Misleading Figures & Fake Facts

Mike Steindel (CLaw7MAn@webtv.net)
Tue, 16 Mar 1999 14:20:57 -0800 (PST)


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Here is some info that most of us are aware of all ready. It seems that
the Heritage Foundation likes to put its own positive spin on statistics
for polticians to quote from. Another way to back up their lies with
bullshit. I don' know why we trust anything they tell us at all. mike

For Release: Wednesday, March 17, 1999
IS THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION CREDIBLE? 
The Heritage Foundation is one of our country's most influential and
oft-quoted think tanks. But its claims often seem to be based more on
ideology than solid research.

U.S. POOR NOT REALLY POOR: Heritage Foundation poverty analyst Robert
Rector has issued widely trumpeted reports arguing that the poor aren't
so poor -- for instance, "The Myth of Widespread American Poverty"
(1998). 

The reports contain false and misleading claims. Purporting to show that
poor Americans rarely go hungry, Heritage relies on an outmoded 1991
Health and Human Services nutrition survey that understates the problem,
while ignoring the more recent and complete Census Bureau survey that
replaced it. Rector claims that "poor Americans live in larger houses or
apartments" than "the general population in Western Europe," but the
supporting chart compares floor space per person in European cities like
Paris and Athens to that of all poor U.S. households. Most of America's
poor live in rural or suburban areas. Heritage's main point -- that
"there is a huge gap between the `poor=B4 as defined by the Census
Bureau and what most ordinary Americans consider to be poverty" -- is
dubious. Polls consistently show that Americans would put the poverty
line higher than its current level. 

* Contact: Seth Ackerman, "The Ever-Present Yet Nonexistent Poor,"
Extra! (1-2/99), http://www.fair.org/extra/9901/rector.html,
sackerman@fair.org; Katha Pollitt, "Poverty: Fudging the Numbers," The
Nation (11/2/98), kpollitt@thenation.com. 

BOGUS SOCIAL SECURITY FIGURES: In its advocacy of privatization,
Heritage published "research" last year claiming to show that Social
Security is bad for blacks and Latinos and that many African-Americans
pay more into the system than they receive in benefits. Citing
methodological errors, Steve Goss, Deputy Chief Actuary of the Social
Security Administration, rebutted Heritage in a memo (2/4/99) which
concluded that "the non-white population actually enjoys the same or
better expected rates of return from Social Security." The Center on
Budget and Policy Priorities issued a report by senior analyst Kilolo
Kijakazi on Heritage's incorrect methodology and assumptions, with the
Goss memo appended. 

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0 =A0 =A0 * Contact: Kilolo Kijakazi at CBPP,
kijakazi@cbpp.org. Her report is at
http://www.cbpp.org/10-5-98socsec.htm. See also Business Week,
"Red-Faced Over Social Security: A Conservative Think Tank's Boo-Boo,"
12/14/98. 

MISLEADING "WELFARE" FIGURE: In January 1995, Heritage's Robert Rector
claimed in congressional testimony that "the U.S. has spent over $5.3
trillion on welfare...since the onset of the War on Poverty" without
decreasing poverty. But Heritage's often-cited "welfare" figure --
further inflated in recent years -- is highly misleading. As the Center
on Budget and Policy Priorities has documented, 70 percent of the
federal spending Heritage classified as "welfare" went to households
that did not receive Aid to Families with Dependent Children, the core
welfare program during the 30-year period. Most went to non-AFDC
households with elderly, disabled or "medically needy" individuals, as
well as low-income workers -- not the jobless poor typically associated
with "welfare." 

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0 =A0 =A0 * See "How Much Do We Spend on Welfare?" by
Sharon Parrott (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, publication
#95-032). To acquire the report, contact CBPP, (202) 408-1080. 

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam
Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167 


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