On this edition of Economics on Tap, we’ll get into the whiplash that some parents experienced today after the Food and Drug Administration reversed course on when it might authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids under 5. Plus, more news from the border of Ukraine as President Joe Biden advises Americans in the area to leave as soon as possible. And to kick off the weekend, we’ve got a round of our favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty, featuring electric trucks, members of Congress trading stocks and a puzzling choice over augmented snacks.
Here’s everything we talked about on the show today:
- FDA to Take More Time Reviewing Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine in Young Children from The Wall Street Journal
- As with vaccines, equity becomes issue with COVID-19 medicines from the Los Angeles Times
- NATO warns of danger in Russia-Ukraine crisis, Biden tells Americans to leave now from The Washington Post
- Congress looks to ban lawmakers from trading individual stocks from Marketplace
- There’s high demand for electric trucks, but little supply from Marketplace
- Streaming services continue to dominate Oscar nominations from Marketplace
- Megan Thee Stallion’s new video will debut on a Cheeto from Fast Company
If anything makes you smile over the weekend, or if you have questions or comments, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or leave us a voice message. We’re at 508-827-6278 (508-UB-SMART. )
Make Me Smart February 11, 2022 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.
Meghan McCarty Carino: There it is.
Kimberly Adams: Yay. I hear the music. Hello everyone. It’s Kimberly Adams, welcome back to Make Me Smart where we try, as usual, to make today make sense.
Meghan McCarty Carino: And I am Meghan McCarty Carino, so happy to join you Kimberly for this very special economics on top Friday the day we kind of do a little happy hour thing and today it’s a special one, because it’s our first YouTube stream of the year. We took a little hiatus from YouTube and we are back now.
Kimberly Adams: Yes, we are back and I can see you and you look great. And I can also see everyone chiming in in the YouTube chat and on Discord and thank you so much for for joining us and being patient while we took our little break and I’m happy to see everybody online. Which leads to the very important question for economics on tap, which is what are you drinking? Meghan, go!
Meghan McCarty Carino: I have made a Meyer lemon and ginger shrub. I actually did not make the shrub. I got the mix for Christmas from my Aunt Debbie. But you know for those who are unacquainted with shrubs, they’re a vinegar-based drink. I added some fennel bitters into mine, which might have been a mistake, but um, but it’s it’s delicious and refreshing beverage. What are you drinking?
Kimberly Adams: I am also having something a little herby, spicy. Someone wrote in earlier in the week about having a bourbon, you know, at this time of day everyday so I decided to get try out a different kind of bourbon. So I have some brown sugar bourbon with cinnamon flavors and caramel. And I use that as a base with pomegranate juice and ginger ale. And so now I have this.
Meghan McCarty Carino: We both have a new ginger themes.
Kimberly Adams: Ginger-y, Kind of spicy.
Meghan McCarty Carino: Spicy. Yeah. We’re in the same universe.
Kimberly Adams: Alright, let’s see what we have in the chats. I see. Yes. Meghan is in her pantry. Tamara wants to know.
Meghan McCarty Carino: That’s right. It’s where the magic happens here at the McCarty Carino abode and got some San Marzano tomatoes in here, giant thing of teriyaki sauce.
Kimberly Adams: Well, we know that you’re eating well over there. And people want to know how Kai’s knee is doing. Kai is recovering well, and he’s been Tweeting and Slacking. So I’m sure he’s all right. But let us get to the news. Meghan, why don’t you go first, because you have something that has been blowing up the group chats and the Twitters all day.
