The Far Middle episode 101 begins the next chapter in sports dedications as the series enters the triple digits. To mark episode 101’s April 26 release date, Nick dedicates the episode to those pitchers who’ve thrown one-hitters. He looks back on two notable one-hitters from today in 1980 by “Lefty” and in 1990 by “The Ryan Express.”
Nick underscores the importance of tracking data and statistics of baseball players as he then tosses a change up and moves into the efficacy—or lack thereof—of public education. Like ball players, he comments on the importance of tracking students; highlighting a recent Stanford University and Associated Press study that found more than 240,000 students living in 21 states and the District of Columbia have gone missing since the start of the pandemic. Nick suggests it might be time for wholesale change for the public education lineup, front office, and ownership.
Staying on the topic of data and statistics, Nick examines two arenas where statistics are telling an interesting, albeit unsettling, story. In California, the state’s precipitous drop in personal income tax revenue signals difficult decisions loom for the Golden State. And nationally, America’s $31 trillion (and climbing) national debt, its balance sheet, and overall budgetary health has put the nation and economy on a course towards unprecedented and unchartered waters. The data are all staring us in the face, as easy to read as baseball box scores.
Next, Nick connects the discussion of statistics, math, government finances, and ill-advised policies to what’s happening in France, and how that might be a harbinger of things to come in the U.S. Nick delves into President Macron’s efforts to reform French pension laws, which isn’t as simple as it appears on the surface and explains why France’s pension situation is going to get much worse pretty quickly.
Returning to the U.S., Nick revisits the gloomy fiscal forecast that has more bad weather on the way. Those storms are government’s terrifying off-balance sheet liabilities and commitments of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. When you add it all up, the financial reality our nation is facing is putting us in a serious predicament. Nick foresees us heading toward to a level of government austerity the likes of which we’ve never seen.
Nick closes by connecting back to the episode’s release date of April 26, and reflects on the valor and inspiring story of Medal of Honor recipient Michael Estocin. Estocin represents the best America has to offer and the motivation to do the hard work that lies ahead.