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As a software developer and company co-founder who has lived in Palo Alto since the early 1990s, I understand the extraordinarily important contribution that immigrants have made to our technology industry over the last half century and the crucial role they play in maintaining American competitiveness.

I’ve found it unfortunate that for years top Silicon Valley companies have faced a desperate shortage of H-1B visas, which are intended to allow them to hire foreign workers possessing unique skills. These severe immigration restrictions have led top companies such as Facebook, Google, and Apple to lobby Congress for an immigration reform package that includes a large expansion of this visa program, currently capped at 85,000 per year. However, these efforts by the tech community’s FWD.us and other groups have ended in repeated failure.

One reason for this political failure has been the scandalous nature of the current H-1B visa system. Although originally intended to apply only to unusually skilled individuals, the visa program has been misused as a means of eliminating the jobs or driving down the salaries of ordinary American tech workers.

Over the past year, The New York Times has described how a large fraction of annual H-1B visas are captured by low-end outsourcing companies such as TCS, Cognizant, and Infosys, which are then hired by corporations such as Disney to replace their in-house tech workers with cheaper immigrant labor.

Longtime American employees are forced to train their immigrant replacements, then eliminated in mass layoffs so that these wealthy corporations can boost their profits. Since so many of these H-1B workers are paid less than their American counterparts, this process also exerts continual downward pressure on the incomes of tech workers throughout our economy.

Under such circumstances any significant expansion of H-1B visas is merely a recipe for destroying one of the few remaining well-paying job categories in our society and further impoverishing the American middle class. This is a clear violation of the legislative intent behind the creation of the H-1B visa program.

The obvious solution to this political and economic dilemma is not to expand but instead to reform the H-1B system.

H-1B visas constitute a scarce government resource that is now being provided under an annual first-come, first-serve procedure, with companies allowed to submit an unlimited number of individual applications. This is a totally absurd allocation model, and allows companies to easily game the system. As a result, in 2014 outsourcer TCS received over a dozen times the number of H-1B visas for its low-end immigrant tech workers as did Apple for its elite hires.

The obvious solution is to switch to a market-based alternative, with the government instead auctioning off these visas, thereby providing those crucial immigration slots to the companies to which they provide the greatest value.

Under such a reform proposal, the Googles, Facebooks, and Apples of our country would easily outbid the outsourcing firms, whose only competitive advantage is the low salaries they pay their immigrant workers. And since the former might end up bidding $20,000 or more merely for the right to hire a particular foreign worker, there would be absolutely no downward pressure on the wages of America’s millions of existing technology workers. Meanwhile, any additional costs incurred by these top companies would be negligible compared to the value of the lost business opportunities they currently suffer when they are unable to hire the extremely talented foreign workers they require.

Sometimes the best means of fixing a broken system is simply forcing it to comply with its original intent.

Ron Unz, a former theoretical physicist and software company co-founder, is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in California. He wrote this for the Mercury News.

(Reprinted from The San Jose Mercury News by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Economics • Tags: H-1B, Immigration, Silicon Valley

The greatest problem with most universities today is that tuition is much too high, forcing an entire generation of students into long-term debt-servitude. Total student loans now exceed $1.2 trillion, and millions of students will probably never be able to pay them off.

During the mid-1970s, tuition at UCLA, Berkeley, and the other UC campuses was only $630 per year. Now the annual cost averages around $15,000, having increased many times faster than inflation.

An important factor has been the huge rise in educational expenses. Undergraduates now enjoy four years of access to nicer food, fancier dormitories, and Olympic-quality swimming pools, but must then spend 10 or 20 years paying back the crippling student loans that covered those temporary luxuries.

However, the biggest factor in rising expenses has probably been the huge growth in the administrative staff. A couple of decades ago there was one administrator for every two faculty members, and now the numbers are roughly equal. Doubling the number of these non-teaching administrators, some of whom receive outrageous salaries, explains where much of the extra money has been going.
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One way of cutting tuition would be to persuade the state legislatures in California and around the country to allocate many billions of additional taxpayer dollars to increase public subsidies to their state colleges and universities. But most government budgets are very tight, so this seems unlikely to happen.

Therefore, the only apparent means of substantially lowering tuition is to drastically cut the expenses, especially those unnecessary administrative costs. Liberals and conservatives should unite behind this important political project, backed by the millions of students who desperately need cuts in their extremely high college tuition.

Ron Unz is chairman of Free Harvard/Fair Harvard, a slate of candidates running for the university’s Board of Overseers on a platform of immediately abolishing undergraduate tuition. He is also a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in California.
(Reprinted from Zocalo Public Square by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Academia, Tuition
Keeping English, Raising the Minimum Wage, Fixing Immigration
RonUNZ

I’m willing to take clear stands on issues, including some controversial ones, regardless of ideology or political orientation. Maybe you’ll agree with me and maybe you’ll disagree with me, but at least you’ll know what I believe.

As a U.S. Senator, I’ll carefully listen to both sides of every issue, do my own research, and support the policies that I believe are best for our country and the American people. But here are some of the major issues currently driving my campaign.

And here’s some additional information on who I am and where I stand:

If you find my forthright stand on these controversial issues refreshing in a candidate, you can DONATE HERE—but nothing over $99!

 

Keeping English in the Schools

All immigrant children must be taught English as soon as they enter school if they are to become successful, productive members of our society. As a U.S. Senator, I would propose federal legislation requiring English in our public schools.

For decades, millions of students from a Hispanic family background were automatically placed in Spanish-almost-only “bilingual education” programs, and as a result they had a very difficult time learning how to properly read, write, or even speak English.

Then in 1996 a group of immigrant Latino parents in downtown Los Angeles, led by a leftwing ex-Catholic nun, began a public boycott of their local elementary school for refusing to teach their children English. Their protest received widespread media attention, and I eventually contacted them, surprised at the outrageous nature of the system.

The following year I launched the “English for the Children” Prop. 227 campaign, aimed at dismantling California’s heavily entrenched “bilingual education” system and requiring that all children be taught to read, write, and speak English in our public schools.

We were opposed by nearly all the powerful political interests in California. The Chairman of the State Republican Party and the Chairman of the State Democratic Party both opposed Prop. 227, as did all four candidates for Governor, Democrat and Republican alike, while President Bill Clinton came out to California to campaign against us. Nearly every major newspaper in the state urged a No vote, as did every major union, and we were outspent on advertising 25-to-1. Nonetheless, we won in a landslide, by the widest margin of any contested initiative since Prop. 13 in the 1970s.

Within months, most California schools began teaching their million-plus young Latino students in English rather than in Spanish, and the results were remarkable. All the major newspapers that had strongly opposed Prop. 227 began running numerous stories about how well the new system was working, how easily Latino children were learning English, and how happy their parents and their teachers were with the changes.

The founding president of the California Association of Bilingual Educators declared himself a born-again convert to English immersion, and promoted the change in the Washington Post and CBS News. The liberal Democrat who served as President of the State Board of Education followed a similar path. Within four years the academic test scores of over a million immigrant students increased by 30%, 50%, even 100%.

I launched similarly successful “English for the Children” initiative campaigns in other states, including Arizona and Massachusetts, usually winning in huge landslides. Due to my efforts, bilingual education largely disappeared from schools all across the country, with more and more states following California’s example and recognizing that intensive English instruction was the best educational approach to take with young immigrant children.

In California itself the issue had been entirely dead and forgotten for a decade or more, with almost everyone perfectly content with the new system and nearly a full generation of young Latinos having grown up learning English perfectly well as soon as they started school.

Therefore, I was totally outraged in 2014 when the Democrats and Republicans in the State Legislature united to attempt to completely repeal my Prop. 227 on the November 2016 ballot and reestablish the disastrous system of bilingual education in California.

This proves just how absurdly out of touch the political establishment of both political parties has become and was the main reason I decided to run for office.

 

Raising the Minimum Wage

A much higher minimum wage would solve many of our serious social and economic problems, while supporting conservative principles. As a Republican U.S. Senator I would propose raising the American minimum wage to $12.

Not only do I strongly support a large increase in the federal minimum wage, but I believe that I have already played a major role in moving that issue back to the center of American politics.

Just a few years ago, raising the minimum wage was an issue almost entirely ignored by political leaders, even Democratic ones.

A large fraction of all Republicans believed that the minimum wage was an old-fashioned idea that made no economic sense, and were glad that inflation had drastically reduced its value since 1968. Even many Democrats agreed with this.

Then in Fall 2011 I published a 12,000 word article advocating a very large rise in the national minimum wage as the simple solution to many of our most complex and intractable social and economic problems. My suggestion of $12 per hour was enormously higher than anything previously supported by almost any prominent liberal or Democratic policy advocate, let alone any significant number of elected officials.

