The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Don’t Believe CNBC’s Fake News

Posted on | July 18, 2023 | 1 Comment

Last week, CNBC issued two lists — “These are America’s 10 best states to live and work in for 2023” and “These are America’s 10 worst states to live and work in for 2023” — and these lists have been cited in dozens of headlines across the country. Just quickly scanning the lists, however, I noticed a distinct pattern. Here are the CNBC lists, to which I’ve added (a) the two U.S. Senators from each state, and (b) the percentage of the state’s vote received by Joe Biden in 2020:

1. Vermont
Bernie Sanders (I), Peter Welch (D), Biden 66%

2. Maine
Susan Collins (R), Angus King (I), Biden 53%

3. New Jersey
Bob Menendez (D), Corey Booker (D), Biden 57%

4. Minnesota
Amy Klobuchar (D), Tina Smith (D), Biden 52%

5. Hawaii
Brian Schatz (D), Mazie Hirono (D), Biden 73%

6. Oregon
Ron Wyden (D), Jeff Merkley (D), Biden 56%

7. Washington State
Patty Murray (D), Maria Cantwell (D), Biden 58%

8. (tie) Colorado
Michael Bennet (D), John Hickenlooper (D), Biden 55%

8. (tie) Massachusetts
Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D), Biden 66%

10. Connecticut
Richard Blumenthal (D), Chris Murphy (D), Biden 59%


1. Texas
John Cornyn (R), Ted Cruz (R), Biden 46%

2. Oklahoma
James Lankford (R), Markwayne Mullin (R), Biden 32%

3. Louisiana
Bill Cassidy (R), John Kennedy (R), Biden 40%

4. (tie) South Carolina
Lindsey Graham (R), Tim Scott (R), Biden 43%

4. (tie) Alabama
Tommy Tuberville (R), Katie Britt (R), Biden 37%

6. Missouri
Josh Hawley (R), Eric Schmitt (R), Biden 41%

7. Indiana
Todd Young (R), Mike Braun (R), Biden 41%

8. Tennessee
Marsha Blackburn (R), Bill Hagerty (R), Biden 37%

9. Arkansas
John Boozman (R), Tom Cotton (R), Biden 35%

10. Florida
Marco Rubio (R), Rick Scott (R), Biden 48%

What a coincidence that every senator from CNBC’s “10 worst states” is a Republican, and Trump won every one of those states in 2020. And by the same remarkable coincidence, Biden won every one of CNBC’s “10 best states,” which have 17 Democratic senators, two “independents” (both of whom caucus with Democrats) and the nominal Republican Susan Collins. But can it really be true that, e.g., New Jersey is a better state “to live and work in” than, e.g., Florida? Is there anyone in Winter Haven or Apopka who would rather be living in Camden or Newark?

How is it possible that CNBC has classified among the “worst” states not only Florida but also Texas, both of which are among the fast-growing states in the country? How is it so much worse to “live and work” in sunny South Carolina or Louisiana than in chilly Vermont or Minnesota?

CNBC explains its rankings by citing “ten broad categories of competitiveness,” which are weighted into the final score: “The more weight a category carries, the more metrics it includes. This year’s study employs 86 metrics across the ten categories.”

The second most-weighted category is infrastructure, accounting for 15.6% of the total score and in assessing this category, “we measure each state’s sustainability in the face of climate change.” Oh.

The real kicker, though, is the “Life, Health & Inclusion” category, which accounts for 14% of the CNBC score:

With workers in short supply, companies are seeking to locate in states that can attract a broad array of talent. That makes quality of life an economic imperative. We rate the states on livability factors like per capita crime rates, environmental quality, and health care. We look at worker protections. We look at inclusiveness in state laws, including protections against discrimination of all kinds, as well as voting rights, including accessible and secure election systems. With studies showing that childcare is one of the main obstacles to employees returning to the workforce, we consider the availability and affordability of qualified facilities. And with surveys showing a sizeable percentage of women considering reproductive rights in deciding where they are willing to live and work, we factor abortion laws into this category as well.

Got that? Fourteen percent of a state’s score in the CNBC ranking comes from this bullshit category, an excuse to penalize conservative states while rewarding liberal states for “inclusiveness,” “voting rights,” etc. This is basically like taking the All-Star Game out of Atlanta because Biden said requiring ID to vote is “Jim Crow 2.0.”

While awarding 14% on the basis of things like “inclusion,” CNBC gives only 8.6% weighting to the category “Business Friendliness” and just 2% to “Cost of Living.” It’s expensive as hell to live in Massachusetts, and comparatively cheap to live in Tennessee. And guess which state’s government is more business friendly? (Hint: Not Massachusetts.)

The underlying bogusness of CNBC’s methodology — weighting the categories in such a way as to favor Democrat-controlled states — is overlooked in the secondary coverage of the CNBC lists in regional media (“Texas is worst state in the U.S. to live in for issues like abortion and voting rights, CNBC says,” San Antonio Express-News; “Indiana included on list of ‘America’s 10 worst states to live and work in’,” WISH-TV).

So far as I can tell, I’m the only guy on the Internet pointing out how bogus CNBC’s rankings are. It’s “fake news,” and no one should trust it.



One Response to “Don’t Believe CNBC’s Fake News”

  1. Too Stupid To Survive #108 | Stately McDaniel Manor
    July 27th, 2023 @ 5:47 pm

    […] CNBC said it, so it must be true:   […]