21 November 2016

Meritocracy, My Ass

It appears that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and his brother got into Harvard because their father donated $2½ million.

When one considers the obvious influence that we wields with the President-elect, this does not bode well for the rest of us:
I would like to express my gratitude to Jared Kushner for reviving interest in my 2006 book, “The Price of Admission.” I have never met or spoken with him, and it’s rare in this life to find such a selfless benefactor. Of course, I doubt he became Donald Trump’s son-in-law and consigliere merely to boost my lagging sales, but still, I’m thankful.

My book exposed a grubby secret of American higher education: that the rich buy their under-achieving children’s way into elite universities with massive, tax-deductible donations. It reported that New Jersey real estate developer Charles Kushner had pledged $2.5 million to Harvard University in 1998, not long before his son Jared was admitted to the prestigious Ivy League school. At the time, Harvard accepted about one of every nine applicants. (Nowadays, it only takes one out of twenty.) 

I also quoted administrators at Jared’s high school, who described him as a less than stellar student and expressed dismay at Harvard’s decision.

“There was no way anybody in the administrative office of the school thought he would on the merits get into Harvard,” a former official at The Frisch School in Paramus, New Jersey, told me. “His GPA did not warrant it, his SAT scores did not warrant it. We thought for sure, there was no way this was going to happen. Then, lo and behold, Jared was accepted. It was a little bit disappointing because there were at the time other kids we thought should really get in on the merits, and they did not.”


I began working through the list, poring over “Who’s Who in America” and Harvard class reunion reports for family information. Charles and Seryl Kushner were both on the committee. I had never heard of them, but their joint presence struck me as a sign that Harvard’s fundraising machine held the couple in especially fond regard.

The clips showed that Charles Kushner’s empire encompassed 25,000 New Jersey apartments, along with extensive office, industrial and retail space and undeveloped land. Unlike most of his fellow committee members, though, Kushner was not a Harvard man. He had graduated from New York University. This eliminated the sentimental tug of the alma mater as a reason for him to give to Harvard, leaving another likely explanation: his children.

Sure enough, his sons Jared and Joshua had both enrolled there.
This raises an obvious question: Why did their father, who went to NYU, a highly respected school, drop millions of dollars to get his kids into Harvard?

Because going to Harvard is like become a made man for the mob.

The undergraduate experience at Harvard, according to a alumni (a relative who is in academe and former Clinton economist Brad Delong), is simply not that special.

That does not matter: it is an entrée into American nobility.

It's why the banksters who blew up the world never faced the possibility of jail time: It was inconceivable that the Ivy League educated prosecutors would frog march the Ivy League educated banksters out of their offices in handcuffs.

It's a twisted satire of noblesse oblige.


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