James Galbraith, a prominent liberal economist picked up on my idea and began promoting it in his writings, as did leftwing journalist Alexander Cockburn in the pages of The Nation and elsewhere. The centrist New America Foundation solicited an additional 4,000 word minimum wage paper from me, and Ralph Nader enlisted my support for launching a major minimum wage lobbying campaign in Congress, while various union-backed groups began similar efforts in cities and states.

By January 2013 President Obama had unexpectedly made a hike in the minimum wage an important element of his State of the Union Address, although he was merely proposing a $9 figure, while Economics Nobel Laureates Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz had dropped their long opposition to minimum wage laws, and become influential advocates.

Then at the end of 2013, I suddenly launched a $12 per hour minimum wage initiative campaign in California, generating a great deal of state and national media coverage, winning over influential centrist journalists, and allowing me an opportunity to present my advocacy in a wide variety of major publications.

Although my measure failed to quality for the ballot, my arguments won over Phyllis Schlafly and several other prominent conservative figures, greatly broadening the ideological backing for the idea. Raising the minimum wage is a natural issue for conservatives since it cuts social welfare spending and raises the value of work, while forcing businesses to pay for their own employees rather than shifting the costs to the taxpayer. And very low-wage jobs are the magnet that draws most illegal immigrants.

In direct response to my campaign, efforts were launched in Los Angeles to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15, which became law the following year. Similarly, a few weeks after my effort was launched, Sen. Mark Leno introduced a bill into the California Legislature to establish a statewide $13 minimum wage, and after lengthy political battles, this figure was eventually raised to a $15 level and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in April 2016.

I helped achieve all these results without holding any political office or having any major public platform. As a Republican U.S. Senator from California I would be an extremely effective advocate for enacting a much higher nationwide minimum wage.

 

Solving Our Immigration Problems

Immigrants are generally fine people, but immigration is too high, causing our society all sorts of problems. As a U.S. Senator, I would propose cutting legal immigration and drastically reducing illegal immigration.

I doubt there are many political figures in California with stronger pro-immigrant credentials than my own.

When Gov. Pete Wilson began attacking immigrants in his 1994 reelection campaign, I challenged him for renomination, shocking political observers by capturing 34% of the vote as a pro-immigrant conservative Republican. Afterwards, I was a top featured speaker at the enormous 70,000 person march against Prop. 187 in Los Angeles, the largest pro-immigrant protest in America history but boycotted by virtually every other politically prominent non-Latino.

But over the last dozen years or so I’ve concluded that our national immigration levels are too high and should be sharply reduced.

Mostly due to immigration, America’s population growth rate has been the highest in the developed world, even twice as high as that of China. An exponentially growing population puts enormous pressure on our environment and natural resources while reducing our quality of life. I was born in Los Angeles in the early 1960s, when California was truly the Golden State. Since then, our population has increased by 150%, mostly due to immigration, and many things are much worse, while we now suffer from a severe water shortage.

Even more serious is the negative economic impact on most of our working population, which is forced to compete for jobs and wages with new immigrants, who are often desperate to take any job at all. I believe it’s more than pure coincidence that over the last forty years our immigration levels have been very high and during that same period the incomes of most ordinary Americans have stagnated. Probably the group suffering the most economic harm by being forced to compete for jobs with new immigrants are already established immigrants.

Substantially reducing our legal immigration rates would make sense, but such a change would have little impact unless something is also done to drastically reduce the possibility of continuing illegal immigration.

Most illegal immigrants are perfectly fine people, and many of them have established strong roots here and become part of our society. They’re hard-working and productive, and don’t commit much crime. But something must be done to prevent additional illegal immigration in the future.

The overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants come to America for jobs, and our media pundits correctly say “they take the jobs that Americans won’t.”

But the reason that Americans won’t take those jobs is that the wages are too low, and only recently-arrived illegals are desperate enough to take such terrible jobs. A much higher minimum wage would make such jobs much more attractive to native-born Americans and existing immigrants, and the job-magnet that produces illegal immigration would begin to disappear, making other border-enforcement mechanisms much more easier to implement. The government could even heavily subsidize the return of unemployed illegal immigrants to their home country.

Minimum wage laws are far easier to enforce than immigration laws, and very stiff penalties for repeated violations, even including prison sentences, would ensure almost total compliance.

Once the magnetic lure of American jobs disappears, traditional immigration enforcement measures will become much more effective and future illegal immigration will be reduced to very low levels.

By sharply reducing legal immigration and enormously reducing future illegal immigration, the economic prospects and quality of life for most existing Americans will be greatly improved, including for both legal and illegal immigrants currently living here.

So the first and most important step in solving our immigration problems is a large hike in the national minimum wage.

 

Cutting College Tuition

The gigantic increase in college tuition over the past few decades has condemned an entire generation of young Americans to decades of debt-servitude. As a U.S. Senator, I would propose forcing universities to cut their costs and cut their tuition.

Over the last couple of decades tuition at most public and private colleges has increased to enormous and unreasonable levels, and as a consequence student loan debt now exceeds $1.2 trillion dollars, inflicting huge financial burdens on young Americans.

Most absurd is the situation at Harvard and other very wealthy schools. Although the annual investment income on their enormous endowments may be twenty-five times the size of their net tuition revenue, they continue to extract enormous tuition payments from American families. Harvard and its peers have become gigantic, tax-exempt hedge-funds that run high-tuition colleges off to one side, an absurd situation.

I recently organized a slate of candidates, headlined by Ralph Nader, to run for the Harvard Board of Overseers on a platform demanding that Harvard immediately abolish college tuition. If we are successful in achieving this goal, then other very wealthy elite universities such as Yale, Princeton, and Stanford would probably soon follow.

Once our most elite national colleges have eliminated tuition, there will be enormous political pressure on the much larger number of public colleges and universities to focus as strongly as possible on reducing their tuition. During the mid-1970s, tuition at UCLA, Berkeley, and the other UC campuses was just $630 per year, but today the figure is closer to $15,000 per year, having increased many times as fast as inflation.

Many analysts have pointed to the huge growth in the number and salaries of college administrators, who now sometimes outnumber faculty members, as responsible for the huge rise in college costs. I believe our public colleges and universities, including the prestigious University of California system, should take all possible steps to reduce unnecessary costs, thereby allowing a sharp reduction in tuition.

 

Admitting the Iraq War Disaster

Despite being total failures, the same people responsible for the Iraq War still dominate the foreign policy of both the Democratic and Republican Parties. As a Republican U.S. Senator I would work to remove them from all national influence.

A decade ago my old friend Bill Odom, the three-star general who ran the National Security Agency for Ronald Reagan, publicly declared that the Iraq War was the “greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history”.

He was exactly correct then, and his judgment seems even more prescient today, as the rise of the Islamic State and other powerful extremist groups has led to an endless cycle of war and terrorism in the Middle East, now directly threatening European and American cities. Furthermore, prominent economists have estimated that the long-term cost of the war to our country may run as high as five trillion dollars.

Most of our recent foreign wars in the Middle East area, under both the Bush and the Obama Administrations, have been expensive and immoral foreign policy disasters. Republicans Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan were right about these issues, as were all the other experts, both liberal and conservative, who have been saying the same thing.

I don’t necessarily claim to have the solutions to the ongoing Middle Eastern crisis, but nothing useful can be accomplished until we admit that the Iraq War was a total disaster and absolutely not in our national interest. Today, the exact same individuals who promoted the war still absolutely dominate the foreign policy of the Republican Party and are also very influential within the Democratic Party. Until we completely repudiate them and their dreadful mistakes, we will not be able to move forward.

A few weeks ago in a Republican presidential debate, Donald Trump strongly denounced the Iraq War and the lies of the Bush Administration that promoted it, sending shock waves throughout the Republican Party establishment. Just days later, Trump won an overwhelming landslide victory among the Republicans of ultra-conservative and pro-military South Carolina, demonstrating that “a silent majority” of ordinary Republican voters may understand what most of their leaders do not.

I am very encouraged by these developments and hope that other Republican leaders may find the courage to take the same position.

 

Opposing Affirmative Action

Affirmative action is unfair to white people, Asian people, and everyone else. As a U.S. Senator I would propose completely dismantling it.

I’ve been totally opposed to Affirmative Action for forty years because I’ve always consider it unfair. I came from a liberal Democratic family background, and the single biggest reason I became a Republican under President Ronald Reagan was his strong public opposition to Affirmative Action.

Over the years I’ve probably published over 100,000 words regarding Affirmative Action, possibly more than almost any other Republican policy writer. During the 1980s and 1990s, the vast majority of prominent Republicans and conservatives took positions very similar to mine.

