FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2023
College football's best: We strongly agree with Kevin Drum about last night's Newsom / DeSantis "debate" on the Hannity program:
DRUM (11/30/23): I watched the first half hour of tonight's debate between California governor Gavin Newsom and Florida governor Ron DeSantis, but that was all I could take. So I have no idea who "won" or "lost."
But just to set the record straight on something I think Newsom didn't make clear enough, it really is true that taxes in California aren't generally higher than in Florida...
Kevin goes on from there to offer some basic statistics; he links to a high-level source. We can't vouch for the perfect accuracy of those statistics, but Kevin goes on to say this:
DRUM: The working poor are better off in California. The working and middle classes are about the same in both states. The upper middle class and the affluent are taxed less in Florida.
The reason for this is that California's income tax is very progressive. The poor, on average, pay negative tax, and the next two cohorts pay about 1%. It's only for the wealthy that California's income tax becomes significant...
We're assuming that's basically accurate. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, California has the most equitable tax policy among the fifty states. Florida has the third least equitable tax policy among the fifty states.
(Warning: The ITEP notes that its data are a few years out of date.)
We assume the claims we've posted above are basically accurate. We also assume that Kevin is right in what he says about Newsom's presentation on this topic last night. Our basic guess would be this:
No one watching that part of last night's debate believed Newsom's claims in this area. To see how implausible his presentation seemed, you can click right here.
Very few viewers would have believed Newsom's claims about taxes in California as opposed to taxes in Florida. When Kevin says that Newsom "wasn't clear enough," he's making a large understatement.
So it goes as we the people get familiar Storylines hammered into our heads. Meanwhile, who are college football's four best teams this year?
On ESPN and FS1, sports pundits have been debating that question all week. This coming Sunday, the committee charged with making that decision will name the four (4) lucky duckies who will compete in this year's post-season college playoff.
It's fascinating to watch the way this topic gets drop-kicked around each year. Here's the blindingly obvious dog which constantly fails to bark:
There is no "objective" way to answer that annual question.
It may just be that the pundits are told that they must never say that. But every year, it's the same thing:
The pundits argue all week long. No one ever notes the obvious fact that there is no way to settle the question, except on the field of play.
No one seems to realize that the claims for which they're arguing are almost wholly subjective. Everyone seems to think that they're making claims which can somehow be shown to be "right."
We're sorry, Virginia, but no:
You can't go by "the eyeball test"—and you can't trust "expert opinion." All you can do is select four teams—Teams A, B, C and D—and let them battle it out.
Even then, you can't be sure that Team E wouldn't have won the whole darn thing is they'd been allowed to compete. Also, if Team A beats Team B, everyone knows that Team B may in some cases be better.
There is no objective way to pick the four best teams! Tomorrow, we're going to take you back to the magical year when this basic logical principle became stupendously clear.
In the year we have in mind, the experts had seemed to be very sure about who the two (2) top teams were.
(At that time, the committee picked only two teams. Those teams then played for the title.)
The experts seemed to be very sure about the who the two best teams were. But uh-oh! One of the teams the experts liked did get sent to the championship game, where they were forced to play Florida. The other team got dispatched to the Rose Bowl, where they met Southern Cal.
At those separate destinations, the two top teams got their clocks cleaned by those other teams. Everyone knew that those teams were best, until the fickle finger of fate defrocked them in that manner.
No one knows who the four best college teams are. Analysts argued all week long and no one ever said that!