Mudcat Café message #1455868 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901   Message #1455868
Posted By: Amos
08-Apr-05 - 09:57 PM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration

Se Habla B.S.?

The White House lies about Latinos and Social Security.
By William Saletan (Slate Magazine)
Posted Thursday, March 24, 2005, at 1:03 PM PT

Last week, I faulted the White House for leading the press and public to believe, falsely, that Latinos tend to die younger than whites do. This myth helps to sell President Bush's Social Security reform proposal to Latinos, since it implies that they collect Social Security for fewer years, on average, than whites do. To debunk the myth, I pointed to a U.S. Census report showing that Latinos outlive whites by an average of three years.

Has the administration changed its language since I flagged the error? Yes. The White House no longer obliquely implies that Latinos die younger than whites do. It now repeats that falsehood explicitly.

Let's recap the original transgression. In a meeting three months ago, Bush led outgoing NAACP President Kweisi Mfume to believe (according to a transcript of Mfume's comments afterward) that Latinos and blacks, "because of low life expectancy rates, don't get a chance to get out much of what they put in" to Social Security. Mfume's comments, in turn, led some newspapers to report that Latinos "have lower-than-average life expectancy rates and, as a result, don't draw retirement benefits commensurate with what they pay in payroll taxes over the course of their working lives."

Well, maybe Mfume misunderstood Bush. Mfume said Bush referred to lower life expectancy among "some communities." I've asked Mfume's office for more detail; he hasn't called back. I can't imagine what other "communities" Bush might be talking about, since the Census report shows that all other ethnic groups whose life expectancies are measured by the government live at least as long as whites do. But I can't prove that Bush referred explicitly to Latinos or that he'd been fairly warned that such a reference would be false.

Cheney has neither excuse. Two days ago at a "town hall" meeting in Nevada, the vice president declared, "Life expectancy, for example, among African Americans and Hispanics is less than it is for others. They get a worse return, if you will, out of Social Security than others because they don't live long enough to draw the benefits that was equal what they've paid into the system over time. So it is an important consideration."