Unfortunately, since the beginning of the 2000s, the Republican Party and most of the Conservative Movement have begun retreating on this important issue, rarely talking about it and often even supporting it under another name. President George W. Bush gave speeches advocating “Affirmative Access.”

In late 2012 I published a 30,000 word cover story, The Myth of American Meritocracy, focusing on the extremely corrupt and unfair admissions practices at our elite colleges. The article was widely praised as one of the best published that year, and inspired much subsequent political and legal effort.

One of my central findings was the very strong statistical evidence for Asian Quotas in Ivy League admissions, although these are endlessly denied by the university administrators, just like their predecessors had denied the existence of Jewish Quotas during the 1920s. The 1978 Supreme Court decision in the landmark Bakke case was based on Harvard’s claim that it did not use quotas, so perhaps 35 years of legal support for Affirmative Action has been based on fraud.

Racial quotas and Affirmative Action in general are totally corrosive and dangerous policies in a multi-ethnic society such as the United States and should be eliminated.

I believe the issue is crucial to America’s future and my position today is exactly the same as it was when I followed Ronald Reagan into the Republican Party.

 

Controlling the Wall Street Casinos

Because of unfair government policies, Wall Street has grown rich while Main Street has grown poor. As a Republican U.S. Senator, I would favor ordinary Americans against the interests of the Wall Street Oligarchs.

Some prominent international economists such as Michael Hudson have characterized most of our entire bloated financial services sector as parasitic on our real economy, and such an analysis sounds plausible to me.

Over the last forty years, Wall Street has gotten richer and richer while the incomes of ordinary Americans have completely stagnated, and I think there may be a connection between these two development.

And when these lucrative gambling casinos overextended themselves and faced collapse and bankruptcy during the 2008 financial crisis, the politicians they controlled, Democrat and Republican alike, rushed to bail them out with taxpayer dollars. Now they’re back to doing better than ever before, while most Americans have still not yet recovered from the Great Recession.

Economics Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz has describes America as having a government “Of the One Percent, By the One Percent, and For the One Percent,” and I agree with him.

We need to return to having a government run for the interests of the American people rather than owned and controlled by financial manipulators.

As a U.S. Senator I would oppose future bailouts and support Bernie Sander’s call for a Tobin Tax on financial transactions to reduce Wall Street speculation.

 

Ending Our One-Party Political System

America has become a One-Party state, with both the Democrats and the Republicans controlled by the same people. As a independent-minded U.S. Senator, I would work to give Americans a real choice in Washington.

The endless foreign and domestic policy disasters of the Bush Administration directly led to the election of Sen. Barack Obama, who was almost universally perceived as Bush’s polar opposite on all issues. His vote represented a national mandate to repudiate all of Bush’s policies.

Instead, President Obama immediately reappointed Bush Defense Secretary Robert Gates to continue his management of our foreign wars, reappointed Benjamin Bernanke to run the Federal Reserve, and promoted Bush appointee Timothy Geither to be Treasury Secretary. He continued Bush’s unpopular foreign wars and financial bailouts, leading many critics to eventually speak of the Bush/Obama Administration.

In many respects, America’s political system has evolved into a one-party pseudo-democracy, in which most of our top political leaders distract the voters by noisily attacking each other on all sorts of hot-button but insignificant issues, while remaining in almost lock-step agreement on most major foreign policy and economic matters because they are in thrall to the same major donors who control them.

I’m trying to offer voters a real choice on the issues in my U.S. Senate campaign, and I will accept no donation over $99.

 

Knowing Where I Stand

I’ve published a half million words on public policy issues, and everything is online and searchable. Read my writing and you’ll know where I stand.

MeritocracyCover-Front Most candidates running for office and other politicians have talking points or position papers prepared for them by their staff, which are often based on polling results, focus groups, or the views of their political consultants. Sometimes they understand what they’re saying, but many times they don’t. And as the polls and the consultants change, their positions often change as well.

I’m not a politician but over the last twenty-five years I’ve published many hundreds of thousands of words of articles and columns on all sorts of issues, including controversial ones, and in nearly all cases, what I’m saying today is very similar to what I was saying in the early 1990s. Therefore, it’s unlikely that I would suddenly change my positions if I were elected to the U.S. Senate.

All my writing is online and searchable, so that anyone who wants to find my position on an issue can easily do so.

My most important articles have also been collected together in a 700 page book, which includes a very comprehensive index. Just look in the index, read the text, and you’ll discover my opinions.

 

Exploring My Background

Over the years there have been several major profiles of my activities and background in the major media.

TNR-UnzThis Man Controls California
Ron Unz’s Improbable Assault on the Powers That Be in California
The New Republic, Monday, July 19, 1999, Cover Story

The California Entrepreneur who Beat Bilingual Teaching
The New York Times, Sunday, June 14, 1998, Front Page

Hooked on Politics
The Los Angeles Times, Thursday, July 16, 1998

Ron Unz, Swim Instructor
The Economist, Saturday, May 2, 1998

 

Considering the Opinions of Others

I’ve been well known for decades to prominent journalists and academics, and they’ve formed a clear opinion of me.

I’ve never held elective office, but I have organized and led numerous major political campaigns over the years and also written a great deal on public policy issues, and my qualifications for serving in the U.S. Senate must largely rest on that background.

When I published my collected writings last year, several prominent academics and journalists contributed some very kind and generous remarks about my work and my activities, which I provide below.

With high intelligence, common sense, and advanced statistical skills, presented transparently and accessibly, Ron Unz has for decades been addressing key issues in a rapidly changing America, enlightening us on the implications and effects of bilingual programs in American schools, clarifying the issues around crime and immigration so often distorted in political and popular discussion, placing the question of an increased minimum wage effectively on the national agenda, and addressing most provocatively the issue of affirmative action and admission to selective colleges and universities, revealing some aspects of this ever disputed question that have never been noted or discussed publicly before. He is one of our most valuable discussants and analysts of public issues.
—Nathan Glazer, Professor Emeritus of Education and Sociology, Harvard University, and author of Beyond the Melting Pot.

Few people on the planet are smarter than Ron Unz or have more intellectual curiosity. This fascinating and provocative collection of essays explores a remarkable range of topics, many of them high profile, some of them arcane. Unz’s analysis is always serious and invariably challenges prevailing wisdoms, which is to say there are a lot of controversial arguments in this book. No one is likely to agree with every one of his conclusions, but we would be better off if there were more people like Ron Unz among us.
—John J. Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, and author of The Israel Lobby.

Ron Unz is a brilliant essayist. His interests run from ancient history and black holes to contemporary issues like racial quotas and the minimum wage. He moves swiftly to the heart of a subject with cogent analysis and limpid argument. This collection of essays sparkles with unexpected gems ranging from critiques of the mainstream press to appreciation of dissenters from common wisdom such as General Bill Odom and Alexander Cockburn. In every paragraph of these essays the reader enjoys a penetrating intelligence at work.
—Nicholas Wade, former writer and editor for The New York Times, and author of Before the Dawn, The Faith Instinct, and A Troublesome Inheritance.

Over the past two decades as an original thinker and writer Ron Unz has tackled complex and significant subjects such as immigration, education, economics, race, and the press, pushing aside common assumptions. This book brings together in one volume these pieces from a variety of publications. Unlike other essayists on culture and politics, Unz shreds ideology and relies on statistical data to support his often groundbreaking ideas, such as his 2010 essay on “The Myth of Hispanic Crime.” And his 2014 efforts to put a $12 an hour minimum wage bill before California voters is an example of how the action of an individual can draw public attention to an issue he believes is necessary for the economic health of the Republic. Anyone reading this book will learn a great deal about America from an incisive writer and scholar who has peeled back layers of conventional wisdom to expose the truth on issues of prime importance today.
—Sydney Schanberg, Pulitzer-Prize winning former reporter and editor for The New York Times, whose story inspired the 1984 film The Killing Fields.

Provocative and fearless, sometimes infuriating, and quite often, persuasive. And when American’s low-wage workers get their coming big raise, the apostate conservative Ron Unz will deserve a decent share of the credit.
—Prof. James K. Galbraith, author of The End of Normal and Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe .

 
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I was very unhappy with the unfair and inflammatory article that the Harvard Crimson ran regarding my political associations, and they suggested I submit an op-ed in response. I provided the piece below, which they requested be trimmed for length prior to publication, which I did.

They then notified me that after further consideration, they had decided that most of my points were irrelevant or unfair and should not be published: I could only make the arguments that they themselves approved. Perhaps they felt that the effectiveness of my response might risk “confusing” some of their readers.

