Merry Ostara! This was in today's New York Times:
March 20, 2005
G.O.P. Courts Blacks and Hispanics on Social Security
By EDMUND L. ANDREWS
As part of their campaign to overhaul Social Security, White House officials and Republican strategists have begun a push to persuade African-Americans and Hispanics that Social Security, long thought to be of benefit to them, is a bad deal.
That is a LIE. As we go along, you'll see that Social Security is a great deal for Low income workers, and in some cases, it is the only support they have. If these accounts aren't protected, working people will quite literally die from poverty. In America. It's that simple.
Republican officials argue that blacks are being shortchanged under the current Social Security system because they tend to die earlier than do whites and to collect retirement benefits for fewer years.
When you hear a Republican using statistics, get out your bull-shit detector and think :Fuzzy Math.
In a parallel effort aimed at Hispanics, they focus on the wealth that people could build through the sort of individual investment accounts that the Bush administration has proposed.
Bill Maher famously says that the problem in America is that everybody is looking forward to the day that they are wealthy. He's right. People vote to protect the fortune they're going to win in the Lottery. Of course, actual lottery winners are a statistical anomalie, and actual winners usually end up poor again, or at least miserable, but they aren't thinking rationally. They aren't thinking at all. They are "having faith" that things will work out. This is important:
YOU will Never be Wealthy enough to matter to the Republicans
That kind of wealth is old money. You have to inherit it, and you have to be raised in the social structure that supports it. No lottery and no scholarship to Harvard will get you into the realm where you will benefit from Republiican policies. It doesn't matter how hard you work, how lucky you are, you will never be that rich, and you'd better wake up and vote like you know it. These lying bastards will steal the bread out of your babies' mouths if you let them.
"We are not privatizing Social Security," Hector V. Barreto, the administrator of the Small Business Administration, said in a recent appeal to Hispanic leaders here. "This would be voluntary - voluntary personal retirement accounts."
Voluntary personal accounts that can leave you with nothing. Accounts that will funnel MILLIONS that should be going to support working people like you - old people, sick people- into the pockets of wealthy brokerage firms.
Morgaine-ismÂ© #34 : "It's just another Republican trick to get a hold of your money."
They are stealing from you. They've been stealing from you. Social Security is YOUR MONEY and they want to take it away from you. You need it. They don't. They're rich enough. They own the whole world - they make money from the bombs they drop on innocent women and children. They make money by not paying you a living wage or giving you health benefits. They make money by shipping your factory jobs and now your white collar jobs over seas. They save money by turning undocumented workers into slaves in their fancy homes and on their factory farms. They don't give a shit about you, or your kids. You have money. They want it. They want all of it, and they have to keep you poor, uneducated and struggling to do it.
African-American and Hispanic communities are strongholds of Democratic support, and retirees in each group rely more heavily on Social Security benefits than whites do.
Those soup lines will be full of black and hispanic people who have no retirement funds.
But Republican Party officials are stepping up their efforts, enlisting black and Hispanic business executives, evangelical church leaders and even college students.
Remember - you'll never be white enough, or rich enough to be one of them. Jesus did not want poor people to support the rich. They are not "Good Christians" because they claim to "defend traditional marriage". They hate you just as much as they hate gays. They just need your votes. Once they have them, they'll cut you loose and you'll suffer the consequences while they get richer.
Ken Mehlman, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, has in recent weeks spoken to a forum of black voters in Maryland, black students at Michigan State University and the National Black Chamber of Commerce in Trenton.
You'll never be that rich.
"African-American men get on average two to four years of retirement benefits, while white Americans get 10 to 12 years of benefits," said Tara Wall, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee. "The odds are stacked against African-Americans."
Are you thinking "'fuzzy math"? Do you sense the pungent aroma of bullshit?
Administration officials are also courting national Hispanic groups like the National Council of La Raza, which has yet to take a clear stand on the issue. They also have been booking interviews on Spanish-language television and radio for Mr. Barreto and other promoters of President Bush's plan.
It's fun the be the girl everyone wants to take to the dance. Republicans are the guys that'll leave you with a black eye and a torn dress then go home with a rich, white girl their family approves of, dig? Screwed, blue and tattooed.
The effort has infuriated many who say that Social Security is more important for their communities than it is for whites.
That's an understatement. Do you make $50,000 a year? No? Then odds are you will have little if anything other than Social Security to live on when you are old. Do you really want Wall Street skimming off the top? They tend to leave nothing behind.
"It's one of the best deals that poor and working poor can get, and blacks unfortunately are overrepresented in those groups," said Representative Charles B. Rangel, Democrat of New York and a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus. "If one of the appeals to blacks is that they're not getting a fair shake because they die earlier, it would seem to me that they would at least address the question of why they die earlier and what we can do about it."
Tax cuts, HUD cuts, education cuts, no health insurance is not going to help extend the life expectancies of minorities. They'll all do just the opposite. You'll die younger and more impoverished because of Bush's policies. If they mess with Social Security, you aren't likely to die in a hospital - medicare is a part of it.
Studies by the Treasury Department and the Government Accountability Office indicate that Social Security provides more generous benefits to low-income workers, blacks included, even after accounting for shorter life expectancies.
You benefit most. That means you stand to lose the most.
Social Security is the only source of income for about 38 percent of black retirees and 40 percent of Hispanic retirees, according to government data. In contrast, only 18 percent of white retirees receive income exclusively from Social Security.
