By using blacks' low life expectancy as an argument for privatization, Mr. Bush is in effect taking it as a given that 40 or 50 years from now, large numbers of African-Americans will still be dying before their time.
Is this an example of what Mr. Bush famously called "the soft bigotry of low expectations?" Maybe not: it isn't particularly soft to treat premature black deaths not as a tragedy we must end but as just another way to push your ideological agenda. But bigotry - yes, that sounds like the right word.
Here's a link, but it will only work for another week, so I'm putting the whole column in the comments. If a lawyer from the NYT reads this, well... no one reads this blog, so I'm not realy worried.
Oh, and people on the right love to bash Krugman and say he's shrill and full of it. I'd really like to see the counter-argument to a column like this one. I cannot imagine one.
[UPDATE]: Wait no longer. Jesse at Pandagon finds the Nation Review's Donald Luskin's response and takes it apart 'graph by 'graph. In his column, after practically resorting to "..some of Bush's friends are black" defenses relating to Condi Rice, Luskin accuses Krugman of "playing the race card." Jesse takes that old Republican standard and comes up with the best line of the year so far:
...why is it a crude "race card gotcha" to say that fixing the race-based problem Bush is promoting to the high heavens should be a priority? Bush slammed down the entire race deck, pushed all his race chips into the pot, and is waiting to see if he's going to get race-called. If Democrats are playing the race card, Bush is running the race casino.