Several individuals have emphasized to me that outrageous character assassination based on guilt-by-association must be answered quickly, so here’s the rebuttal that the Crimson refused to publish, and you can decide for yourself if their decision was appropriate.

I appreciate that the Crimson has afforded denied me an opportunity to reply to their highly misleading article of the 14th, featuring the particularly lurid headline “Overseers Candidate Donates to ‘Quasi-White Nationalist’ Group,” and supposedly documenting my links to various rightwing extremists. Coming at the peak of alumni voting, such unfair accusations have the potential to torpedo our Free Harvard/Fair Harvard slate of Overseer candidates.

Over the last dozen years I’ve certainly provided donations to a very wide range of political groups and individuals, including leftwingers, rightwingers, and libertarians. Many of these groups are on the political fringe and espouse controversial views on all sorts of different issues. I might agree with them on some things and disagree with them on others, but frequently find their ideas a useful counterpoint to the conventional wisdom presented in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, which I spend hours closely reading every morning.

Much of the Crimson article focused on my financial support to VDare, a rightwing and very hard-core anti-immigrant webzine, with the dollars representing less than 1% of my total donations over the last decade. Since immigration issues have always been one of my main interests, I read VDare quite regularly and am on friendly terms with their staff. But as everyone knows from the hundreds of thousands of words I have published on immigration-related topics, I’ve always been one of America’s leading pro-immigrant voices, hence almost invariably on the exact opposite side from VDare. I find it odd that the Crimson article left out that significant detail, which surely would have made their account of my donation seem even more shocking and newsworthy.

Sometimes headlines may be factually correct but highly misleading. For example, back in 1994 I was a top featured speaker at the gigantic 70,000 person march in Los Angeles against Prop. 187, the largest pro-immigrant political protest in American history but boycotted by virtually every other prominent non-Latino political figure in California. As it happens, many small Communist groups participated in that rally, waving their Communist flags. So the Crimson could have run the lurid headline “Overseer Candidate Marched with the Communists in Los Angeles.” Accurate, but perhaps a bit skewed and misleading.

Similarly, the Crimson alludes to individuals supporting the assassination of police officers. The reference was to a piece I ran a couple of months ago by Bob Trivers, a brilliant evolutionary biologist but also a completely unrepentant radical militant, who had once served as the only white member of the Black Panther Party. It’s absolutely correct that he has advocated the assassination of “racist” white police officers, a view I personally do not share and one which is probably more extreme than anything VDare or any of my rightwing columnists has ever proposed. But the column was drawn from his recent book, which was widely praised by some of the world’s most prominent public intellectuals, including Richard Dawkins and Harvard’s own Steven Pinker. So perhaps the Crimson should run a headline “Richard Dawkins Praises Book Advocating the Assassination of White Police Officers.”

I reject “guilt by association” and just because I am personally friendly with various people, publish their writings, or even provide them some financial assistance, that does not necessarily mean that I endorse everything they say. For example, I very strongly disagree with Sen. Bernie Sanders on a whole host of important topics, but since on balance I like his positions much better than those of his competitors, he is my favored presidential candidate, and the only one to whom I have donated. Similarly, during the last couple of presidential elections I wrote in Ron Paul’s name at the top of the ticket, not because I agreed with him about everything, but because the other choices seemed so unsatisfactory.

I have a long record of closely associating with people of sharply different views. I am often identified as the former publisher (2006-2013) of The American Conservative (TAC), an opinion magazine that absorbed over 60% of my donations over the last decade. TAC was co-founded by Pat Buchanan and always had a strongly Buchananite stance on immigration, trade, and social issues, positions I did not share. However, I strongly supported their lonely opposition to the disastrous foreign wars of the Bush Administration, afterward continued by the Obama Administration.

Anyone who wishes to know my own views may easily examine my writings over the past twenty-five years, given that all 500,000 words are online and fully searchable. Furthermore, my most important articles are collected in a 700pp book together with a very comprehensive index. Just look in the index, read the text, and you’ll discover my opinions.

Over half my writing has dealt with matters of race, ethnicity, and social policy, including immigration, affirmative action, and bilingual education. Although often controversial, my articles have won praise from some eminent scholars and journalists, situated all across the ideological spectrum. If Crimson journalists wish to denounce me, they are free to do so, but they should focus on my own views rather than those of other people I happen to know.

 

Although the Crimson never revealed the source of their accusations, these almost exactly match the contents of a “dossier” someone forwarded to me around the same time, a file apparently prepared by some activist group and intended to cast me in an extremely unfavorable light, especially on racial issues.

I was stunned by the contents, since the Stasi-type researchers who compiled it were not only extremely malicious but also ignorant and incompetent, even getting wrong such simple factual details as the name of my webzine.

For example, they characterized my $600,000 grant to Gregory Cochran as secret, even though his University of Utah announced it at the time in a public press release, boasting that it was larger than a MacArthur Fellowship. Dr. Cochran is an extreme rightwinger, who has stubbornly disputed my own immigration writings and even banned me from his website when I demonstrated the logical flaws in his “Gay Germ” theory. However, he is also a brilliant evolutionary biologist whose Accelerationist theory is hugely important, very possibly worth a future Nobel Prize. His press release emphasized that theory, but the ignorant Stasi investigators have apparently never heard of it.

The dossier sought to tar me as a nasty “racist,” opening with mention of my supposedly sinister phrase “the End of White America.” Indeed, two of my longest and most important articles on America’s ongoing racial transformation have been “California and the End of White America” in 1999 and “Immigration, Republicans, and the End of White America” in 2011, and I would urge everyone interested in the topic to read them. The former caught the attention of CBS News, which invited me to discuss my ideas on their morning show, available on YouTube for anyone for anyone who wants a taste of my views without reading 20,000 words of text.

In another particularly egregious case, the Stasi researchers claimed that I had endorsed a particular “white nationalist” political strategy although one of my aforementioned articles had actually totally debunked that theory. Since my article was 12,000 words long and the Stasi agents so lazy, I can understand why they never bothered reading what I actually wrote.

Finally, here’s a last, telling point. As I’ve said, the entire corpus of my writings of the last 25 years is conveniently available on the web in fully searchable form. Yet although the Stasi researchers exhaustively worked to portray my racial views in an extremely negative light, they did not include a single sentence of my own in their malicious dossier. So if they failed to find a single “incriminating” sentence anywhere among my 500,000 words of articles and columns, what does that indicate about the accuracy of their conclusions?

 

Victory Night for Prop. 227 in 1998. Credit: Sacramento Bee/Chris Pizzello/AP

As some of you may have already heard, a few days ago I made a last-minute decision to enter the U.S. Senate race for the seat of retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer in California. I took out my official papers early Monday morning and returned them with the necessary 65 signatures of registered voters on Wednesday afternoon, the last possible day for filing.

I am certainly under no illusions that my candidacy is anything but a tremendous long-shot. Over the two decades that have passed since Gov. Pete Wilson’s Prop. 187 campaign, California has been transformed into what amounts to a one-party Democratic state, with Republicans holding not a single statewide office and barely one-third of the State Legislature; GOP presidential campaigns rarely invest any time or money in hopeless pursuit of California’s 55 electoral votes. With the sole exception of Arnold Schwarzenegger—who was obviously a special case—not a single Republican has won a top-ticket statewide race since 1994, with candidates often losing by 20-25 points despite spending many millions or even tens of millions on their campaigns; and virtually all down-ticket Republican candidates have generally lost by comparable margins.

But the flip-side of this difficult situation is that the California Republican Party is so extremely feeble these days that my entrance into the race would hardly face strong GOP rivals. Neither of the other two Republicans running has ever held any elective office or boasts significant political accomplishments, they were tied at 3% in the most recent polls, and after a full year of campaigning, each had only raised about $50,000. As most readers are well aware, I’m hardly an ultra-wealthy “checkbook” candidate able to spend unlimited sums, but dollars in that sort of range I can easily handle.

The primary factor behind this sudden decision on my part was the current effort by the California Democrats and their (totally worthless) Republican allies to repeal my 1998 Prop. 227 “English for the Children” initiative. Although the English immersion system established in the late 1990s was judged an enormous educational triumph by nearly all observers, and the issue has long since been forgotten, a legislative ballot measure up for a vote this November aims to undo all that progress and reestablish the disastrously unsuccessful system of Spanish-almost-only “bilingual education” in California public schools:

After considering various options, I decided that becoming a statewide candidate myself was the probably the best means of effectively focusing public attention on this repeal effort and defeating it.

