–Why I hate affirmative action

The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology.

O.K., I don’t hate the concept of affirmative action; I hate the execution. Think of the way it’s been practiced in the colleges. A minority student may supplant a white student, even if that white student has better academic qualifications. The minority student receives extra points for being a minority. Somehow, it seems fundamentally unfair.

I know. I know. Minorities have been treated unfairly for centuries, and affirmative action doesn’t begin to make up for it. But under the heading, “Two wrongs don’t make a right,” I object to unfair treatment against anyone. And at what point does today’s unfairness balance yesterday’s and tomorrow’s unfairness? Does it ever end?

Further, this execution of affirmative action – giving extra points for being a minority – hurts America, because it lowers college academic standards (unless we flunk them out after letting them in – a terrible thought). Sure, a lot of dumb jocks also are getting in, and I object to that, too. But why exacerbate the flow of under-qualified students to our colleges?

Then, there is the affirmative action in the job market, which also tells employers to give preference to minorities. The same problems exist as with schools. The execution is unfair, and less qualified people are employed at the expense of the majority.

The execution of affirmative action should be changed from substitution to addition. Here’s what I mean. Previously, I’ve suggested paying students a salary, for attending all grades, 1 through 16 and beyond. This would help financially challenged families cope with school costs and encourage attendance. A more detailed explanation is at Salary for Attending School and at Salary for Attending School, 2nd Paper

The program would not cause replacement of more qualified students, but rather add the less financially blessed students to the national college mix. Less academically fit students would go to less academically challenging schools, thus not lowering overall school standards. Further, schools could offer fewer or lower scholarships, the money for which now could be spent on educational improvements.

Similarly, the elimination of the FICA tax would encourage the hiring of lower paid employees. Today, a business paying an employee $30,000 per year currently must pay an additional $2,295 to the government – a significant sum. Without FICA, business could afford to hire more employees, which would ease unemployment among all groups. Or businesses could take that FICA money as profits, which would stimulate the economy, thereby helping to reduce unemployment.

Additionally, more help should be given to small business. That is where minority hiring, promotion and economic growth is most effective. (No ceiling when the owner is a minority) Theoretically, the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers assistance with loans, education, licensing and other legal, financial and operational matters. In actuality, the SBA is underfunded for that mission. I visualize an agency with the resources to hire experienced business people, who could mentor start-up and small business owners, walking them through the entire small business process.

In summary, I favor the motives of affirmative action, but where execution calls for substitution, rather than addition, it is unfair and economically harmful to America. We must think of, and develop, affirmative action efforts that not only help lift the disadvantaged, but do so while lifting the entire economy, and not hurt any of America’s non-minority population.

As always, I’d like your ideas.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

No nation can tax itself into prosperity