Bribery can get you into top schools. (This is news?)


The mainstream media is obsessed this week with parents who got their under-qualified kids into prestigious colleges by using a fixer who funneled bribes to “certain college officials,” as Alia Wong of The Atlantic put it before stating the obvious:

The country’s elite have long used their wealth to get their kids into top colleges via legal and widely recognized means — legacy and athletic admissions tend to favor the wealthy, and those who can pay for test prep and expensive sports get an additional leg up. In extreme cases, wealthy parents make hefty donations to schools, or, for example, pay for new campus buildings. The 33 parents now being charged allegedly opted instead for organized conspiracy.

“The media focused on this story because it’s crude and involves a few celebrities,” I said to my friend Swamp Rabbit. “They usually ignore college admission scams. There are no front-page stories about mediocre students like George W. Bush and Jared Kushner getting accepted at Ivy League schools.”

“Of course there ain’t,” the rabbit said. “Unethical and legal is okay, but unethical and illegal gets you arrested. What else is new?”

Nothing is new, I told him. The cost of education (and everything else) keeps growing, along with the gulf between the wealthy and the rest of the country. As the student loan bubble expands, it’s clear that the middle class — what’s left of it — no longer has the earning power to handle college costs. The poor never did.

So a lot of people walk around feeling angry and frustrated. Some of them, the dopes who voted for Trump, blame the cost of higher education and the rest of their woes on Mexican desperadoes and so on. Others just step back and say the hell with all politicians, and thus help monsters like Trump come to power and make the situation even worse.

“You must be one of them experts,” the sarcastic rabbit said. “So tell me, when are the peeps gonna get wise?”

I thought of the busload of Democrats running for president — Beto O’Rourke is the latest — of all the confusion and in-fighting up ahead.

“I don’t know,” I said. “But when they do, it won’t be because of the mainstream media.”

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