Good for the Associated Press -- rather than writing another "he said"/"she said" article that fails to educate readers, national writer Matt Crenson has published a story that takes a clear stand on the facts. Contrary to President Bush's claims, Crenson finds, Social Security experts believe that the program is not a bad deal for African Americans. Here's the key graf:
On balance, the program may actually benefit blacks more than whites, according to analyses by the AARP, scholars such as Liebman and the Social Security Administration's actuaries. Only the conservative Heritage Foundation has concluded otherwise.
As the bubbles used to say in the old Batman: Wham! Punch! Slam! This is very encouraging stuff. With Social Security rising to the top of the national debate, let's hope other papers pick up the ball and run with it rather than just reporting Bush's claims in the "he said"/"she said" style.
Update 2/2: Andrew Grossman of the Heritage Foundation has added a comment stating that others besides Heritage have "concluded otherwise" about the net benefits of Social Security for blacks and whites. I'd agree that Crenson's wording should have been more precise, but I think his point was that among the group of serious, original analyses only Heritage has found that Social Security is a bad deal for blacks. That may or may not be true (I don't know), but I assume Crenson did some research on it. I checked out the Cato study (PDF) that Grossman references, for instance, and it appears to be largely derivative of other studies, including Heritage's. Anyway, I'd welcome pointers to other examples.
Update 2/8: Grossman sent me an NBER working paper from 1983, which is not exactly current, but it appears there are multiple studies reaching a similar conclusion to Heritage. See the "What Other Literature Tells Us" section of this AARP analysis, among others, for citations and critiques.