Episode 683: Our Valentines : Planet Money Regret. Self-loathing. Jealousy. Happy Valentine's Day! We bring you little stories that we love so much, we wish we had thought of them ourselves.
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Episode 683: Our Valentines

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Episode 683: Our Valentines

Episode 683: Our Valentines

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ROBERT SMITH, HOST:

You know, here at PLANET MONEY, we are like anyone else. There are days that we all come into work just bursting with ideas, ready to get to work and just excited about what we're doing. And then there are the other days, when maybe the words aren't flowing, where we can't come up with a story idea. And it's on those days that we love to sit around and talk about all the great work that other people are doing.

And if you're in the journalism world, there is just amazing work every day. And I'm not just talking about the 10-part investigative series or the in-depth look at one village in India. That stuff is fantastic, but there's also just a lot of writers out there doing smart, funny, quirky stories. And part of us wants to applaud - stand up and say bravo, you have done amazing work. And another part of us, the part I'm not proud of, says ugh - why didn't we think of that?

(SOUNDBITE OF THOMAS GALLAGHER SONG, "CLAP HAPPY")

SMITH: Hello and welcome to PLANET MONEY. I'm Robert Smith. Today on the show - jealousy, regret, competition. You know, it's our Valentine's Day show, a salute to the writers we love.

(SOUNDBITE OF THOMAS GALLAGHER SONG, "CLAP HAPPY")

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Support for NPR comes from Ministry of Supply, makers of performance menswear. That means office clothes, like dress shirts and slacks, that MIT alums have engineered to wick sweat, resistant wrinkles, regulate body temperature and do everything else that your gym clothes can do. The difference? They look just like professional work clothes. Visit ministryofsupply.com/planetmoney to get 15 percent off your first purchase.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CLAP HAPPY")

THOMAS GALLAGHER: (Singing) Ah, ah, ah...

SMITH: We, of course, spend most of our time listening to other podcasts. But for this show, we asked all the members of PLANET MONEY to find something that they've read or seen - something outside the podcast world that they just admired and wanted to send a valentine to. With me now is Jess Jiang, our producer. So, who'd you pick?

JESS JIANG, BYLINE: So my valentine goes out to Tim Harford. He's an economist. He writes for the Financial Times, and he wrote this article about organizing his home.

SMITH: Now, everyone should know that Jess Jiang is the most organized person at PLANET MONEY, second only perhaps to myself. We both...

JIANG: You win. You definitely win.

SMITH: We both obsessively organize our cubicles. Tell us about what he wrote about.

JIANG: He wrote about Marie Kondo, and she's this Japanese woman who's this huge organizing phenomenon that's taken over the world. She wrote this little book called "The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up."

TIM HARFORD: Marie Kondo - I'm sure she's a lovely woman - she is insane.

SMITH: We called up Tim Harford in London.

HARFORD: She believes in saying thank you to socks. She believes that the labels on your detergent and bleach should be covered with masking tape because otherwise they'll shout at you. She is crazy. And yet, there was so much wisdom hidden in that book. It really did actually change my life.

SMITH: And not just because it (laughter) organized his home. Tim Harford saw, in Marie Kondo's method, something that he thought was pretty familiar, having studied economics.

JIANG: Yeah. He saw that Marie Kondo was this secret economist. For instance, one of her main ideas is that you should only keep things that spark joy.

SMITH: You're supposed to hold every object in your home in your hand and look at it and feel it and think about it and decide whether you're going to throw this out or not.

JIANG: This is actually a way to solve this economic problem. It's called the status quo bias. And that's just everyone wants to keep everything the way it is.

HARFORD: Marie Kondo takes status quo bias, and she flips it. So normally, the decision you're making is - do I want to make the decision to throw this T-shirt out? Marie Kondo says no, no. The status quo now is everything's going out. You're going to throw away every single thing in your house, unless you make the positive decision to keep it.

JIANG: Harford does the method. He follows the book word for word. For instance, he takes all of the books from all over his house and put them in this one big pile. And as he's looking at this pile, he realizes something.

HARFORD: The opportunity cost of your things is they get in the way of all your other things. There are books that you love that you've forgotten you ever owned because they're buried beneath piles of other books. There are clothes that you love. And to be very conscious that - you know, you have to choose the stuff that you want. The other stuff is just getting in the way of doing that. And it should go.

SMITH: So I have to say - I have not bought Kondo's book, but I love that there is this intellectual thread that goes through it - or at least that Tim Harford sees.

