Feb 7, 2005
Trying to increase black support for his attacks on social Security, Bush has been pointing out that "African-American males die sooner than other males do, which means the system is inherently unfair to a certain group of people." Yes, the system is "unfair" – and Bush is one of those whose policies contribute to it.
But let's look at Bush's argument.
Overall life expectancy among black men in the U.S. is 69 years, six years lower than for white males.
By citing this fact, Bush pretends that black workers will live only a few years past retirement age and never collect all the money they put into the system. It's just one more example of how Bush lies with figures.
In reality, a black worker who retires at age 65 can expect to live, on average, to age 79 or 80.
The big reason for the overall 69-year life expectancy is death at an early age: above all, an infant death rate that is 2½ times higher among blacks than among whites in this country. On top of that, black teenagers and young adults die at a higher rate from causes such as AIDS and homicide.
THESE disgusting figures all speak to the much higher rate of poverty among blacks than whites, and much less access to quality health care. They demonstrate the fundamental racism of this society.
These disparities have been reinforced by government policies for years. Does Bush now propose to do anything to alleviate these conditions and actually bring about greater equality? Of course not. Just the opposite, in fact. By what he's saying, he fully expects this inequality to continue for another 40 to 50 years! And many of his policies, like those on health or education, guarantee that this inequality will get worse.
Bush is simply using the life expectancy figure to justify dismantling Social Security – a program that pays out a somewhat higherpercentage of earnings in benefits for lower-income workers than higher-income workers.
Of course, if he gets away with this, the result will be greater impoverishment, misery – and a lower life expectancy for black people, the very ones he is appealing to!
Bush's appeal is nothing but a vile, racist attack masked as a supposed appeal to racial equality.