Tuesday, July 18, 2023

How Newsom’s Nerve Sidelined Hannity’s Facts

A few weeks ago, California’s governor Gavin Newsom appeared as a guest on Sean Hannity’s TV show. The two engaged in an extensive back-and-forth concerning the current state of the US. When their discussion started, I expected Hannity to wipe the floor with Newsom But by the end of it, I had to conclude that Newsom had won the debate. Not that he deserved to, but just that he had.

How did he do it? His technique was the use of boundless, staggering audacity, audacity so great as to leave Hannity (and me) speechless, at least temporarily.

I recall three examples of this. The first was Newsom’s denial that the economic policies of the Red States were better, more pro-prosperity, than those of the blue states. In fact, he ridiculed this claim by taking Mississippi as his example of a Red State. I think that this unexpected denial of something so obvious was so shocking that it intellectually paralyzed Hannity. If there is a next-time, Hannity should immediately replace Mississippi with red states like Texas and Florida, a comparison that Newsom totally avoided. It would also be helpful to explain what distinguishes Mississippi from the other Red states and explains its poor performance.

A second such example was Newsom’s denial of the significance of the fact that hundreds of thousands of people have left California to live in other states, and at the same time Florida has gained hundreds of thousands of people from other states. Indeed, Newsom claimed, without providing any evidence, that more people had moved from Florida to California than had moved from California to Florida, as though the facts were the opposite of the facts. Next time, Newsom must be asked for his evidence.

Finally, Newsom brushed off the significance of California’s 13.3 percent maximum rate in its state income-tax, compared with the total absence of a state income tax in Texas and Florida. Indeed, he appeared to claim that California’s tax system enabled middle-class Californians to pay lower taxes than middle-class people paid in Texas. It was unclear whether he was claiming that middle-class Californians pay lower actual taxes in terms of dollars per person or just a lower percentage of overall income taxes because of the very high percentage paid by high income Californians. My guess is that they pay substantially more in actual taxes per person but possibly less as a percentage of overall income tax payments. Hannity should check this and let the world know.