An important factor in my decision-making was the strong likelihood that Donald Trump would be the Republican presidential nominee. He and his campaign would almost certainly support keeping English in the public schools, but for obvious reasons he would hardly be the best political figure to be strongly identified with the No campaign. However, if I were a statewide candidate myself, heavily focusing on that issue, my standing as the original author of Prop. 227 would give me an excellent chance of establishing myself as the main voice behind the anti-repeal campaign. I also discussed the possibility of this race with some of my fellow Harvard Overseer slate-members, and they strongly believed that my candidacy would be far more likely to help rather than hurt our efforts, which this was another major consideration in my decision. Furthermore, running for office provides me with an opportunity to raise all sorts of other policy issues often ignored by most political candidates or elected officials.

This last point is one that I have frequently emphasized to people over the years, that under the right circumstances, the real importance of a major political campaign sometimes has relatively little connection to the actual vote on election day. Instead, if used properly, a campaign can become a powerful focal point for large amounts of media coverage on under-examined issues. And such media coverage may have long-term consequences, win or lose.

Just as a minor example, the 65 valid voter signatures I filed on Wednesday afternoon have already generated a bit of media coverage for the November attempt to repeal Prop. 227, which had previously received virtually no attention whatsoever. Even this handful of glancing discussion might mean that ten times as many Californians are now aware of the repeal effort as had been the case a week ago.

In 1998, our Prop. 227 was publicly opposed by President Bill Clinton, the Chairmen of both the California Republican and Democratic parties, all four leaders in the State Legislature, all four candidates for Governor, nearly every newspaper, every political slate, and every union, and we were outspent on advertising by a ratio of 25-to-1. Yet we won with 61% of the vote, probably the biggest landslide of any contested initiative since the legendary Prop. 13 in 1978, and easily outscoring both the previous Prop. 187 and Prop. 209, although each of these had been backed by many millions in television advertising. So the “English” issue is potentially a very strong one. Indeed, a few years later it seems likely that my similar Massachusetts initiative was accidentally responsible for launching Mitt Romney’s political career.

 

At this point, the crucial question is whether my campaign will last three months or eight, namely whether I can make it past the primary on June 7th. Under California’s unusual “top two” voting system, all candidates regardless of party affiliation are placed together on the primary ballot, and whichever two get the most votes go on the general election. As I’ve mentioned, the legacy of Pete Wilson’s Prop. 187 campaign has reduced the once-mighty California Republican Party almost to the ranks of minor party status, and it is quite possible that the November ballot will see a Democrat-vs-Democrat match-up.

The overwhelming favorite in the Senate race is California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a moderately liberal and somewhat bland San Francisco Democrat, who recently received the official Democratic endorsement, drawing nearly 80% support at the state party convention. The most recent statewide poll put her at 27%, far ahead of the 15% going to her Orange County opponent, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, who is regarded as something of a loose-cannon and is not particularly popular among her party colleagues. But each of these Democrats was still vastly ahead of the two Republicans in the race, who, as previously mentioned, were tied at just 3% each and had campaign war chests only a tiny fraction of the funds available to Sanchez, let alone Harris.

With one small exception, I have been almost totally out of California politics for over a dozen years, and my name is hardly a household word. So running as a Republican in this very unpromising political landscape, I would certainly place my chances of outpolling Sanchez in the primary and reaching November at considerably less than 50-50, with very long odds against my actually being sworn in as U.S. Senator in January.

Since I’m rather likely to lose, I don’t want to feel guilty about taking people’s money for a hopeless effort, and therefore won’t accept any donations over $99. Given that I’ll be saying some things and taking some positions that very few candidates ever do, donors can mentally budget their $99 contributions as providing a bit of “ideological entertainment value.” And it’s certainly been a very strange election year, with a Reality TV star having become the towering colossus in the Republican presidential race and a Socialist from tiny Vermont giving Hillary Clinton a huge battle on the Democratic side, so I suppose that anything could happen.

Indeed, the political affiliations of California registered voters are perhaps a little less unpromising than I have so far implied. These days, California registration is 43% Democratic and 28% Republican, but with independents having rapidly increased to 24%. And whereas the two other Republicans in the race are both long-time Republican Party activists and functionaries, rather unlikely to be able to draw significant independent or cross-over support, my obvious status as a complete political outsider with highly eclectic ideological positions and allies might prove potentially enticing to the nearly 60% of Californians who are not registered Democrats and even perhaps a noticeable slice of those who are. The massive national enthusiasm for both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders has certainly demonstrated the considerable popular dissatisfaction with the political establishments of both parties, and all four of my current opponents in this race certainly fall into that latter category.

Furthermore, the public seems to have a great longing these days for “political authenticity,” the sense that a candidate for office is more than merely the synthetic creation of his consultants and donors, robotically repeating his memorized and focus-group-tested slogans and buzzwords. In this regard, at least, I am quite strong, having published over the years a very wide variety of articles on all sorts of political topics, including highly-controversial ones, which because of my intended Harvard Overseer campaign, I recently collected and published as a 700pp book. My views on various policy issues may be dull or inflammatory, but they are certainly my own, and if I said exactly the same thing ten and twenty years ago that I am saying today, I am much less likely to suddenly change my views if I do somehow manage to reach high office. So any voters or donors who support me can feel reasonably confident that they know what they are getting.

With my unplanned candidacy just a few days old, my overwhelming need is merely establishing the rudiments of a plausible campaign. This includes providing a simple campaign website that can conveniently make available the full range of my policy positions and past writings. So this is the current focus of my efforts, and the next few months may be interesting and eventful ones.

 
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Over the last few months I’ve been much too preoccupied with my Harvard University Overseer project to pay much attention to the unfolding saga of the presidential race; I’ve closely read my morning newspapers as I always do, but not watched a single one of the endless debates. Still, even out of the corner of my mind’s-eye, the rise of Donald Trump certainly seems the political story of the decade or even the half-century, with the loud-mouthed Reality TV star now having a good chance of seizing the Republican Party nomination against the ferocious opposition of nearly every significant Republican faction and pundit.

But although I’ve been just as surprised at this remarkable development as anyone else, in hindsight perhaps my astonishment was more than it should have been. Based on absolutely everything I’ve read in my daily NYT+WSJ, Trump certainly seems an ignorant buffoon and a loose cannon, but being a loose cannon, he rolls around randomly, not infrequently in the correct direction, which is more than I can say for nearly all of his Republican rivals.

Consider the Iraq War and its aftermath, surely one of the central geopolitical developments of the last few decades. In the mid-2000s, my old friend Bill Odom, the three-star general who ran the NSA for Ronald Reagan, accurately characterized the war as “the greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history.” Yet today that calamitous legacy and its five trillion dollar total cost is warmly embraced by many of the top Republican leaders and publicly criticized by almost none of them.

However, just a couple of weeks ago, Trump blasted the war and the Bush Administration lies behind it on nationwide television during a Republican debate, inducing total shock within the Republican commentariat, shock that turned into apoplexy when he immediately afterward won a landslide victory in ultra-rightwing and pro-military South Carolina. Sometimes a single bold and honest statement delivered on national television can cut through endless layers of media lies and propaganda, and I only regret that Gen. Odom was no longer around to witness it.

Earlier this year, an ardent Trump supporter declared that his favored candidate was 95% a clown but 5% a patriot, and therefore stood head-and-shoulders above his Republican rivals, and this sounds about right to me.

 

The sheer worthlessness of today’s Republicans was brought home to me more directly in the last couple of weeks as I undertook a long-deferred but sadly necessary task.

As many are probably aware, my most significant achievement to date has been the series of “English for the Children” initiative campaigns I launched starting in the late 1990s, campaigns which over a few years time largely dismantled America’s disastrous system of Spanish-almost-only so-called “bilingual education” first in California and then across the rest of the country. The results were so overwhelmingly compelling, both educationally and politically, that the “English Wars” successfully concluded over a decade ago, with the failed programs largely disappearing from the schools and the very term itself almost entirely vanishing from the lexicon of the national media.

These days, it is naturally assumed by everyone that young immigrant children will easily learn English within a few months of starting school, and many millions have successfully done so, with enormous consequences for the future of American society. The entire controversy has been long forgotten by almost everyone.

Unfortunately, back in 2014 the California Republicans voted without dissent to place on the November 2016 ballot a measure completely repealing my old “English for the Children” Prop. 227 initiative and encouraging the reestablishment of Spanish-almost-only instruction throughout California public schools. Although at the time I wrote a couple of columns denouncing and ridiculing their stupidity, there really wasn’t much else I could do with the vote being so far away, and since I was heavily preoccupied with other matters, I placed the matter on the shelf:

California Republicans Vote to Restore “Bilingual Education”

English and Meritocracy: The Gullibility of Our Political and Media Elites

But 2016 has finally arrived, and in late February I decided I might as well begin organizing a No campaign for the November vote. So with considerable annoyance I dragged 25 large boxes of my old “English” materials out of the storage unit in which they’d been quietly gathering dust for over a dozen years, and began sorting through the contents.

