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“The virus is no longer in charge of the economy”
Feb 17, 2022
Episode 603

“The virus is no longer in charge of the economy”

So what does that look like?

Earlier today, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a “next phase” pandemic plan that includes easing restrictions and focusing on prevention and readiness for any future COVID-19 surges. Plus, a couple of shell-shaking climate updates and some auto-related Make Me Smiles to wrap up this Hollowed Out Shell Thursday.

Sign up for the Make Me Smart newsletter (or any other Marketplace newsletter) by Feb. 28 and be entered to win a signed Vintage Kai T-shirt.

Here’s everything we talked about on the show today:

Make Me Smart February 17, 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.

Samantha Fields: Let’s get the whole countdown.

Kai Ryssdal: Charlton Thorp is actually in charge of this entire podcast, people. We say Bridget is, but it’s really Charlton. There we go there we go. Hey everybody. Welcome back to Make Me Smart making today make sense is what we do on this pod.

Samantha Fields: I’m Samantha Fields today is Hollowed Out Shell Thursday, we’re going to share some news stories and some Make Me Smiles and then we’ll all be on our way. Hey, Kai how’s your shell feeling today?

Kai Ryssdal: You know, it’s it’s okay. It’s okay. I went to my knee surgeon this morning. You said you’re good to go. So that’s nice. It’s 72 degrees in sunny here in LA. It’s been raining the past couple of days. So you know? I don’t know. What about you, how are you?

Samantha Fields: Yeah. We got some sun here in New York, too. It was 64. I think today, and sunny so I’m feeling pretty good. And hey, it’s almost Friday.

Kai Ryssdal:  Good. That is awesome. It is it is indeed almost Friday, which is like the best part of anything. All right. Tell you what, why don’t you do your news first.

Samantha Fields: Okay, so I’ve been thinking a lot about two big climate reports we got this week one from NOAA, about sea level rise, and how sea levels they’re projecting are gonna rise a foot in the next 30 years, which is as much as they’ve risen in the last 100 years. So we’re on fast forward now. And then the other big report was published in the journal “Nature” this week. And that was about how the mega drought out west, which has been going on for 22 years now is the worst drought in the last 1200 years. So neither piece of news is good. And both, of course, have huge economic implications. You know, and I’ve been thinking a lot about that, too, you know, for farmers and ranchers out west, you know, no water and not enough water means it’s hard to grow crops, it’s hard to feed your animals. And that has ripple effects for all of us. And when it comes to food supply, and food prices, and then with sea level rise, you know, a huge percentage of the population of this country lives along the coast, something like 40% of people. And a lot of the economic engine of this country is along the coast too. New York alone has something like or produces something like 5% of GDP, LA is up there, too. And a lot of new people are moving into the coasts, we’re building in flood prone areas. And we’re not thinking about this nearly enough, or we’re not doing enough about it.

Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, I think that’s right. I think I think consciousness is is being raised, you know, we’re having to force feed it to some people, but I don’t think it’s, you know, the information is definitely out there. But I think the challenge is doing something about it. And and it’s, you know, it’s the it’s the classic tragedy of the commons, right. I mean, it’s everybody’s problem, but my little tiny bit, is, you know, I’m doing what I can, but how much can I really do? So that’s, it’s  kind of a drag in that regard. Anyway.Yeah. Very bad news.

Samantha Fields: Very bad news. A good way to start out the day, for sure.

Kai Ryssdal: Yes, mine is, well – you know, sometimes what happens on this show, Sam, is you start out in a bad mood, and then you wind up really feeling sort of hollowed out.

Samantha Fields: We bring everybody down?

Kai Ryssdal: Right. Right. You know, there were there were many a Thursday when Molly and me would just man, drive each other well into the dark place. But so here’s my news item. It comes from the governor of the great state of California Gavin Newsom. Who and look, there’s some politics involved with this, I totally get it blue state trying to get out ahead of the direction the populace is going which is being done with this freakin pandemic. But Gavin Newsom today, the governor state of California came out with a plan called, it’s “California Smarter.” It’s a 30 page document. But the upshot is, as Newsom said in an interview, this pandemic is going to this virus rather, is going to be with us for some time, maybe not forever, but for some time, and we’re going to have to learn to live with it. And California now has an official policy of transitioning toward an endemic, which is number one important because California’s biggest state in the union, it is, to my knowledge, the first actual declarative government policy of it’s going to be here forever, and we have to deal with it. And just to bring it back to the Marketplace of this, you know, none of this, the pandemic has not been cheap. And living with an endemic is not going to be cheap, either. But as we approach springtime, as we approach the end of the Omicron surge, and as we approach hopefully a better summer, people are coming to grips with the fact that we’re going to have to live with for a good long while and let’s have some policies and programs and plans and strategies. And that I think is what Newsom has done today, which is good. I’m okay with this.

Samantha Fields: Yeah, it’s interesting. I mean, I do wonder sort of something that you pointed to is how much of this is about public health and science and how much is about public perception and opinion and people being tired of the pandemic? And I’ve been thinking about this a lot as mask mandates have been falling in states and businesses across the country in the last sort of week or so. Just like dominoes and I don’t know it feels hard to tell at this point.

Kai Ryssdal: I think there’s a huge chunk of it sorry, just dropped my phone on the table, there’s a huge chunk of it. That is politicians moving to where the people are, right people are done with this freakin’ thing. And look, there’s some public health data that says, you know, maybe it might be alright to do without masks in this situation or that and if you’ve vaxxed and boosted and this and that, right but people are done and it simply will not work as a political system for politicians to be dragging the populace backwards into a place they don’t want to be that will not get anybody anywhere. And so the politicians are doing what they ought to do, which is following the people and saying, “Hey, look at this. Here we go, we got a plan.” And that’s good. I would just submit that that is a good thing.

