Monday, January 31, 2005

Bush, Social Security and African-Americans

George W. Bush has a serious problem with telling the truth. I am not only referring to weapons of mass destruction. He has become a master of "double-speak". Whenever I hear one of his proposals I tell myself he means just the opposite of what he says. I constantly give the examples of "No Child Left Behind" (which is actually leaving Black, Brown and poor White children behind because it not fully funded) and the "Clear Skies Intiative" (which seems to have been designed to clear the skies of birds while at the same time giving his cronies permission to pollute). The clever enemy of affirmative action's latest proposal was to convince Blacks that they would benefit from privatized Social Security because Blacks die earlier than whites. My first reaction to this was to laugh. After I finished laughing I thought about my age (54), then I thought about the age of my late father (78), my late uncle (74) , my late grandfather (84) and my late father-in-law(78). The males in my family in general have been long livers, without succumbing to
many of the vices that many black males have been subjected to as a result of pressure filled lives which eventually lead to high blood pressure(rampant in the black community). I found a post online on this very subject by Josh McConaha quite interesting "Instead of using African American life expectancies as an excuse to gut Social Security as we know it, how about spending that money in a way that will help them live longer? Yes, African Americans have a shorter lifespan (though the average is lowered by things like infant and childhood mortality rates, and infants and children don't pay into Social Security anyway). Somehow the White House feels that the best way to address that is to dismantle Social Security instead of, well, investing in health care for African Americans. Charles Rangel(D-N.Y) was among a select group of black politicians that met with the president last week. He had this to say " It's unimaginable that they would suggest tackling a problem like this with a plan that does absolutely nothing to address it, but here we are." Rangel said he was''really offended" that the White House and some Republicans are trying to sell Bush's plan for private accounts on grounds that it would be more beneficial to African-Americans. ''It is one of the cruelest things that I have ever read, and I regret that it comes from the office of the president," Rangel said. If Bush wants to do something about inequities between the races, Rangel said, he should address issues including the lack of access to healthcare among many blacks,higher unemployment, and lower wages. Rangel added that unless blacks have better economic prospects, private Social Security accounts will not help them. ''I told the president, 'You can't get out what you can't put in,' " he said. Whichever side is right, the controversy has put a spotlight on what some say has been missing in the national discussion over Social Security: Is the system filled with inequities that discriminate against certain demographic groups? " I think so.

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