Don't Trust The Man
Fortunately, the false words of a spoiled brat white-boy Preznit
aren't likely to carry much weight with African-Americans.
But, of all the lowdown, dirty, despicable lies Bush has told to the American people, this is, well, it's one of them anyway (so hard to rank them these days):
Of all the lies -- let's call them by their right name -- that the Bush administration is spreading about Social Security, none is as vile as the canard Bush repeated last Tuesday, when he said, "African-American males die sooner than other males do, which means the [Social Security] system is inherently unfair to a certain group of people. And that needs to be fixed." That is an entirely phony assertion; it has been debunked by the Social Security Administration, by the Government Accountability Office and by other experts. Bush and those around him know that. For them to repeat what they know to be a blatant lie is despicable fear-mongering.
Bush didn't make up this phony line on his own; it comes from the Heritage Foundation, which a number of years ago did a study purporting to show that because African-Americans have a shorter life expectancy than whites, they get less in return for the taxes they pay into the Social Security system.
But when the Heritage study was examined by actuaries at the Social Security Administration and by the Government Accountability Office, serious methodological flaws and numerous bad assumptions were uncovered. For example:
• Heritage failed to factor in the progressivity of Social Security benefits; on a taxes-paid to benefits-received ratio, those with lower incomes get more back. Blacks tend to earn less than whites, and thus their Social Security benefits are larger in comparison to taxes they pay.
• Social Security is more than retirement benefits. It also includes survivor and disability benefits. Blacks benefit disproportionately from those programs. While blacks are 11 percent of the workforce, for example, they are 18 percent of those receiving disability benefits. Almost half the blacks receiving Social Security -- 47 percent -- are getting disability benefits or survivor benefits.
The Social Security actuaries found that Heritage had exaggerated substantially the amount blacks pay in Social Security taxes and low-balled the benefits they receive. "In fact," the actuaries said, "results from more careful research reflecting actual work histories for workers by race indicate that the non-white population actually enjoys the same or better expected rates of return from Social Security than for the white population."