Meghan McCarty Carino: Right. So today, we got news that the FDA is delaying a meeting that they were going to do next week to consider the Pfizer vaccine for children under five, hotly anticipated by many, many parents. So they won’t consider the Pfizer vaccine until they get more data from a third shot, which probably won’t come until April. And you know, we’ve known for some time that the two dose regimen, it didn’t exactly produce the immune response that Pfizer was hoping for sort of commensurate to, you know, what they saw in older kids. And they were going to try a third dose on top of that, but the FDA had asked them to still submit their data and see if maybe, you know, maybe it was effective enough that it would warrant some kind of preliminary approval, so they could kind of start getting it out there. You know, as as soon as possible. And then down the line, add the third dose to the recommendation. But that’s not going to happen. In fact, actually the data had originally showed that it it did seem to work for the zero to two group, but it was the two to four group that they did not see the response. And so now they’re waiting for data on the third shot. And yeah, parents kind of upset, not necessarily, you know, at the FDA for for making this decision. But I mean, parents of young children have been waiting for a long time anxiously to get their kids vaccinated. I think in my Twitter feed, it was crazy. Two tweets in a row said the exact same thing from two totally different people in my in my feed. They both said something like, “that sound you hear is the collective scream of millions of parents,” because this has just been so I mean, you know, we’re at this moment, I think where the discussion has really turned to moving on, you know, things are looking up in the Omicron cases and, you know, a lot of you know, the kind of discourses we’ve been hearing “I’m vaccinated and done” well, there’s this group of kids that cannot be vaccinated and done and their parents are very much not done. And so this is just prolonging this sort of, you know, anxieties and disruptions that that this has caused for, for so many parents, during this pandemic, at, you know, least until April. Moderna, probably also going to submit some data not sure when that’s going to happen. But yeah, got a few, a few more months to go. And I mean, I want to do make clear that the risk in this age group in these very young children is very small, probably comparable to the risk of other respiratory viruses, like the flu, actually probably lower than the risk of RSV, in very young children. But you know, when it comes to our children and children in general, we definitely, we weigh those kinds of risks very differently, we should weigh those risks differently when it comes to kids. And this is kind of just more, more worrying for those parents.
Kimberly Adams: Yeah, I think we have this situation where, yeah, regulators are just being so careful with this, the vaccines are controversial enough as they are, they want to really make sure they dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s with this, but it’s still a letdown for parents who have just been really suffering, honestly.
Meghan McCarty Carino: Yeah, there was some good news from the FDA though, today. And that was that they approved a new monoclonal antibody, which is effective against Omicron, there had been only one of the previously approved monoclonal antibodies that was effective against Omicron. And it was in really short supply. So adding this other tool to the toolbox of therapeutics, I think is, is just one more step in sort of letting things you know, get back to a more normal state. Because, you know, even even with vaccinations, when we have variants like Omicron, and who who knows whatever is going to come next, you know, infection is still going to be an issue. And for those who are at risk, immunocompromised people, or in this case, you know, kids who can’t be vaccinated, still, it’s great to have these these tools there, you know, as a backstop, to know that they can avert the worst outcomes. These are still in in really short supply. And you know, it’s going to take some ramping up of the supplies to, to be able to really make a difference. And I mean, honestly, it’s really hard to find out how to get monoclonal antibodies. I have a, you know, someone in my family who I looked into when Omicron started, you know, how, if they need it, how to get it. And it’s really complicated. It’s really not easy to figure out, if you don’t have a doctor basically just refer you how to get these things. So that’s, that’s another issue. But what are you watching?
Kimberly Adams: Yeah. Well, I mean, I think like many people in Washington, I’m watching what’s happening in Russia, the United States is warning that Russia could be invading Ukraine, potentially at any minute, and that Americans in the country should get out. And, you know, Ukraine is saying that they’re surrounded on all sides by enemies. It’s one of these things that I’m going to be watching over the weekend. I think a lot of people are but at the risk of getting too deep in – it’s not hollowed out shell Thursday, and I don’t want to get too deep into it. So I’m going to bring up something that brought me great joy this week, which is that we got the first real photos from the NASA James Webb Space Telescope. And they’re really cool. So it’s really like a photo of one star like 18 times as they were, you know, checking out the various mirrors to see how it looked. And also a selfie of the telescope out in space. Yeah, the telescope. Well, it wasn’t the telescope that took a selfie. It was one of the instruments on the telescope that took the picture of it. So you know, kind of sort of a selfie but very cool and you should definitely look for the photos and and bring yourself a little whimsy.
Meghan McCarty Carino: What do the photos look like? I haven’t – I wasn’t able to look them up.
Kimberly Adams: It looks like a constellation like if you didn’t know it was one star 18 times you think it was like a group of stars, but it’s just the same star just from a lot of different angles, but it looks pretty it looks like a constellation.
Meghan McCarty Carino: I can imagine.
Kimberly Adams: It’s nice.
Meghan McCarty Carino: Beauty of the universe.
Kimberly Adams: All right. Yes. Okay. Um, let’s see. We did that. I guess now it’s time to play a game. All right, this is Half Full/Half Empty with our lovely host, the one and only Drew Jostad. Hey, Drew.
Drew Jostad: Hi, Kimberly, are you half full or half empty on Congress banning lawmakers from trading individual stocks?
Kimberly Adams: All the way full. Honestly, because we have to do it they should too. I remember when I got this job, I had to sell off all of my individual stocks. And every so often I look at the companies I used to hold. I’m just like, oh, oh, it hurts my heart. But um, yeah, I think it just really presents a bad look.. And, and, and, you know, the Democrats, particularly Nancy Pelosi seem to be coming around to it. Once they heard, I guess, from some constituents about how they feel. What do you think Meghan?
