right? I mean, come on. Too good.

Kimberly Adams 

Oh, boy. This is what happens when you fire everyone. All right. That is it for us today. And I do have a smile on my face, that did make me chuckle. We’re gonna be back tomorrow for our weekly deep dive on one of our favorite topics: space. This week, we’re checking in on the James Webb Space Telescope, which has been up and running for about a year now we’re going to talk about how it’s made us smarter about space in it’s first year.

Kai Ryssdal 

Also, later this week, we’re going to answer your questions about the restart of student loan payments. For a lot of people in this country, that is a huge, huge deal. And because it’s a big deal for a lot of people, that’s going to be a big macro-economic deal too, just in terms of consumer spending. So if you’ve got a question about that, or if you’re getting ready to start repaying your student loans, or had things or thoughts about that whole thing, leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART. Email us at makemesmart@marketplace.org And we’ll get your questions on the air or on the phone or whatever one says.

Kimberly Adams 

Make Me Smart is produced by Courtney Bergsieker. Today’s program was engineered by Charlton Thorp. Ellen Rolfes writes our newsletter and our intern is Niloufar Shahbandi.

Kai Ryssdal 

Marissa Cabrera is our senior producer. Bridget Bodnar is the aforementioned director of podcasts, Francesca Levy is the executive director of all of those things that Bridget is a treasurer. And a bunch of other stuff too.

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