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Omicron hits small business
Jan 13, 2022
Episode 579

Omicron hits small business

And Biden's got to rethink his vaccine mandate.

It’s our first Hollowed Out Shell of a Thursday of 2022. Let’s dive in. Today we talk about how small business has fared during this wave of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. We also discuss the Supreme Court’s response to President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for large employers and what it means. Plus, an update on the situation at the Ukraine-Russia border and new charges against some of the Jan. 6 Capitol rioters. And some fishy Make Me Smiles. Stay tuned to the end because Kai finally gives us his most played songs of 2021.

Here’s everything we talked about on the show:

Make Me Smart January 13, 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.

Kai Ryssdal: Very interesting. Okay. We’ll work it into the end, we’ll work it into the end.

Marielle Segarra: All right. I’m Marielle Segarra. Welcome back to Make Me Smart. Where we make today make sense. We were just about to hear Kai Rysddal’s top listened to songs of last year but saved by the bell.

Kai Ryssdal: Wow. Saved by the bell. Yes. I’m Kai, thanks for joining us. It is Hollowed Out Shell Thursday, although honestly and maybe this is just because it’s early in the year and I had a good night’s sleep last night. I don’t know. I’m not really all that hollowed out today. But you know, we’ll see how things stand 15 minutes from now. A little bit of news, a little bit of Make Me Smile, and then we are on our way. I don’t know how you’re feeling. You feeling you feel on hollowed out or normal?

Marielle Segarra: I feel okay. Honestly a little hollowed out today. To be honest. Yeah.

Kai Ryssdal: Really? All right. Okay.

Marielle Segarra: That’s not the norm for me. So I feel – yeah. But yeah, it’s okay. It’s all this news, honestly.

Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, there is a lot of news. All right. So let’s just dig in. And none of this is extraordinarily unheard of news. It’s all big news items. But I got a couple of things I want to say number one, of course. Today the Supreme Court blocked the – that’s not the vice president– it’s the president’s vaccine or test rule. They blocked a key part of it that part that would have been instituted by OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The court basically said, “OSHA can do a lot but this is too broad a mandate.” The justices did let stand the ruling on health care workers about 10 million health care workers. But here’s what I want to point out about the OSHA decision. So the Supreme Court said OSHA swung too big a stick, right, they tried to do too big a mandate that was not in their purview. And it was a 6-3 vote as you might have expected. And as you probably heard, here’s the key part, though. The Supreme Court did not say that there are no other agencies that can put into place, test or vaccinate mandates on the American workforce. So if OSHA can’t do it, then perhaps others can and that’s a key part of this thing. The court basically said you didn’t do it right. Which they said to the Trump administration, a lot specifically on some of the immigration rules. So I think if the Biden administration smart, they’re gonna have another whack at this, and come back. We’ll see where that one goes. Number two –

Marielle Segarra: That’s interesting.

Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, I mean, look, the Trump administration got whacked by the Supreme Court a lot for just doing stuff, right, as President Trump did. And then they came back and they eventually got what they wanted in immigration, mostly. So there’s that. Number two: 18 US Code 2384. I’ll save you the lookup, it is seditious conspiracy. It’s obviously the head of the Oathkeepers and some others being indicted by a federal grand jury for the attacks on January 6 on the Capitol using 18 USC 2384, which is seditious conspiracy, that is to say, conspiring to, in the very large sense of the word, overthrow the government, United States. I think that’s interesting, because one of the things that those on the right have been saying is, well, look, if you guys think it was sedition, insurrection, why hasn’t anybody been charged, and now they’ve been charged. So we’ll see where this one goes. … And then lastly, this is from yesterday, but it really caught me up short this morning when I was listening to it as I was walking the dogs, The Daily from the New York Times, and I’ve  commented on The Daily on this podcast before and some of the issues I have with a certain host of that program. But anyway, David Sanger, their national security correspondent, one of them anyway, was on today talking to whoever was sitting in for the host who shall not be named. And it was about what’s going on in Ukraine with Russia and something that Sanger said and Sanger has been around the block a lot for the Times, he’s been there for like 35 or 40 years. One of the things he said caught me up short, they were talking about what Vladimir Putin might do if these things don’t work out. And Putin decides to send forces into Ukraine. And what Sanger said was, look, Putin’s only got a really narrow window because he’s got all this armor, that is to say tanks and armored personnel carriers, massed on the Ukrainian border. And that ground is not yet frozen. It will be frozen for about a month or six weeks, and then it’s going to turn to mud again. So Putin if he’s going to move all this armor across the border has to do it relatively soon, and he’s got a really small window and that just got me up short because when you talk about moving masked armor across borders in Europe, that brings certain other things to mind and go listen to it. David’s really smart, and you can learn a lot and anyway, that’s it. It’s The Daily from Yesterday, that’s my whole news spiel.