JIANG: Yeah. Harford's article made me feel like this is a smart thing. There's this economic rationale to this. And Harford says this helped him with the emotional part of organizing, especially when he was looking at his economic textbooks.

HARFORD: I went through and I got rid of a whole bunch of them, and you know, there was one left - the end of the shelf. And I felt I couldn't throw this textbook away because I remembered back in 1996. My mother was dying at the time. And I remember sitting on a bench at the hospice outside my mother's room reading this book. And I felt I couldn't throw this book away. But then, reading Marie Kondo's book, she just acknowledges that there is an emotion behind our stuff. But that emotion doesn't necessarily need to be respected by keeping the stuff. Sometimes you just need to acknowledge it. And so having read her book, I just pulled this textbook off the shelf, which I do not need. I don't need it as an economics textbook. I also don't need it as a reminder of my mother. I remember my mother went very well. And an economics textbook is not really the way to remember her. But just to acknowledge that that book played this role in my life and to say well, OK. Thank you and goodbye.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

JIANG: That was Tim Harford - economist, author, organizer. His latest book is "The Undercover Economist Strikes Back."

SMITH: All right. Happy Valentine's Day, Jess.

JIANG: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SMITH: Next up, my valentine. To understand it, you have to know something kind of embarrassing about myself, which is that every morning I pull a Q-tip out of the Q-tip container. And I look at the warning on the package, and it says on the package - do not enter the ear canal. And then, like everyone else on planet Earth, I do just that. I put it inside my ear canal. And it never occurred to me that this disconnect between what's on the package and what I do is one of the great mysteries of our time until I read an amazing history of the Q-tip from Roberto Ferdman of "Wonkblog." It's part of The Washington Post. And as I read it, I thought - oh, I wish I had thought to do this story.

ROBERTO FERDMAN: You aren't the first person who's told that to me. And I thought about this for a while without thinking about it as fodder for a piece. I mean, how weird is that? There isn't even an ear on the package. And yet people are buying them and putting them in their bathroom, maybe (laughter) behind closed doors and then taking them out and putting them in their ears in private.

SMITH: Now, I mean, obviously, the first thing you can think is this is a totally bogus warning just slapped on there by lawyers. But you talked to a lot of ear doctors who said these things are terrible.

FERDMAN: Every single one of them talked about how much of a pain it is for them to have to deal with patients who come in and complain about ear problems, ear infections, hearing problems and knowing, essentially, as soon as they look inside of the person's ears, that they've been using Q-tips.

SMITH: (Laughter) So what did you find? How did this product evolve? I mean, it said in your article that initially it started with babies.

FERDMAN: It was invented in the early 1920s by someone named Leo Gerstenzang. He was a Polish immigrant, and he saw his wife using this kind of contraption, which was a toothpick with a cotton ball at the end, to carefully apply various things to their baby. And he thought - you know, this is a clever trick, but this is easily improved. So he improved it by creating kind of the first rendition of what we now call cotton swabs or Q-tips because it's the most recognizable brand.

SMITH: And the Q stands for quality?

FERDMAN: The Q stands for quality. And at first, the packages didn't say put them in your ears, but eventually they did. Eventually, advertisements showed fathers putting them in their ears after showers, showed mothers cleaning their babies' ears or children's ears with these. And it explicitly pitched them for ear care.

SMITH: But why, all of a sudden, did the Q-tip manufacturers turn around and just say - oh, man. We have to put a warning on this, or you know - or what? Someone's going to sue us?

FERDMAN: Well, there's no clear answer. The kind of assumption is that enough ear, nose and throat for doctors came forth and said - look, people are putting these in their ears. And we need them to stop because it's bad for many reasons. And eventually, there was enough pressure to force Q-tips and other brands to put this warning on them.

SMITH: So why do I still do this? I've read the warning. I've read your story about how doctors think this is terrible. And this morning, I still cleaned out my ears. Why do I do it?

FERDMAN: I think that more than anything (laughter), it's because putting Q-tips in your ears feels amazing. When you clean out your ears - when you get rid of the earwax in your ears, you create what dermatologists call an itch and scratch problem, which I'm sure anyone's familiar with. But the more that you itch or rub the Q-tip against the inside of your ear, the more it itches and the more you need to scratch it. So people who use Q-tips (laughter) also are, in some ways, like, addicted to the use of these Q-tips. The more you use them, the more you need to use them.

