Fat Steve's Blatherings

Monday, January 17, 2005

How's about a little Strib bashing before I go?

      Today, the Star Tribune has an editorial calling W. a liar because he said blacks get shortchanged by Socialist Insecurity.

      The Pres. pointed out that blacks, on the average, live shorter lives than whites, on the average, and thus, on the average, don't get as much back as whites would.  A 'lie' and a 'vile canard,' thunders the Strib.  Blacks do quite well out of SS.

      Evidence?  Well, the SS admin. and the GAO both supposedly did studies that show this to be false, although the Strib can't actually be bothered to link to the studies, or give us any other source information.  Still, we do get some arguments:
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.

      Hmmm, maybe I'm missing something, but doesn't this evade the issue?    While this is a good argument that low income whites make out, it doesn't show that blacks actually collect these progressive benefits.  Quite possibly the lower life expectancy cancels out the progressivity, or more than cancels it.

      It is also argued that:
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.

      Again, maybe I missed it, but when did W. propose to get rid of SS disability?  If he didn't, then the only proper comparison is present retirement and survivor benefits, vs. how retirees and survivors would make out under the Bush plan.  Since no data is given, there's no reason left to believe the Strib.

      Make that "almost no data," please.  The GAO is quoted as saying
"In the aggregate, blacks and Hispanics have higher disability rates and lower lifetime earnings, and thus receive greater benefits relative to taxes [paid] than whites."

      That strongly suggests that when you factor out disability, blacks get shafted by SS.  In other words, the Strib seems to be the one who's lying, not the President.

      More bashing on the Strib and SS in my next post.



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