Samantha Fields: And I think there’s a lot that’s good about it. Although I do wonder a little bit, you know, if the virus is really done with us, it doesn’t seem like it. So I don’t know, I guess we do have to live with that at some point.

Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, we do. I don’t think the virus is actually done with us. I do think as people who listen to Marketplace’s afternoon will have heard. I do think the virus is not necessarily in complete control of this economy anymore. Is it a factor? Absolutely. Is it the only thing out there? No, it’s not right. There are other things driving this economy now other than the virus. And that look, I think you have to consider that progress. I think you do.

Samantha Fields: I think so too. For sure.

Kai Ryssdal: Alright. Okay, so, moving on. Very quick pitch here. If you like what we have to say what we have to do. You’ll probably also like our newsletter, we’re doing a giveaway. I think I mentioned this yesterday for people who sign up for the Make Me Smart newsletter or in fact, any marketplace newsletter, you can get yourself a chance to win a signed t-shirt. That’s the one with me on it. From back in the day when I was young and in uniform and driving cool cars instead of old and in khakis and a sweatshirt and driving a minivan.

Samantha Fields: Maybe a picture of that too, Kai. That’s the next one.

Kai Ryssdal: That’s right. That’s right. That’s the next t-shirt. Oh my God save me…

Samantha Fields: I’m ready for that. So if you’re interested in that, you just have to sign up by February 28. Go to marketplace.org and click the banner at the top of the page we’ll also include a link in the show notes.

Kai Ryssdal: I have one of those t-shirts with me on it. By the way my kids told me I cannot wear it. And so it is in the bottom of my drawer. They’re like “Dad, that’s weird. You can’t wear a picture of you on your t-shirt. That’s just weird.”

Samantha Fields: What about them? Will they wear a picture with you on it?

Kai Ryssdal: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. Okay, so here’s mine. And it comes from thedrive.com. Okay, there is a cargo ship in the middle of the freakin’ Atlantic Ocean that is on fire and adrift. And it’s full of 4000 Porsches and Volkswagens. Oh, Bentley’s as well. All kinds of fun cars. No, come on. 4000 cars in the middle of the ocean on a ship that’s on fire. And adrift. It’s lost propulsion, the crew of 22 has been evacuated, which is good. But oh my goodness. I just I could not even could not even. Yeah, so it’s 189 Bentley’s unspecified number of Audi’s it’s just yeah, yeah. It’s crazy.

Samantha Fields: It’s pretty wild. And also what a time for that to happen when there’s already not enough cars to go around. Although I don’t know if that’s true for luxury cars.

Kai Ryssdal: I don’t know. But look, so there’s 200 Bentley’s. But that means there’s 3800 VW cars and you know, probably mid-range Audi’s that’s not terrible.

Samantha Fields: No, that’s a good one. Mine is also car-related, although it’s about? Well, yes, it’s also car-related, a friend of mine sent me this on Twitter, today, Paris, is moving forward with a plan to not allow cars in the center of the city or through traffic in the center of the city by 2024. And there’s this really cool map that shows the area of Paris, which is probably you know, it’s almost all sort of the center of the city that a lot of tourists at least would be familiar with. And it doesn’t mean no cars at all right there will still be delivery vehicles and emergency vehicles and taxis allowed people who live there can go park at home, but no through traffic, and they’re working on just making it more bike and pedestrian friendly. And I think that’s pretty cool. You know, here in New York, since the pandemic, there’s been all these open streets and, you know, closed to traffic on the weekends, and it’s just made the city feel so much more alive. And the idea of being able to bike around and not get hit by a car is pretty appealing. I think I’d be much more likely to bike in a city with fewer cars.

Kai Ryssdal: Totally. And that’s a, that’s a big chunk of Paris to I’m sorry, I’m just looking at this map, right? It goes from Place de la Concorde and all the way down to the Place de la Bastille. It’s got a little bit of the Left Bank. It’s got Notre Dame and … all those. That’s kind of cool.

Samantha Fields:  It’s really cool. Yeah, so I’m excited to see what they do with it. I guess I have to go to Paris in the next couple of years.

Kai Ryssdal: I was just gonna say we should take the podcast to Paris. Bridget, is that in the budget? No answer.  Kinda kidding. Not kidding. All right, we’re done quickie today I guess didn’t have too terribly much to get down into the glass half empty category here. We’re done. I’m back tomorrow. The glasses will not be empty economics on tap Kimberly and me she’ll have some concoction I will have a beer. First YouTube live stream of the year. See if we can recoup some of that momentum we had join us at 3:30pm our time out here on the West Coast 6:30 in New York at our YouTube channel we are Marketplace APM on that particular channel because I guess we couldn’t get just Marketplace I don’t know.

Samantha Fields: And keep sending your comments and questions especially ones about inflation to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voice message at 508-UB-SMART.

Kai Ryssdal: Inflation please. What do you want to know? Easy questions hard questions we’ll sort them out. And then we’ll get them on the pod. Make Me Smart is produced by Marissa Cabrera with help from Marque Greene. Today’s episode engineered by the guy in charge Charlton Thorp.

Samantha Fields: Bridget Bodnar is the senior producer. The director of On Demand is Donna Tam.

Kai Ryssdal: But Charlton Thorp is really in charge. Sorry, I have to check the Slack channel. Oh, she’s not yelling at me. Oh, there it is. There it is. Emily McCune says Paris,Texas is another lovely destination.

Samantha Fields: Have to check that out too. As soon as they get rid of cars.

Kai Ryssdal: Right? Totally. Oh, look, Donna was here. Oh my goodness.

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The team

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