Marielle Segarra: Yeah, I haven’t heard that one yet. I’ll have to listen to it.

Kai Ryssdal: It’s good. It’s really good.

Marielle Segarra: Mine has to do, mainly with your first story. I mean, I think the vaccine mandate is the biggest story of the day. But then everything related to that. I mean, the Census Bureau just put out a survey of small businesses. They do it, I guess, every week, and it showed that small businesses saw a 33% drop in revenue last week, which is pretty huge. And it’s the biggest drop since last year, like February. And it’s about Omicron. Because even though it is apparently milder, it also, if you get it, you have to stay home from work. So restaurants have had to shut down for temporarily or factories or whatever. So it’s just it’s grinding everything to a halt again. And that’s the problem. Teachers, like they need substitute teachers, you know, all of it.

Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, totally. This is anecdotal. And it’s very first world problem ish. But two Starbucks close to me, have been closing at three o’clock every day, because they don’t have staff to manage all the shifts.

Marielle Segarra: Wow.

Kai Ryssdal: Yeah.

Marielle Segarra:  Yeah. It says something for sure. I mean, there was already a shortage of workers or businesses weren’t willing to pay enough to attract workers. But yeah, now it’s like, they can’t even they can’t even stay open.

Kai Ryssdal: For sure. For sure.

Marielle Segarra:  It just kind of feels like what what now? I think that’s what put me in the hollowed out place today. Like, what – what are we? What are we doing? Like?

Kai Ryssdal: Although I’m sure you saw and I’m sure you follow this stuff. Because you live right there, in the heart of it. You’ve seen the curves in the charts that show the peak in New York has now passed. And you guys are on the downward slope, as it were. And  I don’t know how closely you follow the the poop surveys out of Boston, but you know, they’ve been measuring the virus in poop. And that’s way down to. So things are getting better. Right?

Marielle Segarra: Well good.

Kai Ryssdal: It’s still messy out there. But things are getting better. So there you go.

Marielle Segarra: Yeah, it seems to be moving faster than the last time around in this way. Yeah.

Kai Ryssdal: There you go.

Marielle Segarra: Alright. Maybe we smile now?

Kai Ryssdal: Charlton, hit it. Alright, mine I saw earlier this morning, and it stuck with me all day. And I just want to – I’m not going to actually play the audio because I’m not that mean. But I might just hum it for you. Doo, doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo. You’re welcome for the ear worm. On CNNToday, I saw this Baby Shark that song, which was everywhere two years ago, a year and a half whatever it was, is now the first and only video to reach 10 billion views on YouTube. Which is just insane. That is more people on the planet have watched this.

Marielle Segarra: That is wild. I hate it. And I love it at the same time.

Kai Ryssdal: Exactly. Exactly.

Marielle Segarra: I mean do you remember that time I did a spot and I sang a little bit of it. That was one of my shining moments I think.

Kai Ryssdal: I do. I do.

Marielle Segarra: Really put myself out there. Um, well, that’s cool. I mean, I was looking today for a Make Me Smile. And eventually, Marissa Cabrera sent me something good. But first I was feeling like I said, kind of hollowed out. And I just thought about something I used to do early pandemic, when things are really bad, and just, I just sit or walk around the park and name three things that I’m grateful for. And it really does make you if not smile, it brings me some peace. So I just thought, I’m going to tell you the three things that I was grateful for today. And you can share them too.

Kai Ryssdal: That’d be great, what are they?

Marielle Segarra: If you want. I thought my health also, I’m grateful for my work. This week was super engaging, like I did a couple interviews that were really meaningful and deep and this show like I really like doing the show.

