“The world’s richest man is a troll”
Jul 8, 2022
Episode 709

“The world’s richest man is a troll”

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Plus, a round of Half Full/Half Empty!

Not to say, “We told you so,” but we saw this coming. Elon Musk announced he’s backing out of an agreement to buy Twitter. What’s Twitter saying? “We’ll see you in court.” The hosts discuss the circus around the deal. Then, why election workers are thinking twice about working the polls this fall. And what’s a Friday show without a round of Half Full/Half Empty? Our hosts weigh in on state tax rebates, eerie green skies, grocery coupons and a possible Pokémon bubble.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

We want to hear from you. Send your thoughts or questions to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voice message at (508) 827-6278 or (508) U-B-SMART.

Make Me Smart July 8, 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.

 

Kimberly Adams: All right. Probably should have a script too, that’s useful. All right. Yeah, yeah, we’ll wing it. Here we go. Hello, everyone. I am Kimberly Adams, and welcome back to Make Me Smart, where none of us is as smart as all of us.

 

Kai Ryssdal: I’m Kai Ryssdal. Thanks for everybody joining us on the YouTube livestream, or the podcast, the discord, take your pick. Economics On Tap is what we do on Friday. We’re gonna talk about the news over drinks. Although I should say – full disclaimer here, I’m drinking water because I have to drive later. So you know, just hydrating.

 

Kimberly Adams: And that is the safe and proper choice. Absolutely. Love that for you. All right. Let’s see what we have. Everybody’s talking about Elon Musk. I can’t see any drinks. All right, here we go. I see some Oban that Ben is drinking, which is a very nice one. And, you know what, I’m having red wine. So since everybody wants to talk about Musk, we may as well just go for it.

 

Kai Ryssdal: Unbelievable. So this afternoon about 2:25 ish LA time it breaks on Twitter via filings with the SEC in a letter that Musk’s lawyer released that he is trying to – and I emphasize the word trying to – trying to get out of his $44 billion signed, sealed and delivered offer to buy Twitter. Now, I believe I’m on the record many, many moons ago on this podcast, saying that this was not going to happen and that he was just bleeping with us. And you know what? I was right! I was right. The richest man in the world is a troll. He’s trolling us. He’s doing it because he can. He’s… I don’t even know what’s going on. But all we’ve gotten out of this is number one, Twitter shareholders have lost a boatload of money. Down another like 10% after hours, right? Some lawyers got really really rich. Media and tech journalists got spun around in about 14 different circles. And that’s where we are. It’s… I don’t know. I mean, God, what a jerk. What a jerk.

 

Kimberly Adams: I have to say there’s a great meme in the discord right now of Stephen Colbert pointing to a giant, “I told you so told you so” sign. Oh, boy, I am so fascinated to see what the SEC does with this – the Securities and Exchange Commission. Because, again, as you said, richest man in the world, army of lawyers, a troll. Like, what are they gonna do? What could you possibly… Let’s just say that they find that he broke the deal, what could you possibly fine him that it would matter?

 

Kai Ryssdal: Right. Right. Right. But look, I don’t think this actually is an SEC matter, unless you get into market manipulation somehow, which is what he has arguably done previously with, you know, going private at $420 and all of that jazz. But here’s the deal. He signed a merger agreement after having waived any due diligence. And his stated rationale in the letter that his lawyer released today is, oh, you didn’t give me the information that I asked you. Well, Mr. Musk, the way it works with due diligence is you do your due diligence, and then you sign the binding merger agreement, okay? And that is why the Chairman of the Board of Twitter tweeted out this afternoon, in essence, we will see you in court, he said. We are confident we will prevail in the Delaware Court of Chancery. The Twitter board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk. We’ll see in court, or you can just give us $44 billion, you know.

 

Kimberly Adams: Nice options. Man, this is gonna be some high legal drama.

 

Kai Ryssdal: Oh my God. And you know, $44 billion, while not chump change, and look, there are problems that Musk was going to have with financing his deal and putting his Tesla shares up and coming up with cash and all this jazz. Fundamentally, it’s only like, like 20% of his net worth. So while not chump change, you know, I don’t know that… I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m just. I’m so irritated. Just a stupid thing to be irritated about.

 

Kimberly Adams: But I got to say, it feels like you’re taking this quite personally.