My nostalgia was enormous. I looked over hundreds of news stories from leading publications all across America—left, right, and center—declaring the total failure of bilingual education and the remarkable, almost astonishing success of “English for the Children.” Although all of these news articles and many others are still available on our old “English” website in HTML form, the dramatic improvements in bandwidth and storage since the early 2000s have now allowed me to scan the articles themselves and display them in their original form, which much better preserves their original impact. All of this old material is now available in PDF packages on the simple but utilitarian “Keep English for the Children” website that I built over the last couple of days, located at www.KeepEnglish.org.

Given that a younger generation of journalists and political activists may never have even heard of “bilingual education,” there are considerable public benefits for their convenient access to these stories of the past, allowing them to learn from the hard-won wisdom of their elders. Therefore, here are links to some of the (rather large) PDF packages containing much of this important material:

The Prop. 227 Campaign

The Prop. 227 Aftermath

The Later Campaigns

Public Opinion on English in the Schools

Also, a couple of hundred television clips and interviews, including numerous long debates, one of them held at Harvard University, are available at our YouTube Channel:

 

MeritocracyCover-Front I first began collecting and organizing my old print articles early last summer, believing that having them all conveniently available in book form would be useful for my planned Harvard Overseer campaign. Now at very long last the regular hardcover edition of The Myth of American Meritocracy and Other Essays has been delivered from the printers and is available for easy distribution and open sale at Amazon.com, with a Kindle edition to soon follow.

Unsurprisingly, the entire process took far more time and effort than I ever expected, and given the relative paucity of nonfiction collections by mainstream presses, required quite a bit of thought to issues of organization and design, as well as the aesthetics of layout and typeface. The magnitude of this initial effort meanwhile persuaded me to incorporate more and more of my material into the text, since I would hardly be likely to publish any second collection in the future.

As a result, the volume ultimately came to include virtually all my print articles of the last thirty years and a few of my more recent web columns, thus pushing the length past 700 pages, including a lengthy and comprehensive index. When I cautiously opened my first shipped box this afternoon, I was quite pleased with the physical quality of what I held in my hand, and the first book published by the newly established imprint Unz Review Press seems of fully professional quality.

Given the absence of costly overhead and my lack of mercenary motives, I have priced the thick, attractive hardcover edition at an inexpensive $19.99. Free Amazon shipping is a nice option, though it may be another week or so until the Amazon.com’s own sales page is ready, displaying the book just like any produced by Harcourt or the Free Press, and also allowing international shipments and sales. Any journalist, writer, or academic wishing a complimentary copy for their personal use need only contact me to receive one.

The Table of Contents provides the organization and range, and my Preface provides a bit of explanation:

When considering a collection of previously published articles, unexpected patterns may appear. Such was the case as I reviewed the contents of this book, containing works originally written over a span of thirty years.

The earliest of my pieces are academic papers on the history of Classical Greece, attempting to reconstruct the true events of that era from sources that are often fragmentary, unreliable, and contradictory. Scholars in that field must seek to extract a measure of factual reality from a mountain of propaganda and distortion, knowing full well that embarrassing details are often completely omitted from the narratives of our informants.

While doing such research during the early 1980s I often told my friends how different ancient historical analysis was from that of modern times since “everyone knows” the basic facts about the wars and other major events of the twentieth century.

I was naive. There is a fitting symmetry that one of my earliest papers provided a careful analysis of the source material indicating that Alexander the Great had younger brothers whom he murdered when he came to the throne, while one of my most recent articles applied the same sort of critical analysis to present-day evidence, suggesting that the Vietnam military record of supposed war-hero Sen. John McCain may have actually been rather similar to that of the notorious “Tokyo Rose” of World War II fame. Over the last dozen years I have discovered that we live within the distorted matrix of “American Pravda,” and that determining the true events of our world requires much more effort than merely scanning the morning headlines of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

These writings also trace the evolution of my views in topics of race, ethnicity, and social policy, long my primary area of focus and the one that accounts for more than half the pages of this volume. In late 1999 I published a 9,000 word cover story on California’s racial transformation in Commentary, flagship organ of the neoconservative movement. That exposition took a strongly positive view of the immigration trends in our society, a stance I had also taken in numerous previous pieces. But a dozen years later America’s economic landscape had greatly changed, and when I published my 12,000 word sequel describing the racial transformation of our entire nation, it ran in The American Conservative—a leading anti-neoconservative outlet—where I argued that immigration levels were now far too high, also outlining a viable political strategy to curtail them.

That latter suggestion proposed a very large hike in the minimum wage, and this topic soon became the focus of much of my subsequent writing and political activity, which had previously had little connection to economic issues. I would like to think that my work has played a significant role in helping to move that important idea back to the center stage of American political life.

And then there is “The Myth of American Meritocracy,” the title piece of this collection, running well over 30,000 words with its many footnotes and appendices. Although our elite educational institutions have almost entirely ignored the massive, quantitative documentation that racial discrimination and endemic corruption lie at the heart of our allegedly meritocratic society, many of their victims have come to recognize the injustice of their situation, and I strongly doubt that our current system will long survive unchanged.

 

But why a book?

In an age when the Internet has so rapidly displaced traditional printed matter, does a bound collection of my writings make any sense, especially since nearly all of these are already available online?

I think so, and if you are holding this book in your hands, you might agree.

Different types of media are suitable for different forms of writing. The sort of short opinion pieces that once graced the op-ed pages of our vanishing newspapers are conveniently browsed on the web, just like the numerous informal blog posts that have largely replaced them. With attention spans dropping, much political debate is circumscribed by the 140 characters of a Tweet, but it is difficult to imagine such transitory sloganeering having much value in printed form. Meanwhile, popular fiction of any length is easily digested on a tablet or kindle, since a story is often read in short snatches of time, with the reader moving forward and rarely looking back.

But my own writings tend toward serious non-fiction of considerable length, with over half this book consisting of major articles running 4,000 words or more, many of them much longer than that. I find that material of such heft is best read in printed form, and a stack of twenty or thirty 8.5”x11” sheets obtained from a website is far less convenient for such purposes than the pages of a professionally typeset book.

Examine the table of contents, explore the pages herein, and judge for yourself whether this product is worth the paper on which it was printed.

I was enormously gratified by the remarkably kind and generous cover quotes my advance proofs received from several prominent academics and journalists, and with more than a little embarrassment, I make these available below:

With high intelligence, common sense, and advanced statistical skills, presented transparently and accessibly, Ron Unz has for decades been addressing key issues in a rapidly changing America, enlightening us on the implications and effects of bilingual programs in American schools, clarifying the issues around crime and immigration so often distorted in political and popular discussion, placing the question of an increased minimum wage effectively on the national agenda, and addressing most provocatively the issue of affirmative action and admission to selective colleges and universities, revealing some aspects of this ever disputed question that have never been noted or discussed publicly before. He is one of our most valuable discussants and analysts of public issues.—Nathan Glazer, Professor Emeritus of Education and Sociology, Harvard University, and author of Beyond the Melting Pot.

 

As most readers have probably heard, a few days ago we were notified by Harvard University that the alumni signatures on the nomination petitions we had submitted were sufficient in number, and our “Free Harvard/Fair Harvard” slate of candidates would therefore appear on the forthcoming ballot for the Harvard Board of Overseers.

An important public discussion may soon begin, perhaps extending far beyond the narrow confines of a single prestigious college and its alumni: Issues of college tuition and admissions fairness are widely contentious in today’s America. Furthermore, an extended campaign of months allows factual claims to be subjected to far greater scrutiny than the mere he-said-she-said ping-pong-match of a one-off media story, however prominent.

For example, take our original argument that the enormous annual income regularly generated by the Harvard endowment would allow the university to easily abolish undergraduate tuition, a suggestion that surely must have seemed shocking and implausible to many at first mention. Indeed, the initial New York Times story quoted Harvard spokesman Jeff Neal as dismissing that claim as “a common misconception,” one which ignored the fact that endowment funds were “largely restricted” by the contributors. And unsurprisingly, the vast majority of initial media stories deferred to Harvard’s position on such matters, accepting its credibility and treating our position as presumably mistaken; and without a campaign, that would have been the end of the matter.

