While promoting Social Security Reform, President Bush has drawn outrage from Black so-called "Leaders" by pointing out that shorter Black life-spans make the current Social Security Program a transfer of dollars from Blacks to Whites. Black males presently subsidize the retirement of Whites, because Black workers who pay into the system all their working life, tend to die off after collecting only a few years of benefits. Black females fare only a little less badly, by living a few more years before becoming the benefactors of White retirees.
Blacks would benefit disproportionately from President Bush's proposal to level the playing field, by giving Americans ownership of their retirement savings, because Blacks are disproportionately penalized by the existing system. So, where do Black "Leaders" stand? Firmly, in defense of the status quo!
Hillary Shelton of the NAACP is typical of high-profile spokespersons for Black advocacy organizations. She charged President Bush with being "disingenuous" in his emphasis on the benefits of Social Security Reform to Black Americans. But it is George W. Bush whose talk of Black empowerment is matched by policy offering ownership and individual control of assets, while Black "Leaders" talk empowerment, but defend dependence on a Government Program that short-changes Blacks. So, exactly who is disingenuous?
Black "Leaders" will risk their credibility and can expect to have a hard time persuading other Black Americans that it is better for them to hang on tight to the short end of the Social Security stick, in order to protect the political futures of the heirs of FDR's legacy. Liberal interest groups like the NAACP rightly fear that many Black Americans will agree with President Bush that they should look out for the future of their own heirs.