 

Kai Ryssdal: Well, mostly because I knew this was going to happen. You know? Here’s what bugs me. How to put this, he is flat out a visionary, right? He created the modern electric vehicle market. And that alone could change the world. He could literally change the world by getting us to Mars. He is a visionary, but he’s also an immature, disrespectful, arrogant jerk. I mean, I’m sure I’m getting way off topic here. And this is a rant I didn’t mean to be on. But I’m sure you saw earlier this week that it has been revealed that Mr. Musk fathered twins with one of his employees. Then he goes and tweets, and he says, underpopulation is a real problem, I’m doing my part. And you’re like, what? What? Alright, that’s it. I’m done. Rant over.

 

Kimberly Adams: Well, him and the Supreme Court are working on that. So.

 

Kai Ryssdal: I know right? Yeah. So that’s my news.

 

Kimberly Adams: Yes. My news is very, you know, I’m stuck on the January 6 hearings still, and always. And I am still thinking about those two election workers who testified – I think it was the first day talking about how they’ve been attacked, they had to leave their homes, they’ve been called all sorts of things, and features and fake documentaries, and all of the horrors and traumas that they’ve been through, for trying to do their civic duty and to help our country with our elections. The Associated Press has a story today about how election workers all over the country are resigning, en masse, because of the abuse and the threats and people following them and just trying to do the job. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s almost too much. It’s not what people signed up for. And on the one hand, I get it, and I feel for those people. But on the other hand, I just wonder who’s going to take their place? Because there are a lot of very, very partisan people who are happy to step into those roles, to try to shape the elections in one way or another. And sure, I imagine many other civic minded people who don’t want to unduly influence the elections will step in also. But what happens when we make it impossible for people to even try to do the right thing to help the country? And this was very concerning to me. Annie Rigg in the YouTube chat says I’m scared as an Election Judge, I stay because I need to protect the process. Thanks, Annie.

 

Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, thank you. If you haven’t seen the footage of those two women, it’s amazing. And terrifying and horrifying.

 

Kimberly Adams: We really need a hard pivot. All right, so now it is time for half full half empty, hosted by the one and only, and amazing, Drew Jostad. Hey Drew.

 

Drew Jostad 

Hi, Kimberly, are you half full or half empty on states handing out tax rebates?

 

Kimberly Adams: That’s a tough one. I have given thought to this and I still don’t really know. I’m gonna go half full.

 

Kai Ryssdal: So here’s the deal. Some states… Okay. All right. Sorry.

 

Kimberly Adams: Yeah, you explain it first.

 

Kai Ryssdal: Alright, so here’s what’s happening. Some states – California among them, whose coffers are rich because of a lot of federal aid money, actually, and an upswing in the business cycle – are giving their citizens, their taxpayers, tax rebates. Some of them are inflation protection checks, whatever you want to call it. Californians, depending on income get $1,050. I think in Indiana, it’s like $125, no matter how much you make. The catch, of course, is that doing that could lead to more inflation. That said, people are really hurting. And I think the impact will only be marginal. So I think probably it’s a good thing, so I’ll go half full. With Kimberly.

 

Kimberly Adams: Yeah, that’s kind of where I was landing. It’s like I get the inflationary concerns, but I think that it’s going to mean a lot to people who need it. And, you know, we have ways to counteract the inflationary concerns as we will know. We’re living through it. So, half full.

 

Kai Ryssdal: Yep. Yep.

 

Drew Jostad 

Okay, half full or half empty on the sky over South Dakota turning green.

 

Kimberly Adams: I missed this story, I don’t know this.

 

Kai Ryssdal: But I’m half empty because that can’t possibly be good.

 

Kimberly Adams: Phone a friend, Drew.

 

Drew Jostad 

It’s a freaky weather thing. That’s all I really know.

 

Kimberly Adams: Well, then I’m gonna go half empty because as Kai said, that cannot be good. Unless it’s like the Aurora Borealis went really far south. Oh, wait, is it the Aurora Borealis in the north? Or is it the other one?

 

Kai Ryssdal: Aurora Borealis is in the north, and Aurora Australis is in the South, I do believe.

 

Kimberly Adams: Yes. Thank you. All right.

 

Drew Jostad 

Half full or half empty on coupons?