However, the actual numbers seem decidedly on our side. Over the last few years, the investment income from Harvard’s endowment has averaged some twenty-five times greater than net tuition revenue, meaning that reallocating a mere 4% of that vast ongoing flow of income from mortgage derivative securities and private equity tranches would be sufficient to eliminate tuition. And in subsequent media interviews, Harvard officials specified that roughly 70% of their endowment is currently restricted, which implies that 30% is unrestricted, a figure vastly larger than the 4% in question, even excluding the huge annual total of unrestricted new donations. Thus, it appears that our original claims were entirely correct, and the only lasting impact of Harvard’s initial denial is upon the credibility of the individuals involved.

A somewhat similar situation had developed in late 2012 when I first called attention to Harvard’s transformation into a giant hedge fund and originally suggested that the university should therefore abolish tuition. Harvard quickly huddled with its external strategic communication firm and a top spokesman drafted a letter arguing that my article contained numerous inaccuracies which should be corrected. I immediately responded and I leave it to individual readers to read both sides of the exchange and decide for themselves who seemed to get the better of it.

Most recently, I explored Harvard’s endless claims that its existing system of financial aid is so generous that only the rich are soaked. Plugging a few hypothetical financials into Harvard’s own “Net Price Calculator,” I quickly discovered that a pair of public schoolteachers living in New York City would likely be forced to expend the bulk of their life savings in order to give their son or daughter a Harvard education. So either Harvard considers all NYC public schoolteachers to be “rich” or their statements to the media have been somewhat less than entirely accurate.

 

These are the facts we should keep in mind as we now consider some of Harvard’s claims regarding its existing admissions policy. Although “Fair Harvard” has always been an equal plank of our Overseer platform, and indeed the primary focus of several of our candidates, Harvard itself has appeared strangely reticent in addressing the issue, seeming to concentrate almost all their public statements on critiquing the “Free Harvard” proposal. Back in late 2012, I had published a piece in the NYT pointing to the strong statistical evidence for “Asian Quotas” at Harvard, and the rather brief and perfunctory Harvard denial contained absolutely no specifics whatsoever.

However, whenever I raised this issue in my conversations with journalists over the last few weeks, they immediately provided Harvard’s stock response that the large rise in Asian-American enrollments over the last twenty-five years clearly demonstrates the total absence of any anti-Asian bias. And indeed, there are far more Asians at Harvard College today than there were in 1990. The entire trajectory of Harvard’s undergraduate population since 1980 can be found in the public data made conveniently available on my own website, along with that of 5000-odd other colleges, drawn from the website of the quasi-governmental National Center for Educational Statistics.

But this glib argument on Harvard’s part completely ignores the dramatic rise of America’s Asian-American population, which has grown nearly 20-fold from a very low base since 1960. Obviously, the relevant statistic to examine at Harvard College is not the total number of Asians, but their per capita enrollment, as measured relative to their college-age population. Since the Current Population Survey of the U.S. Census provides a good estimate of the latter, the calculation is hardly a difficult one, either for Harvard or for any other elite college, and the changes over the last twenty years in the per capita ethnic enrollments of Asians, along with blacks, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic whites can be plotted in a simple chart:

HarvardEnrollmentTrends

Now obviously some degree of fluctuation in per capita enrollments at Harvard or any other college would be perfectly understandable, and indeed the figures for whites, Hispanics, and blacks all tend to go up and down a bit over time. But the per capita enrollment for Asian-Americans of college-age has shown an almost continuous decline over the last twenty years, now being 60% lower than in 1995. One would think that an apparent drop in enrollment of some 60% would have at least raised questions at Harvard’s admissions office. Has Asian academic performance collapsed during these two decades? Are Asians no longer applying to Harvard in large numbers? I’d hope we can disregard the possibility of any anti-Asian bias in Harvard’s vaunted “holistic admissions methods,” enshrined as exemplary by the U.S. Supreme Court in its landmark Bakke decision.

Yet oddly enough, those dramatic changes at Harvard seem quite similar to what happened at most other elite colleges during that same period. Producing similar charts is just as easy, and nearly all of them show exactly the same pattern, sometimes even exhibiting a drop in Asian enrollment significantly greater than that at Harvard (though with Princeton being one of the very few exceptions). For example, here are the charts for Yale and Stanford:

YaleEnrollmentTrends
StanfordEnrollmentTrends

These charts might help to explain the endless complaints and lawsuits from Asian-American activists and organizations over what they perceive as anti-Asian racial discrimination in elite admissions policy. Whether or not that happens to be correct, I’d be very curious to hear Harvard’s own explanation. Or might it even be possible that America’s most elite college never even noticed that per capita Asian-American enrollment had dropped by such a huge amount in just a couple of decades?

Inquiring minds wish to know. Perhaps journalists will as well.

Postscript:

As I indicated above, Princeton is something of an outlier in this twenty-year trend of very large declines in the per capita enrollment of Asian-Americans at top elite colleges, as may be seen from the corresponding chart:

PrincetonEnrollmentTrends

It may or may not be purely coincidental that a sharp turn-around in declining Asian-American enrollment there began around 2007, just after Daniel Golden of the Wall Street Journal reported the anti-Asian discrimination complaint filed by applicant Jian Li, which led to widespread coverage in the American media.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Harvard, Meritocracy
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This last Saturday night I took a red-eye flight to Boston accompanied by an all-important carry-on bag, containing some thirty pounds of signed nomination petitions for our Free Harvard/Fair Harvard campaign for the Harvard Board of Overseers.

With potentially major changes in the structure of American higher education hanging in the balance, I could not possibly trust Fedex or any other service for the safe Monday arrival of our petitions at the 17 Quincy Street Harvard offices, and hand-delivery seemed the only secure option. I’d originally planned my trip when huge winter storms had led to thousands of flight cancellations along the East Coast, so I separately booked both Saturday night and Sunday morning flights, with an eye towards possibly buying a last-minute third ticket to some other city along the Eastern Seaboard just in case snow blocked all incoming flights to Boston’s Logan Airport.

Fortunately, by the time our signature-gathering was complete and I boarded my JetBlue flight out of SFO, the Great Winter Storm of 2016 was merely a fading memory and both I and my precious cargo arrived without delay or incident.

Under normal circumstances I would have been loath to risk turning in our Harvard petitions on the last day available, Monday, February 1st, but our Overseer ballot qualification drive had been far more difficult and challenging than outside observers might expect. The number of signatures each of us required was hardly onerous—just 201 from among the 320,000 holders of Harvard degrees—but only physical signatures on special Harvard-printed nomination petitions were allowed, and for various reasons we had started our signature drive far later than I had originally planned. Excluding the delivery time of the blank petitions from Harvard itself, we had just a couple of weeks to locate our potential supporters, fedex them our nomination petitions, and receive their signed petitions in the Priority Mail return envelopes we provided. Naturally, most of the signatures arrived in the last couple of days, and late Saturday afternoon I was still nervously awaiting the day’s mail delivery just before leaving for the airport.

Despite all our concerns, we easily met our goals, and my heavy satchel on the flight to Boston Saturday night contained around 285 total signatures for most of our individual candidacies, providing a large safety margin over the required number. Virtually all our signers appeared absolutely legitimate, and unless the Harvard administrators choose to disqualify huge numbers of those alumni signatures on unreasonably trivial grounds, our slate will appear on the next Harvard Overseer ballot, with potentially major consequences. So we have now passed the first hurdle, though not without considerable nail-biting along the way.

 

Because I arrived in Cambridge very early Sunday morning and the Harvard offices did not open until Monday, I decided to spend the day trying to pad our numbers by doing some personal petitioning in Harvard Square and at various places around the university, having brought along some signs, large charts, and hand-outs to support such an effort.

During a full day of energetic petitioning, my success rate ran 100% among those who stopped in curiosity, asked questions, then declared themselves to be holders of Harvard degrees eligible to sign. Unfortunately, that total came to merely two individuals, as a cold New England Sunday deterred the busy and the sensible from dawdling in conversation with some obvious political crackpot sermonizing on Harvard’s vast wealth and absurdly promising to abolition Harvard tuition as a consequence.

A couple of pleasant young Crimson reporters also spent an hour or so reporting on my petitioning efforts and interviewing me, with a picture taken by their staff photographer and displayed on the front-page of their Monday newspaper accurately capturing the somewhat amusing street scene. Frankly, I doubt if even a single passer-by that day actually believed that my remarkably quixotic proposal had the slightest prospect of actual real-world success.

Petitioning near Harvard’s Science Center. Credit: Harvard Crimson

Still, a much larger number of current Harvard students or casual visitors did stop, listen, and take away some of our materials, and of these individuals not one opposed our project, with the great majority being enthusiastic supporters. So the secondary goal of my petitioning—to gauge the political temperature in the Harvard community—proved much more encouraging and successful.