Kai Ryssdal: We should tell people what you’re doing because you haven’t been you haven’t been on Marketplace with the morning show for a while now.

Marielle Segarra: I know. Yeah. So I’ve been doing a few months on the On Demand on the podcast team and working on This Is Uncomfortable doing a little editing for them and working on an episode of my own. And that’s one of the interviews I did for next season of TIU. And then I’m also working on a story for broadcast that sort of came out of a TIU submission and I did that. That’ll be on your show. Actually did that interview on Monday, it was like three hours. It was really great, about paid family leave. And yeah, so that I felt really engaged with work this week. And I’m feeling grateful for the sunshine I’m about to get because I’m coming to LA for a week, flying tomorrow.

Kai Ryssdal: Oh, are you? Nice, nice, nice.

Marielle Segarra: Yeah. Yeah.

Kai Ryssdal: Excellent. That’s excellent.

Marielle Segarra: What about you?

Kai Ryssdal:  Alright, so we’ve got  – what am I thankful for? What am I thankful for? Well, so my health and the fact that my family has recovered its health since the Coronavirus came to our house over the Christmas holidays. Yeah, that’s kind of where I am right now. I’m happy that I’m healthy. And I’m thankful that I’m healthy.

Marielle Segarra: Good.

Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, put me on the spot, man.

Marielle Segarra: I’m sorry.

Kai Ryssdal: Maybe next time you’re on with me. I’ll come back with the things I’m thankful for. But but you know, but that like that’s a good exercise. That’s good exercise, right. And look regular listeners of the podcast  know that I’m not the most introspective of people. So maybe that forgives me not being able to come up with what I’m thankful for. But I’ll um, I’ll figure it out.

Marielle Segarra: I’m sure you’ve got plenty.

Kai Ryssdal: I do. Yeah, I do. Alright, let us move on before this becomes Kai’s therapy session, shall we?

Marielle Segarra: 

Ha ha. Yeah.

Kai Ryssdal: All right, good. Well, what else?

Marielle Segarra:  The other the other one I have is that Marissa Cabrera sent me was that now fish can drive apparently. There’s some study that’s the –

Kai Ryssdal: 

Oh this is the gold fish I saw this the other day.  Yes, totally. Totally it’s crazy.

Marielle Segarra: They’re like in a tank that’s on wheels and they figured out how to direct it so that they could get to like the food pellet that they want it’s kind of amazing and apparently they’re not the only animals that can drive so it’s it makes me smile but it also freaks me out a little bit because if fish can drive what’s next?

Kai Ryssdal: Like monkeys knowing how to drive cause they’re close and all this. But goldfish knowing how to drive that freaks me out a little bit. A little bit. All right, we’re going out with that image of goldfish driving. We are done for today, I’m back tomorrow. Kimberly’s here economics on tap take a little break from the YouTube livestream for a month or so by the way we got things going on training new people, all that good stuff. The podcast, however, is still happening. We’ll have drinks. We will play half full half empty all of that good stuff. So we hope you can listen in.

Marielle Segarra: Yeah, and meanwhile keep sending your questions comments, make me smiles. things you’re grateful for to makemesmart@marketplace.org. Or leave us a voice message at 508-UB-SMART.

Kai Ryssdal: Charlton Thorp right there with it. Knows his cue. Make me smart is produced by Marissa Cabrera. Marque Green helps out too. Today’s episode was engineered by Charlton Thorp. Masterful

Marielle Segarra:  Bridget Bodnar is the senior producer and the director of On Demand is Donna Tam. Oh, what was your top Spotify song?

Kai Ryssdal:  Here you go. Here you go. Alright, so from the top. “One More Second” by Matt Berninger, who’s with the National. “Girls Go Wild,” which is a great song that my son introduced me to. Bill Evans, “My Foolish Heart.” He’s a pianist from a long time ago. “Rome” by Dessa. She’s the one who did, “Who’s Yellen Now” for us. “Bloodbuzz Ohio” from the National. “So What” with John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and then some other stuff. So that’s the top four or five. There you go.

Marielle Segarra:  It’s a good list.

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The team

Marissa Cabrera Senior Producer
Bridget Bodnar Senior Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Marque Greene Associate Producer