SMITH: It's like aural masturbation.

FERDMAN: (Laughter) It is exactly like that.

SMITH: Oh, thank you so much for doing this story and for being on. This is our Valentine's (ph) to you.

FERDMAN: Anytime.

SMITH: Roberto Ferdman is a reporter for "Wonkblog" at The Washington Post. He does not use Q-tips anymore - until I asked him to.

OK. You have Q-tips with you?

FERDMAN: I do.

SMITH: Let's put them inside the ear canal.

FERDMAN: Oh, my God (laughter).

SMITH: It's, like, amazing.

FERDMAN: It feels so good (laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MAKE YOUR MOVE")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing) Make your move. Make your move.

SMITH: When we first came up with this idea for the show in a meeting, everyone turned to Jacob Goldstein and said - oh, we know who you're going to do, Jacob.

JACOB GOLDSTEIN, BYLINE: Obviously, I'm doing Matt Levine.

SMITH: Matt Levine is a columnist at Bloomberg View. We all read him here. In fact, it's one of those things where it's, like, yeah, yeah, yeah. We know. You read it in Levine's column.

GOLDSTEIN: Yeah. I mean, I feel like, just - if I knew a lot more, if I were more clever, if I were funnier, I would be Matt Levine.

SMITH: So we had this idea that we would sort of read some of Matt Levine to you as poetry - that we would bring in some sort of famous actor, maybe, to read these amazing words of Matt Levine.

GOLDSTEIN: And it didn't - it didn't quite work out.

Say your name.

DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: My name is David.

GOLDSTEIN: And...

GREENE: Greene. David Greene.

GOLDSTEIN: Say it, like, all in one sentence.

GREENE: My name is David Greene.

GOLDSTEIN: And what's your job?

GREENE: My job is one of the hosts of Morning Edition.

GOLDSTEIN: I've heard a few.

GREENE: I - that's - I appreciate that.

GOLDSTEIN: I told David Greene we were trying to find somebody famous.

GREENE: And when are you bringing that person in?

GOLDSTEIN: (Laughter) Well, you're famous, David Greene. The good news is you're famous. The bad news is George Takei said no. And Alec Baldwin said no. I never heard back from Patrick Stewart. And you were about to go to a spin class, and I grabbed you.

GREENE: And here we are. If I miss the spin class, I'm going to be very upset.

SMITH: He loves his SoulCycle.

GOLDSTEIN: So, Robert, you know, we were just going to have David Greene read a few paragraphs of Matt Levine in his beautiful voice. But he sat down and he started reading it. And he's, like - what? This guy is your favorite writer? Like, I don't get it. And so what happened instead was he and I had this whole back-and-forth of, like, talking about the meaning of Matt Levine. And it was really fun.

SMITH: All right, let's play it now.

GOLDSTEIN: There was a day late last year when everybody knew the Fed was going to raise interest rates.

GREENE: Yes, I remember that. We were reporting on that. We actually had David Wessel on the air saying yes, we're ready today for the Fed to raise interest rates.

GOLDSTEIN: We all knew it was going to happen. And we'd all done all the stories there were to do. Right? Like, we had done a few stories at PLANET MONEY. NPR had done tons of stories. Everybody had done tons of stories. There is nothing left to say.

GREENE: What the hell do you cover when it actually happens...

GOLDSTEIN: What do you say? This is the morning when everyone knows it's going to happen. What is there left to say? Levine writes this little thing, just a few hundred words. And the headline is "What Time Is Fed Day?"

GREENE: OK.

GOLDSTEIN: And then just say...

GREENE: And he writes...

GOLDSTEIN: ...Here's how it starts.

GREENE: And here's how it starts. (Reading) The essence of finance is time travel. Saving is about moving resources from the present into the future. Financing is about moving resources from the future back into the present.

What the hell does this mean?

GOLDSTEIN: I'm glad you asked. Right? So the essence of finance is time travel...

GREENE: Uh-huh.

>>...Is genius. I mean, when you have money, you basically have two choices.

GREENE: Right. Now or later?

GOLDSTEIN: You can spend it now or later (laughter).

GREENE: Right, right, right.

GOLDSTEIN: So saving is about moving resources from the present into the future.

GREENE: Right...

GOLDSTEIN: Think of your retirement account.

GREENE: ...because you want to spend in the future.

