I believe it was from Ward Connerly that I first learned one of the unintended consequences of affirmative action programs: Individuals are set up to fail. Students who would have done just fine at, say, a good state school, are sent to Yale where they drop out at higher rates from the more academically challenging program.
What brings this to mind is the sub-prime mortgage fiasco and the general business cycle that the Fed initiates by gaming the interest rate. The effects of these things seems similar to affirmative action programs in this sense: They set people and institutions up for failure by enabling them to take on more than they can handle. People are given mortgages that they can’t really handle. Banks build their business on a foundation of sand. Businesses undertake projects that turn out to not be justified by the resources that are truly available.
In all this, the hope seems to be that we’re going to be the nation where everyone is above average. Or to put it in the classic words of Frederic Bastiat: “The State is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”1:13 pm on September 15, 2008 Email Stephen W. Carson