"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Pardon My French

CBS News - Sex, Race And Social Security:
(AP) The chairman of the House tax-writing committee said Sunday that President Bush's drive to overhaul Social Security should lead to consideration of a value added tax or other ways to fund the entitlement program.
Congress also should consider basing benefits on such factors as race, sex and the job a retiree once held, said Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Calif.
"We also need to examine, frankly, ... the question of race, in terms of how many years of retirement do you get based upon your race. And you ought not to just leave gender off the table, because that would be a factor," Thomas said.


Can it possibly be, in this twenty-first century, in what is purportedly a civilized country, that the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is actually suggesting basing the minimum retirement age on race and gender? So, some people would be expected to work until they're 70, because their life expectancy, based solely on their inclusion in a group of millions, is longer?

Life expectancy in the United States:

All races
National Average: 77
Men: 73
Women: 80

National Average: 72
Men: 69
Women: 76

Caucasian Americans
National Average: 78
Men: 75
Women: 80

So, with the retirement age at 68, and the average life expectancy at 77, you get 9 years of retirement. Basing a new retirement age solely on gender, men would get to retire at 64, while women would have to work until they're 71. That's probably sounding pretty good to Mr. Thomas, don't you think? I've got a suggestion for him--if he wants to enjoy a longer retirement, he should consider mixing in a salad now and then.

Slicing by race alone (sorry, I couldn't find figures for other non-Caucasian races, not that I expect any system based on race coming out of this administration would break any more finely than "white" and "other"), African-Americans would retire at age 63, and caucasians at 69.

Breaking it down by race and gender, African-American men would retire first, at 60, followed by caucasian men at 64, African-American women at 67, and caucasian women at 71.

I am NOT working until I'm 71. No way. And I'm fortunate enough to have a job with a desk and a nice padded seat. Are we going to make the mail carrier trudge through a Minnesota winter on her artificial hip? What about janitors? Shelf stockers?

How about this, Mr. Thomas: instead of penalizing people for belonging to groups with traditionally high life expectancies, why don't we work on ways to give everyone the opportunity to enjoy generally good health, barring untreatable genetic conditions? Ever wonder why the life expectancy for African-Americans is so much lower than that for caucasians, Mr. Thomas? Think it just might have something to do with poverty, education, and the availability of affordable medical care? Do you think maybe if we fixed some of those problems, more people would have stable, lucrative employment and therefore pay more into the Social Security system before they retire...at a reasonable age?

2 rejoinders:

Fourth pew, center sounded off...

Civilized country? With Shrub as Fearless Leader?
Yep. And I'll be the next Pope.

Anonymous sounded off...

Hmmm...now if only the next pope hadn't been handpicked by the current one to be just as conservative, nay, reactionary as good ol' boy JP II. Makes the shrub look positively compassionate.

--lapsed and then some