GOLDSTEIN: Right? So I'm saving money that I have now because I don't want to consume resources now. I want to be able to consume them when I retire.

GREENE: Makes sense.

GOLDSTEIN: Financing, you can think of borrowing. What he says financing - borrowing is about moving resources from the future back into the present. I want to buy a house today. I don't have all the money for the house, but I know that over 30 years, I'll make enough money to pay for the house.

GREENE: So I need to take that money from the future and use it right now.

GOLDSTEIN: Exactly. I need to get a mortgage. And...

GREENE: This is all making sense. The essence of finance is time travel. In those seven words, he captures something that I sort of intuitively knew forever. But I never really saw it, you know, sort of said like that.

GOLDSTEIN: So I have this - part of the reason I love Levine is I feel like so much of the news is in this really narrow band of abstraction. Right? Like, everybody is basically saying the same thing over and over and over. And like, one thing you can do - I think we try and do - is get to, like, a lower level of abstraction. Right?

So it's, like - oh, the Fed created $1 trillion? Let's go to the room where they did it. Let's look at the computer they typed on to create it. That's one way to go. Levine goes the opposite direction. Right? He goes to, like, higher level of abstract. And he goes to, like, philosophy of finance.

GREENE: I wish people could see how much you are moving your arms and how red your face is talking about your love for this guy.

GOLDSTEIN: It's real. It's real - although that's what I always do.

GREENE: A little secret.

GOLDSTEIN: Here is the next idea. The way financial markets work - what, say, the price of a stock is today or what interest rates are today, they're essentially this big betting market, right? They're everybody's predictions pooled into, like, one price. Right? If a stock price is higher, that means people think this company is going to make a lot of money in the future.

GREENE: Right.

GOLDSTEIN: And of course, the outcome of all those bets - the price of a stock today, what interest rates are today - are meaningful. Right? So these aren't just sort of, like, side bets in Vegas. These bets about the future have a real impact in the present.

GREENE: Right.

GREENE: Interest rates mean something. What a stock price is means something.

GOLDSTEIN: Exactly.

GREENE: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

GOLDSTEIN: That is set up for idea number two, which comes in this last paragraph.

GREENE: Which is this.

GOLDSTEIN: Yes.

GREENE: I have a feeling that you really like the way Adam Levine has sort of brought that idea and just crystallized it in words that are just meaningful and important and powerful.

GOLDSTEIN: And funny.

GREENE: And funny.

GOLDSTEIN: Also, it's Matt Levine. Adam Levine is a pop star, who - I'm sure there's people who love him. But this is Matt Levine.

GREENE: Oh, this is Matt Levine. OK. Well, this guy's my second favorite Levine.

GOLDSTEIN: (Laughter) And that's high praise.

GREENE: Yeah. No, that's totally high praise.

GOLDSTEIN: Distant second, I get the feeling.

GREENE: Distant, distant. Well, Matt Levine is about to sum it up this way, what you just said. Right? You want me to read this here?

GOLDSTEIN: Please.

GREENE: (Reading) In a sense - in a real economically meaningful sense - the Fed has already raised rates because we've talk about it so much. In a sense, the Fed decision takes place within us each day. In another more accurate sense, though, the Federal Open Market Committee releases its policy statement at 2 p.m. Wednesday and will likely announce that it's raising short-term interest rates above zero for the first time in seven years. Get excited.

GOLDSTEIN: I feel like you're not really buying this.

GREENE: This is not what I would read, like...

GOLDSTEIN: Fair enough.

GREENE: ...At bedtime. I wouldn't wake up in the morning with my coffee and dive into Levine. But I mean, I see what's happening. And you got me - you know, you brought me in.

GOLDSTEIN: OK. David Greene, special...

GREENE: This was...

GOLDSTEIN: ...Star guest at...

GREENE: I...

GOLDSTEIN: ...PLANET MONEY, thank you.

GREENE: It is an honor to number 118 on your list of hopefuls to play this role. I'm glad you got down to me because everyone said no.

GOLDSTEIN: I'm glad, too.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WE'RE YOUNG AT HEART")

CRISTINA RENAE: (Singing) Because we're young at heart, back to the start we go.

SMITH: David Kestenbaum has been cutting out hearts all week. Who's your valentine?

DAVID KESTENBAUM, BYLINE: My valentine goes to a TV show about superheroes.

SMITH: What could that - that doesn't narrow it down. Right?