 

Kimberly Adams: Ah, I care deeply about the story. So basically, coupons are becoming less common, because A) fewer people are getting like a paper newspaper where the coupons are inserted, and many more people are paying with their phones or using discount apps or shopping online. And so coupons are less valuable. Or less common, I should say. Now, as someone who still clips coupons from my paper newspaper every week, I have noticed these trends over the last few years where there are fewer coupons for sure. The coupons are more restrictive In many ways. Instead of it being like a bucket of products, It’s like this one specific product in this specific size. And it tends to only be like the higher end branded products. So you have to really be strategic if you’re going to use them. And then people look at you like you’re crazy if you hand them a coupon. And now I keep getting these notices from the Washington Post that they’re cutting back on coupons. And you know, I get it. And I have also… You know, somebody just said in the YouTube chat, Linda – I clipped coupons and forget to bring them to the store. Me also. But sometimes I do, and I’ll do this strategic thing with like my CVS extra-long receipt coupons, and then my coupons from the newspaper, and I’ll end up with this couponing smorgasbord and have like $40 off my bill and feel very proud of myself.

 

Kai Ryssdal: And awesome for you, actually, because it’s a lot of work to do that stuff. I have some questions, though. Is this a learned habit from your parents? Your mom?

 

Kimberly Adams: Yes. Probably from growing up broke.

 

Kai Ryssdal: Okay. All right. Good. Okay. Yeah. And also, what about digital coupons? Do you not do those?

 

Kimberly Adams: No, I do not. Because I know it’s just data harvesting. So.

 

Kai Ryssdal: Okay, all right. That’s fair.

 

Kimberly Adams: I do my best not to associate my rewards cards with my actual phone number. And I have a couple and I switch them up and, you know, try not to just give away all of my personal shopping data, even though I know it’s probably linked back to my credit card somewhere, but whatever. So no, I don’t use digital coupons. I don’t want people knowing that much of my business. Not that anybody cares.

 

Kai Ryssdal: Fair enough. Fair enough.

 

Kimberly Adams: What about you? Are you half full or half empty?

 

Kai Ryssdal: Oh, I. You know, I don’t. I’m not a couponer. I’m not a couponer.

 

Kimberly Adams: Do you do a lot of the shopping in your house?

 

Kai Ryssdal: I’d say it’s 50/50. Yeah, she cooks a little more than I do. But I think shopping is even Steven.

 

Kimberly Adams: Are you a decent cook at all?

 

Kai Ryssdal: I’ve got like a five-recipe repertoire that I can bang out no problem and to great satisfaction. My wife is a far better cook. Far better.

 

Kimberly Adams: Nice. Nice. All right, what’s next Drew?

 

Drew Jostad 

I’m gonna have to set this one up a little bit. Earlier this year, Logan Paul apparently paid $6 million for a rare Pokémon card. And within the last year, The Pokémon Company has printed 9 billion cards, which is more than double of the previous year. Are you half full or half empty on a Pokémon card bubble?

 

Kai Ryssdal: I saw that story about all those Pokémon cards and all I could think of was my now 21-year-old son at the age of like 6 waking me up on a Saturday morning to play Pokémon with his Pokémon cards. So I’m half empty on anything having to do with Pokémon full stop, burn it all down.

 

Kimberly Adams: So I don’t understand. Somebody bought a very expensive Pokémon card and then they printed more of them?

 

Kai Ryssdal: They are unrelated news

 

Drew Jostad 

They are just sort of orbiting the same Pokémon universe.

 

Kimberly Adams: I’m gonna go – is there a Pokémon bubble? I’m going to go half full, I think. There’s probably a bubble, beanie baby bubble Pokémon bubble. Do you remember Pogs?

 

Kai Ryssdal: That’s probably… Yes yes yes.

 

Kimberly Adams: Pokémon cards and Pogs kind of had the same ascent, and Pokémon came back around I think mostly thanks to Pokémon Go, but also anime getting more popular. But Pogs didn’t survive.

 

Kai Ryssdal: And we are back on Monday. Tuesday we’re going to do a deep dive on the state of labor organizing in this mid and post pandemic economy, because it has changed. We’ll talk about some of the current trends and what it might mean for the future of organized labor and also, thus work in this economy.

 

Kimberly Adams: And if you have strong feelings about that, or just feelings in general, not necessarily strong ones but something you’d like to share, you can send us your thoughts and questions. You can email us at makemesmart@marketplace.org. Or you can leave us a voice message, we are at 508-827-6278 aka 508-U-B-SMART.

 

Kai Ryssdal: Make Me Smart is produced by Marissa Cabrera. Today’s episode was engineered by, of course, Drew Jostad. The senior producer is Bridget Bodnar.

 

Kimberly Adams: The team behind our Friday game is Steven Byeon, Mel Rosenberg, Emily Macune with theme music written by the same Drew Jostad. And the Director of On Demand is Donna Tam.

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The team

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