Steve Claypool: Don’t believe what you read on Wallethub

05/14/2014 4:13 PM

05/14/2014 4:14 PM Never heard of them till a few months ago.

They created a “list” that made every major website in the country. They claimed the “average” Californian paid over $9,000 a year in state and local taxes. And that Nebraska had the nation’s third-highest tax burden.

According to every established tax study, the tax burden in California is about $5,000, and Nebraska is about 25th – not third – in average tax burden.

And yet, not one major media outlet questioned the data. Common sense, or simple logic would show that if the average Californian paid $9,000 in state and local taxes, there would be no budget deficit in the Golden State.

Why? You don’t need to be a financial expert or math whiz to look at Wallethub’s methodology and see that what they call “ average” is, by definition, not an average at all. reported on March 27: “I am not sure how Nebraska ended up as the third-worst – behind New Jersey and Vermont!”

Come on, Forbes. If that sentence is worth an exclamation point, it’s worth at least a little journalistic curiosity.

Forbes is not sure, but I am. I don’t know whether I’m more disappointed by Wallethub’s misleading data or by the incompetence of American journalism.



Editor's Choice Videos

Join the Discussion

The Modesto Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service