A couple of readers have e-mailed me that perhaps what Rep. Thomas was suggesting is that Social Security benefits should be adjusted to take into account the recipient’s likely lifespan, and since men and minorities tend to die earlier than whites and women, then the former should get higher payments than the latter. But it seems to me that—if we are to go down this road of considering likely lifespan at all (and we haven’t)—there would be better characteristics to look at instead of race and sex (e.g., health and family histories, drinking and smoking habits, membership in sky-diving and hang-gliding clubs, etc.). And it opens a real political (and legal) can of worms if we start looking at race per se. For starters, do we have a one-drop rule? As I said, a bad idea.