Look at those numbers and think of all the old people you know. For every 10 elderly black people you know, 4 of them have nothing to live on except Social Security. Ditto, elderly Hispanics. If they lose their pensions in the stock market, what will all those poor old people do? Clinton did away with most of the welfare. There is virtually no safety net. What are we going to do, make Soylent Green out of them? They barely make ends meet now. What's left once Wall Street takes their big-assed commissions? Or if you invest with the next Kenny-boy Lay?
The system is intended to be more generous, relative to taxes paid, to low-income workers. Retirement benefits replace about 70 percent of working income for a person who earns $10,000 year. But benefits replace only 28.5 percent of earnings for a person who earns $70,000.
It's your money. Don't let them get their greedy hands on it.
But critics have argued for years that Social Security is less "progressive" than it looks because poorer people tend to die younger than do affluent people.
LIE. LIE. LIE.
Now pay attention:
The average life expectancy for black males is about 69 years, compared with 75 years for the average white male, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In theory, that greatly reduces the average lifetime retirement benefits for black men.
But the gap is smaller for people who actually reach retirement because black life expectancies are heavily affected by infant mortality and violence. A black man who turns 65 has a life expectancy of 79.6 years, only two years less than that of a 65-year-old white man.
They skew the numbers by counting your children who die from lack of decent health care. If you had a job that paid a living wage and health insurance, your life expectancy would be higher. They're underpaying you, shortening your life, then turning around and trying to make you think you'll have more if you let them have access to money you've already earned.
African-Americans also receive a disproportionate share of disability benefits and survivor benefits, which are paid to spouses and children of workers who die early.
So if you do such ridiculously hard labor or have such poor health care that you die in your 40's, at least your kids will have some money to sustain them. If you die early, your widow will still be able to eat. The proposed changes may reduce or eliminate this. Are you going to trust these lying greedy bastards with your children's welfare after you're gone? Because they couldn't care less. Your kids are just a body to fill a uniform - a uniform they'll die in because Texas' enconomy relies heavily on war profiteering.
African-Americans account for about 12 percent of the population, for example, but African-American children account for 23 percent of children who receive Social Security survivor benefits.
What are those kids going to do if their mommy or daddy makes a bad investment?
Mr. Bush has indicated that he would not make any changes to the Social Security disability program, whose benefits are financed by a separate part of payroll taxes.
Disability benefits are calculated in part based on estimates of what a worker's future retirement benefits would have been if he had kept working.
Well, that's something, but watch it get harder and harder to get your disability benefits. If you get sick right now it can take up to 5 years, and you have nothing in the mean time. If your family can't support you, you're homeless.
Protecting the survivor benefits under Social Security could be even more difficult because those are paid from the same pool of taxes used to pay retirement benefits. A Treasury Department study in 1996, which analyzed Social Security records from 1951 through 1988, concluded that people at all income levels received more in benefits than they had paid out in taxes, even after adjusting for inflation.
KIDS AT RISK
The Treasury economists concluded that a higher mortality rate "does not reverse the conclusion that Social Security net returns are strongly progressive."
In other words, their fuzzy math is wrong. It does benefit you, and you stand to lose a lot if they change it.
The accountability office, the investigative arm of the Congress, reached a similar conclusion in 2003. It calculated that whites ultimately received slightly more benefits than did blacks and Hispanics at every income level. But those differences were small compared with the higher benefits offered to people at lower income levels.
"If you took a snapshot today and asked who benefits the most from Social Security, it would be African-Americans," said Robert Johnson, the chairman of Black Entertainment Television and a supporter of Mr. Bush's approach.
OK, lIsten to the bullshit meter going off the chart. A Rich Media Owner acknowleges that blacks benefit most, then turns around and supports Bush. Think "Media Consolidtion" and "Tax Cuts". That guy's kids will never want for anything. If he dies right now, they have trust funds. They have health care. They have a roof over their heads. He's going to make money off this deal - YOUR money.
Supporters of private retirement accounts say this could be a big political opportunity for Republicans.
"The Democratic Party is so dependent on huge margins in the black community that if even 25 or 30 percent of blacks back personal savings accounts it would be a big gain for Republicans," said Michael Tanner, the director of the Project on Social Security Choice at the Cato Institute.
Does that sentence say this is a big opportunity for blacks? NO.
It says it's an opportunity for Republicans. They aren't working for you. They're working to keep themselves fat and happy off the money you worked yourself to death to earn. These are not your friends.
Many large African-American organizations, like the National Associated for the Advancement of Colored People, remain adamantly opposed to Mr. Bush's plan.
They oppose it because they know it will destroy their communities.
Hispanic groups are more divided. The League of United Latin American Citizens has firmly opposed Mr. Bush's call for private accounts.
But the National Council of La Raza has taken a more nuanced position. Last month, the organization said it welcomed the debate over Social Security but "does not believe that the system needs to be dramatically restructured."
This makes me sad. Hispanics are letting their hatred of gays and submissiveness to the Church get in the way of their common sense. Bush is not a friend to Hispanics, either. I don't care if he has an Hispanic nephew. I don't care what he says about immigration - he wants your vote. He needs your vote.
Look, I'm not shilling for the Democrats. Both parties are owned by the same corporate interests. If we had any sense, every one of us would be in the Green Party. But they own the playing field so if we have to choose one of two, it better be the Democrats. You don't want to live in the police state that the Republicans will create if they aren't checked. The Dems might be a little lame, but at least they aren't flat out evil.