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White House Breakfast Hard to Digest:

Last week President Bush invited conservative African American leaders

to a White House breakfast where he urged them to revamp social

security because black life expectancy is less in America than white

life expectancy.

The President fell prey to common misperceptions about life expectancy

data. In this instance, higher infant mortality and a concurrent

epidemic of black males dying by early adulthood drive down life

expectancy. Indeed, the Census Bureau reports that life expectancy for

African American women (75.6 years) exceeds that for white males (75.1

years) and an African American woman who reaches age 65 can expect an

additional 18 years of life compared to white males’ 16.6 years.

What’s next? A White House white men’s breakfast to pit them against

African American women over pensions? (And how about a breakfast for

illegal immigrant workers who, according to RAND studies, pump

billions into social security and will never draw a penny’s benefit no

matter when they die?)

Who cares?

If the President is to have breakfast with any diversity group and

talk about the shame of minorities’ poor health and early death in the

world’s richest nation, it should be in the context of improving

health care in a country that ranks 35th worldwide in infant mortality

rate (very near Cuba) and 23rd overall in life expectancy.

I do not know if duck was served at the White House breakfast, but

somehow I suspect this whole social security “crisis” may be a canard.

The real economic news last week is the romping Bush deficit aiming at

$433 billion for the year – the biggest annual debt in the history of

the human race. On our current plastic credit terror the USA, indeed

the entire world, will be bankrupt decades before social security may

hit “crisis.” It is not about black versus white, but greenbacks and a

tsunami of red ink that will drown future generations with inherited

debt. Ironically, if larger average family size trends continue, black

and Hispanic future generations will most likely be unduly impacted by

the Bush deficit.

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