KESTENBAUM: Do you know I watch a lot of TV shows about superheroes? Like, basically, after I make the lunch for the kids, I just want to watch something that has nothing at all to do with economics, like, the more ridiculous, the better. And so I watch a lot of Marvel "Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D."

SMITH: OK (laughter). I've never seen it.

KESTENBAUM: It's from, like, the Avengers, Marvel, Thor universe. Anyway, I'm watching this thing, and in the middle of it, there's this, like, beautiful little economic joke, just, like, out of nowhere. Can I play it for you?

SMITH: Yeah, yeah.

KESTENBAUM: All right so - I have to set it up, right? So in this episode, there is this super villain named Lorelai who shows up on the earth.

SMITH: Where's she from?

KESTENBAUM: (Laughter) She's from Asgard. That's Thor's planet.

SMITH: Now you sound like a nerd. Go on.

KESTENBAUM: (Laughter) Yeah. Her superpower is that she's very attractive and she can control men with her voice.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.")

ROBERT BELUSHI: (As Jimmy Mackenzie) I swear to protect you and keep you safe, but I don't even know your name.

ELENA SATINE: (As Lorelai) It's Lorelai. My name is Lorelai.

GOLDSTEIN: Oh.

KESTENBAUM: Stay with me. Lorelai's trying to take over the Earth. Right? So she trades up from this first guy to a second guy who's more powerful - he's the head of a motorcycle gang. And then she sends him off and says, basically, go get me a lot of money. And he comes back with this bag and empties it out on the table. This is the part I love.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.")

SATINE: (As Lorelai) I wanted gold. You bring me paper?

DYLAN BRUNO: (As Rooster) It's cash. It's like gold. This is the currency here.

KESTENBAUM: Motorcycle gang guy is kind of nervous. He's holding up a $100 bill so she can see it.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.")

SATINE: (As Lorelai) And who's this ugly woman?

BRUNO: (As Rooster) That's Ben Franklin. He used to be president. He used to rule this whole country.

SATINE: (As Lorelai) And women can rule your land, can they not?

BRUNO: (As Rooster) You'd be the first.

SATINE: (As Lorelai) Yes, I will.

KESTENBAUM: It's good. Right?

SMITH: It is good. It actually made me laugh.

KESTENBAUM: It just makes you be like wait - what are we using for money? - the question we ask here all the time, right? Like, what is money? Yeah. And then the Ben Franklin thing is just genius. So I wanted to meet the person who wrote this and just say thank you.

SHALISHA FRANCIS: I wanted gold. You bring me paper (laughter)?

KESTENBAUM: Here she is, Shalisha Francis. She told me she wrote those lines sitting at her kitchen table in Los Angeles.

FRANCIS: I have a desk, but I work at the kitchen table. I know. Don't ask me why, but yes.

KESTENBAUM: (Laughter).

FRANCIS: That's my favorite place to work.

KESTENBAUM: The thing I love about the joke is that it keeps going.

FRANCIS: I know, exactly - that Ben Franklin was never president (laughter).

KESTENBAUM: I mean, that's - it's like a three-part joke. You know what I mean? It's almost like I could've thought of the first part or maybe the second part, but then it's got that third part. It's so nice.

FRANCIS: Thank you.

KESTENBAUM: She told me there are no economists in her family. Her parents are actually from Jamaica. She told me she went to law school but then decided pretty quickly that she just hated it. And when she told her parents - you know, I think I might want to try writing for television, they were like - are you crazy?

FRANCIS: My parents just forgave me a year ago (laughter). I feel like - it was - they had a conniption fit, actually, saying - yeah, you don't like being a lawyer. But nobody really likes their job. You know, you stick it out.

KESTENBAUM: So, like, this is like first, you know, first generation in the United States, right. Like, you become a lawyer. Like, that's the best thing, right. And then you're like - I don't want to do this.

FRANCIS: (Laughter) I know. I mean, yes. They were the people who pushed me towards law school, you know. They sort of said you talk a lot, and you love to read. That's what you should do.

KESTENBAUM: (Laughter).

FRANCIS: So yeah, to them, that was the dream. But I had a different one.

KESTENBAUM: I feel the joke was also funny because, you know, we are actually talking about putting a woman on the $10 bill. We ended up talking about that. Who should be on the $10 bill? You know they're talking about...

FRANCIS: I know. It has to be Hamilton. I'm obsessed. I am obsessed

KESTENBAUM: Oh, you don't want to take Hamilton off the 10?

