Lie of Averages

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OK. Here's what I call the lie of averages. This article exemplifies it:

That thing halves most of the real numbers -- effective income tax rate is about 9.3% for JUST income tax (not including various contributions you pay in hidden income taxes, like employment/payroll/insurances) -- they claim it's 1.40%. Vehicle property tax, they say it's like $150. In truth, it's about $300/car. They hide that in using a percent (since Californians buy more expensive cars, paying more looks like less, relative to the cost of the car). They claim the real estate taxes average $1,438 -- but that's because a few old-timers are getting off on a tax base that can't grow as fast as the cost of housing -- so they're paying less, you won't (unless you've been here, 40 years). They claim the effective sales tax rate is 4.47% in Cali... it's about double that.

Look at some examples:


In Cali, Person (A) makes $500K. Persons (B) and (C) make $50K each -- that means they make an average of $200K each. They're all fucking rich compared to Texas where 3 people make $100K each.

Only the truth is, that all 3 are living better lives in Texas.

In Cali, Person (A) is has a small house in Atherton ($4.5M average price) means about $20K/month mortgage. That $500K is at about a 40%+ tax rate, and $200K is going to mortgage and $45K/year in property taxes. They're practically starving. The truth is ALL are living below averages, if you look at adjusted lifestyles and real cost of living (not averaged out ones).

On the other hand, the 3 people in Texas, each can afford a nice house ($946/month mortgage, $3,500/year in property taxes, and they have lower state income, sales taxes, and everything costs about 1/3rd less. They can live below their means, have nice savings. So who is really better off?


The more outliers you have in a sample, the more misleading average is. And California has lots of rich and lots more poor. Thus lying with averages misleads people who choose to remain ignorance of the facts, or wants to sell propaganda.

That's how you lie using averages, instead of use-cases.

Instead of percentage flimflam, look at actual numbers.

Compare that to California, where average property tax in California is $2,839.00 per year versus $3,483 or some such in Texas. Only you're not average.

Average home size in SF is 1,150 sq ft. (and $1.16M). In Ausin, it's 1,800 sq ft and $300K. Price in SF is nearly 4x Austin. That Austin has twice the tax rate doesn't matter, in taxes you'll pay twice as much in SF, even at half the rate. So liars will say, "SF is half of Austin in Taxes". And in truth, you know in SF you paid $12K in property tax, and in Austin it was $6K -- and you lived in twice the size house.

In California the average masks the outliers, but everyone is an outlier.

You either live in one of the cities with jobs, and then it's far more than the average costs, both in rate and amount. Or you're poor and inland, and struggling not because of the tax rates, but cost of living (and cost of regulations) is suffocating you.

Our water bill in California is $155/month for 7 units. Our water bill for our 4-plex in Reno is $24 for 11 units. On top of that, much of those "assessments" and "Fees" in California aren't called taxes. So California is 10x the price (1000% more taxes) -- but most of that won't be accounted for, because they weren't "taxes", just special assessments and grants to water companies based on regulations. But anyone that's lived in both places knows better.

Gasoline is 50% more in California. Not all of that is taxes, it's because of regulations, standards, and incompetence. (California makes it harder to build refineries and drove most out, so we have to refine it elsewhere, and ship it in, at cost to us). Is that a tax? Yes it is, even if it isn't officially. Instead the asshats will lie to rubes and claim relative to miles of roads, or some other invented metric, California has the lowest taxes on Gasoline, and aren't you lucky to pay more than just about anywhere else except Hawaii?

So all that chart shows is that you can lie to some of the people, all of the time, and if they aren't smart enough to do use cases or think through the problem (use critical thinking, skepticism, and all that stuff), they'll repeat things like, "California is a low tax place to live". While anyone that actually lived there and lived elsewhere in most of the country, laughs out loud at that.


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