As news continues to roll in on the elite college admissions scandal, the country is becoming more and more shocked by the sophistication and audacity of the parties involved. The media has speculated that wealthy parents like Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were corrupt or just plain greedy. The New Haven Register recently cited Ralph Baker’s Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead for solutions to the scam:
Ralph Baker of Brooklyn, New York, said he predicted a scandal like Varsity Blues in his 2012 book “Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids from Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead.” The book was about a traveling amateur basketball team, the New York Shock Exchange, and Baker’s work to teach them financial literacy.
He said he saw how “the colleges with the biggest endowments, Yale, Harvard, Stanford, they are selling these kids bling, filet mignon three times a day. … One of the colleges had a manservant by a heated pool. That’s what they were selling.” Smaller schools were forced to spend on such amenities as well, he said, driving up tuition.
Baker’s solution is to treat the prestigious schools as for-profit businesses. “If you tax these wealthy colleges, the behavior will stop. They’re acting in a for-profit manner,” he said.
Baker also said he advocated taxing donations to colleges “when their kids are at the school,” a concept proposed by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, R-Oregon, on Wednesday. Wyden’s bill would end deductions to college before or while a donor’s child is enrolled at the school. “Middle-class families don’t have access to this back door for their children,” Wyden said, according to The Hill. “If the wealthy want to grease the skids, they shouldn’t be able to do so at the expense of American taxpayers.”
Shock Exchange chronicled how wealthy colleges were cesspools of bribes. The book’s recommendations that wealthy colleges should be taxed has been co-signed by Wyden, President Trump, the Senate Finance Committee, House Ways & Means Committee and Congressman Tom Reed.
The trials for wealthy parents and their co-conspirators will start later this month. The legal teams for the plaintiffs will likely quote Shock Exchange when making their arguments as to how the scam (i) cost worthy students an opportunity to attend top schools and (ii) hurts U.S. competitiveness.