FRANCIS: No, I don't. Like, I'm obsessed with the musical. I went and I saw it in the beginning of this year.

SMITH: Did somebody say "Hamilton?" - because people around here know - do not mention the musical "Hamilton," which I am also obsessed with. And I know - I know, I know, I know. Everyone talks about this musical. And if you're not in New York City, you're, like, stop talking about a musical I cannot see. But I have a very specific reason to be - oh, thanks, David. You can leave anytime.

KESTENBAUM: This is your valentine.

SMITH: This is my valentine. I have a very specific reason that I am obsessed with "Hamilton" because here at PLANET MONEY, we have, several times, tried to do podcasts that explain sort of the role of Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the treasury, his role in really building the economy of the United States as we know it.

So we specifically did a podcast about how the national debt got created. And we described this early fight between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Now, Hamilton was a New Yorker. He wanted all of the states to pool their war debts from the Revolutionary War into one national debt held by a strong central government, which happened to be based in New York.

And Thomas Jefferson, he's from Virginia. He hated this idea of a central government beholden to the banks. Now, the two gentlemen would argue about this in what was probably a very boring cabinet meeting. The genius of the musical "Hamilton" is that they make this argument seem exciting. I'm just going to play a little bit for you, starting with Thomas Jefferson.

(SOUNDBITE OF BROADWAY MUSICAL, "HAMILTON")

DAVEED DIGGS: (As Thomas Jefferson, singing) Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - we fought for these ideals. We shouldn't settle for less. These are wise words, enterprising men quote 'em. Don't act surprised, you guys, 'cause I wrote them.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (As characters, singing) Hey.

DIGGS: (As Thomas Jefferson, singing) Ow, but Hamilton forgets. His plan would have the government assume states' debts. Now place your bets as to who that benefits - the very seat of government where Hamilton sits.

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: (As Alexander Hamilton, singing) Not true.

DIGGS: (As Thomas Jefferson, singing) Oh. If the shoe fits, wear it. If New York's in debt, why should Virginia bear it? Uh, our debts are paid, I'm afraid. Don't tax the South because we got it made in the shade. In Virginia...

SMITH: Next up, Alexander Hamilton responds. He is played by the man who wrote this musical, who I'm really sending the valentine out to, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

(SOUNDBITE OF BROADWAY MUSICAL, "HAMILTON")

MIRANDA: (As Alexander Hamilton, singing) Thomas, that was a real nice declaration. Welcome to the present. We're running a real nation. Would you like to join us or stay mellow doing whatever the hell it is you do in Monticello?

If we assume the debts, the union gets a new line of credit, a financial diuretic. How do you not get it? If we're aggressive and competitive, the union gets a boost. You'd rather give it a sedative?

A civics lessons from slaver. Hey, neighbor, your debts are paid because you don't pay for labor.

We plant seeds in the South. We create. They keep on ranting. We know who's really doing the planting.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (As characters, singing) Oh.

SMITH: I'll fade it down here. But believe me, given encouragement, I would just play this musical in every one of our podcasts.

(SOUNDBITE OF BROADWAY MUSICAL, "HAMILTON")

OKIERIETE ONAODOWAN: (As James Madison, singing) You don't have the votes.

DIGGS AND ONAODOWAN: (As Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, singing) You don't have the votes.

DIGGS: (As Thomas Jefferson) Aha-ha-ha-ha.

SMITH: There is one last journalistic organization we should send a valentine to. Bloomberg Businessweek, every year, does their "Jealousy List." That's what gave us the idea to do our Valentine's list.

As always, we love to hear what you think of the program. You can email us - planetmoney@npr.org. Or find us on Twitter and Facebook. And if PLANET MONEY is your valentine, here's what we'd like instead of a card. You should pick out your favorite episode, an episode that you really love of PLANET MONEY and send it to a friend on Facebook or in an email. That is the best way to thank us.

Our producers today are Jess Jiang and Nick Fountain. I'm Robert Smith. Thanks for listening.

(SOUNDBITE OF BROADWAY MUSICAL, "HAMILTON")

MIRANDA: (As Thomas Jefferson, singing) And another thing, Mr. Age Of Enlightenment, don't lecture me about the war. You didn't fight in it. You think I'm frightened of you, man? We almost died in the trench while you were off getting high with the French. Thomas Jefferson, always hesitant with the president, reticent, there isn't a plan he doesn't jettison.

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