Meghan McCarty Carino: Absolutely, same, I’m gonna use this new option of 100% full. I mean, this just seems like something that that should have happened. You know, I mean, to, to go back to the beginning of the pandemic, when we heard, you know, Congress, people were invested in, you know, all of these stocks that went crazy because of the pandemic, at the time, when, you know, government officials were kind of trying to calm people’s nerves. It was just these kinds of things do not look very good. And they are not, in fact, good. And so this seems to make a lot of sense. And I’m all the way full on it.
Kimberly Adams: We’re getting a lot of all the way fulls on Discord, lots of people saying they’re full on in the YouTube chat, saying they’re full on, you know, Congress not trading stock, but bringing up a very good point. Robert, brings up, “What about their spouses and their children?” And so what do you do about that, which is a really good point, and other folks are maybe less full about this actually, passing. So oh, by the way, Drew, everyone wants you on camera.
Meghan McCarty Carino: The mysterious Drew. We want to see.
Drew Jostad: I’ve heard that one before, are you half full or half empty on electric pickup trucks?
Kimberly Adams: All the way full on the concept, like, all the way empty on anybody getting one anytime soon.
Meghan McCarty Carino: I’m, I’m gonna say I’m half full, but it’s definitely a half to that full. It’s, you know, trucks, and sort of, you know, recreational vehicles have become more and more popular trucks are the most, you know, popular make in the US. And it’s obviously not great to have Americans buying large vehicles and fueling them with fossil fuels. So fueling, you know, fueling them with renewable energy and no tailpipe emissions is definitely a good thing. I think often, when we talk about electric cars, as a panacea for all of the issues, that’s not a great thing. And also, it’s not just about using different sources of power or cleaner, you know, power, it’s also about using less power. And so sort of harnessing the power of electric vehicles to just, you know, make make bigger and bigger cars, just because they don’t have tailpipe emissions doesn’t mean that they don’t necessarily have any effect. And there are all kinds of externalities of having large vehicles, the rate of pedestrian deaths has been going up for for many years. You know, our built environments are not necessarily benefiting from having more large vehicles. So that part I’m less enthusiastic about, but I gotta say, the Rivian truck looks pretty nice. Looks pretty cool. And I would love to take a test drive in that baby.
Kimberly Adams: And for those who haven’t heard the story, the reason I was all the way empty on getting one is because we had a story on marketplace earlier this week, about the you know, supply chain shortages, and also the unexpected demand. People being really unable to get these things even if they want them and look as somebody who grew up in Missouri, people are going to have big cars like my mother, you know, drove effectively a boat for the longest thing around the city of St. Louis. And she has since downsize to a smaller boat-sized car but still that is what she is going to do. And if I can get her in a hybrid or an electric vehicle, it lessens the harm. And there are tons and tons of people who really do need a hard working vehicle and you know, even if it’s at the margins, it’s a thing. And let’s see someone else made an interesting comment. Okay, I lost it unless they roll over. Yeah. Next.
Meghan McCarty Carino: This kind of mainstreams, electric vehicles in a way that’s really positive. So they’re not necessarily being sold as green vehicles, you know, for eco conscious people like these are all purpose vehicles that you can use for all the things that you would use any other car for. And so I think in that way, it’s a really big step to have this class of vehicles be electrified.
Kimberly Adams: Okay.
Drew Jostad: Okay, with the Oscar nominations coming out this week, are you half full or half empty on the increasing domination of streaming services?
Kimberly Adams: Aww, you got a tech story in. What do you think Meghan?
Meghan McCarty Carino: But I want to know your opinion first, Kimberly, since you’re expert, I’m gonna hedge and wait for yours well.
Kimberly Adams: So look, we did this interview on Marketplace Tech earlier this week about how the streaming services are dominating the Oscars and how it’s mainly because a lot of these sort of Oscar bait movies, these thoughtful introspective dramas that tend to win often aren’t necessarily big theatrical pulls, especially in the pandemic, but they do great on streaming services. And so the streaming services like, we will take all of those movies and push them out to our millions and millions and tens of millions of subscribers, and get a return on it. Whereas the big studios are like, eh, that may not be worth it for us. So I’m gonna go half full on streaming services, but I don’t think old Hollywood is ready to just roll over and take it.
