San Diego Soliloquies

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Lawyers and Numbers Don't Mix

Hugh Hewitt proves that minimal competence with Google doesn't substitute for a solid education. In the link cited, he points the reader to a table "proving" that Black folk don't live so long, therefore they should support Social Security reform so their kids can not live long either. Or something

Listen, I'm only going to say it once, then I'm going to let all my conservative friends dangle from their own ropes. Selling SS reform based on life expectancies that are shortened by social ills that you haven't done bupkis to fix is not going to endear you to the black community. The reason life expectancy skews so radically for Black males is that a significant number of black male children don't make it to adulthood. And we as a society, but most particularly conservatives as a whole, don't care enough to do something change this. Once a black man reaches late middle age he will just as long as anyone else on a statistical basis.

Poor Hugh could have saved himself from this embarrassment if he had actually looked at the table, particularly the lower right hand corner. See those low numbers for black folk? See how it jumps up by 1970? That would be programs such as rural electrification and the Great society getting infrastructure, particularly sewers, into areas that the local white folk hadn't considered a priority. When your kids stop dying in infancy you get quite the bump in overall life expectancy. Also, look at the column for white women. How do you get a 10 year increase in 30 years? How about cutting down on deaths in child-birth with antibiotics and prenatal treatments?

The biggest downside of the Bush election and concomitant increase in conservative influence is the amount of truly stupid, thoughtless people that come to the forefront. The upside is the delicious irony of their venting about big government when it's obvious that no one but the government would pay to have them spread such foolishness.

You're missing something pretty big here. The high mortality rate for teenage black males isn't about infrastructure and disease, it's about crime and violence, which you can trace to two sources: the most obvious one is drug gangs defending their turfs and engaging in all that old honor-killing stuff, but before you get to that you have to understand why it is that young blacks are so much more willing to get into gangs than young whites are. The standard explanation is money, but it's more or less a mask for the real issue, which is family structure.

Young boys who grow up in fatherless families join gangs to get some reinforcement for their male identity and some structure. And fatherless families are poor families, because they don't have father's income even if they have child support. So that's your culprit.

And who's responsible for all the fatherless black families (70% of black children are born out of wedlock)? Well, at least in part you have to blame the welfare system which liberalized its rules to cover "abandoned" mothers in addition to widows and orphans sometime in the 50s. That lead to the "man out of the house rule" and a culture that endorses fatherlessness. And it was all done by well-meaning liberals.

The Republican welfare reform that Clinton was bullied into signing in 1995 tries to correct all this, but there's a lot of momentum to overcome.

Thanks for asking.
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San Diego Soliloquies