Meghan McCarty Carino: Yeah, I mean, I’m half full, mainly because then I can watch the movies from the comfort of my living room, which I very much appreciate. But I too have, I have noted, when did this happen two years ago, three years ago that they started to let go, I guess it was they were allowing some that also had a theatrical release, but like Netflix. So I have noticed, I feel like that the movies have become a little bit more sort of personal movies rather than those kind of big tentpole movies that you would see from the studios that used to sort of fill out the roster of Oscar nominations. And I personally like that. I generally don’t like those big blockbuster kind of glossy, you know, Academy Awards movies that this that the studio’s put out as much as the personal movies that I think streaming is finding audience on streaming, and sort of showing that you can find an audience for these kinds of movies. That being said, I don’t know that I’ve seen any of the Oscar nomination movies that are being bandied about so far. So I’m pretty, I’m pretty much in the dark there.
Kimberly Adams: I’ve recognized when sort of prepping for that story and doing the interview that I’ve bifurcated in my mind how I want to see movies, and it’s more of a conscious decision of this as a movie I want to see on the big screen like “Dune.” I wanted to see that in a theater and ended up there with like five other people. And there are other movies and I’m just like, “Nope, I’m just gonna watch this at home.” But yeah, Drew is that – how do you see movies these days?
Drew Jostad: You always ask about hobbies that I don’t really have.
Meghan McCarty Carino: I haven’t seen any movies in the theater.
Kimberly Adams: He’s like “I play, I play music.”
Drew Jostad: Don’t watch a lot of movies. But if I do watch them, they’re at home. I’ll put it that way.
Meghan McCarty Carino: Kimberly, how many times have you gone to the movie theater? Sort of in this pandemic era?
Kimberly Adams: Twice.
Meghan McCarty Carino: Yeah, I haven’t seen any, haven’t seen any movies in the theater.
Kimberly Adams: Not at all?
Meghan McCarty Carino: Not since all this began, no.
Drew Jostad: I am just going to read this next one during the Superbowl Megan thee Stallion will release her new music video through an augmented reality Snapchat filter which projects the video onto a Cheeto or Dorito we should say that the video what are the song was commissioned I believe by Frito Lay. So are you half full or half empty on whatever this is.
Kimberly Adams: I am all the way full on Megan thee Stallion. And so in general and so I’m just going to go full on it. Because I think it’s an interesting use of technology. I think it’s fascinating and I like her as an entertainer and she had a really powerful op ed that she wrote one time about domestic violence and how we speak about women and who is worthy of our sympathy and I’d like her take on body positivity and stuff and so I’m gonna go all the way full. I like Megan the Stallion, Megan thee Stallion,
Meghan McCarty Carino: Right? I mean, I like Megan thee Stallion and I really like her name, too. So I’m gonna go half. But no, I don’t –
Kimberly Adams: And she graduated this year!
Meghan McCarty Carino: I don’t understand any of the words that you put together their Drew there was something about projecting something onto a Cheeto or a Dorito? How have I not heard this, this is really must be important new technology that’s being developed. I mean, of all of this sort of, you know, kind of brand collaborations. This is an intriguing one, I have to say. You know, it’s not like some lame, kind of like, “Oh, she’s wearing a Cheeto shirt” or something like no, this is very deeply involved. And so yeah, I’m getting definitely give it the half full.
Kimberly Adams: I’m loving the YouTube chat Jennifer’s like “I’m old for this newfangled stuff get off my lawn.” Yeah, I understand. It’s understandable. It’s a lot but you know what is if it’s too you can’t be too much if – gosh, I don’t even know the phrase it’s like if you think I’m too much maybe you’re not enough. Alright, that’s it for us today. Although I’m sure Jennifer and everyone complaining in the YouTube chat and Discord are more than enough just as you are. Okay, but that is it for us today make me smart is going to be back on Monday with Kai and Samantha Fields. If you have questions or comments, please email us at email@example.com Or leave us a voice message. We are at 508-827-6278 aka 508-UB-SMART.
Meghan McCarty Carino: Whenever I hear that you be smart. I just always start humming UB40 songs to myselfs, it’s just how old I am. Make Me Smart is produced by Marissa Cabrera and Marque Green. Today’s episode was engineered by Drew Jostad who hopefully we will see on video someday and the senior producer is Bridget Bodnar.
Kimberly Adams: The team behind our game Half Full/Half Empty which we play with such gusto is Steven Byeon, Mel Rosenberg, Emily McCune and the theme music for Half Full/Half Empty was written by the amazing Drew Jostad and the director of on demand is Donna Tam and welcome back Steven!
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