On Monday morning, I waited in my local hotel for the fedex deliveries of those petitions signed too late to reach me on Saturday in California, then took a taxi and lugged my heavy bag of petitions to the Harvard offices for delivery to the friendly staff located there, receiving a signed receipt in return.

I then picked up a couple of copies of the Crimson issue featuring my local petitioning efforts, as well as President Drew Faust’s sharp rebuttal to our proposals, and went to have a cup of coffee with John S. Rosenberg, editor of Harvard Magazine. Just a few days earlier, I had been stunned by the sudden appearance of his remarkably long (9,000 words), thorough, and even-handed article on our Free Harvard/Fair Harvard campaign, and I was very glad to have an opportunity to meet the author himself and explain some of my forthcoming plans for the coming months. Afterwards I took a taxi to WBUR, Boston’s local NPR station, which had invited me to do a long in-studio interview segment on our campaign, which I think went quite well.

The voter base for our Overseer campaign consists of active Harvard alumni, and these individuals receive Harvard Magazine, probably pay quite a bit of attention to stories that run in the Crimson, and are heavily concentrated in the Greater Boston area, often listening to the local NPR station. Taken together, these sorts of media outlets are exactly the ones that help shape the perceptions of our potential voters, and so far I think their coverage of our efforts has been exemplary—probing, sometimes tough, but generally extremely fair. I suspect there will be many, many more stories about our campaign and the issues we are raising before the Overseer election results are finally announced in June.

 

What, then, of the issues themselves? For me, one considerable surprise has been just how much the Harvard Administration opposition to our campaign has focused on the “Free Harvard” issue, with the university spokesmen and its top officials repeatedly claiming that our proposal to abolish college tuition is completely unnecessary since Harvard already provides very generous financial aid, and also financially impossible or at least very burdensome and difficult.

In the original New York Times article, Harvard Spokesman Jeff Neal had claimed that legal restrictions on Harvard endowment funds made our proposal a non-starter. Former Senior Fellow of the Harvard Corporation Robert Reischauer made a similar point in an NYT letter to the editor. In fact, the Harvard Crimson article featuring President Drew Faust’s response was actually entitled “Faust Condemns Free Tuition Proposal from Outside Overseers Ticket” and my WBUR interviewer cited further statements from Neal along similar lines.

But despite the weighty credentials and elite credibility of these individuals, I believe the facts are very much on the other side.

Let us first consider whether our proposal is even legally and financially possible. As I have repeatedly pointed out, the university’s overall investment income averages some twenty-five times the size of its net college tuition revenue, and none of these Harvard officials have ever disputed my claim. The sheer magnitude of this disparity is effectively illustrated in a simple chart I have widely distributed:

Now it is perfectly true that a large portion of the Harvard endowment is bound by various donor restrictions, and according to the NPR interviewer, Neal claimed the figure was 70%, which does not seem unreasonable to me. However, that still leaves 30% of the endowment income as completely unrestricted, and since an allocation of merely 4% would be sufficient to abolish tuition, I cannot see any resulting difficulty. Furthermore, roughly half of all new Harvard donations each year are completely unrestricted, and this sum alone would easily be enough to swamp the costs now covered by tuition. I simply cannot understand the argument that abolishing tuition is financially or legally difficult, let alone impossible.

Meanwhile, what of Harvard’s other argument, that the current system serves the cause of financial equity by only soaking the wealthy while protecting the less affluent? It is endlessly claimed that today’s exceptionally complex system of financial aid means that only millionaires and such actually pay the stated costs of over $60,000 per year, while less affluent families are completely insulated from any resulting financial hardship.

To some extent this is certainly true. Families with incomes of $65,000 and below may send their children to Harvard completely free of charge, though I personally wonder just how many such American families are actually aware of this, rather than casually hear about a Harvard list-price of $60,000 per year and never even consider applying. But what about families with somewhat higher incomes? Is Harvard’s very complex—and totally secret—financial aid formula really as well-designed and equitable as its top university officials endlessly proclaim?

As it happens, Harvard provides a convenient “Net Price Calculator” on its website, useful for determining the cost of attendance based on one’s financial situation (though an NYT columnist has harshly criticized Harvard for using various software tricks to block any “comparison shopping” against its competitors).

Therefore, let us consider a very simple case, namely that of married couple, both longtime New York City public schoolteachers, having one child who is smart and talented enough to have been accepted at Harvard College.

Now NYC is an extremely expensive place to live, with the local cost-of-living perhaps almost twice the national average. The local teachers unions are strong and ensure a solid income for their members, with a base salary of at least nearly $93,000 for career teachers of 22 years service or longer; that may sound like a lot, but is more like $45,000 or $50,000 per year in a less expensive part of the country. Therefore, a pair of such public school teachers has a combined salary income of roughly $185,000 per year. Let us further suppose that over many years of diligent effort they have managed to accumulate (non-retirement) cash savings and investments of $200,000, which generates annual investment income of an extra $5,000 per year. I would hardly regard such a middle-class couple as being part of America’s wealthy elite.

Harvard apparently disagrees. Plugging these exact numbers into the Harvard Net Price Calculator indicates that those NYC public schoolteachers would be expected to provide a parental contribution of $44,000 per year, or $176,000 over the four years. So if they may choose to send their son or daughter to Harvard just so long as they are willing to spend almost their entire life savings for that privilege. Is this financially equitable?

What about a somewhat different case. Suppose over the years that same couple of NYC school teachers had encountered serious financial problems or unexpected expenses, perhaps medical bills beyond their insurance coverage, and as a result had no significant personal savings when their son received his Golden Ticket of an acceptance letter to Harvard. Surely, under such circumstances, Harvard would cover all the costs.

Apparently not. If we plug zero savings and zero investment income into the handy Harvard Calculator, we find the university still requires such parents to contribute $135,000 over four years. Presumably, it expects them to go massively into personal debt or sell their kidneys or (more realistically) take out a second mortgage on their home or apartment. Obviously, the most likely scenario is that they decide that a Harvard education is totally unaffordable to the non-wealthy, and instead send their son or daughter to a local state college. Meanwhile, Harvard remains totally mystified why such a large fraction of its current students come from wealthy families.

Now in the cases we examined, a total four-year parental contribution of $176,000 or even $135,000 surely seems like a huge amount of money to that family of NYC public school teachers. But how much do such sums matter to Harvard itself?

Well, over the last few years, Harvard’s endowment investment income—excluding all new donations—has averaged about $3.2 billion per year. That’s $9 million per day, or $365,000 per hour. So the insurmountable obstacle of $135,000 it would demand from that family of NYC public school teachers in difficult financial circumstances represents roughly 22 minutes of Harvard’s average ordinary investment income. 22 minutes of investment income. “Let them eat cake”…

It’s also important to remember that while those NYC public school teachers pay a huge variety of often heavy taxes—federal income taxes, social security taxes, state taxes, city taxes, sales taxes, property taxes—-Harvard University is totally tax-exempt, which is one reason its annual investment income is so extremely large. Years ago, I wrote an article pointing out that Harvard had actually become one of the world’s largest hedge-funds, with some sort of small school or college or something attached off to one side for tax reasons. Right now, it looks like Harvard and its peers will remain tax-exempt indefinitely. But I really think it’s quite unseemly for a tax-exempt hedge-fund to continue gouging families of public school teachers of their life-savings, while simultaneously denigrating them as members of America’s wealthy elite.

I suspect that in a few months time, the vast majority of the Harvard alumni who vote in the Overseers election will agree with me. And soon thereafter Harvard will indeed become free.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Harvard, Meritocracy

As many of you already know, I recently launched the “Free Harvard/Fair Harvard” campaign, aimed at electing a slate of five candidates to the Harvard Board of Overseers on a platform of (1) increasing the transparency of today’s opaque and abuse-ridden admissions process and (2) immediately eliminating undergraduate tuition as being unnecessary given the huge size of the endowment.

Although scarcely a single individual in America was aware of our plans until five or six weeks ago, our momentum has been enormous, and the New York Times ran a (somewhat suspiciously-minded) front-page story about our reformist campaign on Friday, which quickly sparked additional stories in the London Telegraph, the Harvard Crimson, New York Magazine, Time Magazine, and several other publications, along with considerable international coverage in Spanish, Turkish, and Chinese media outlets.

Harvard is the world’s wealthiest and most prestigious university, and if it were suddenly to abolish tuition under the pressure of a referendum vote of its 320,000 alumni, the resulting earthquake in the global academic community would have aftershocks far and wide. Indeed, some of Harvard’s most eminent scholars have already dropped me supportive notes, questioning the absurd rise of tuition at their own institution and at other universities over the past few decades, and very much hoping that our campaign might succeed in reversing this trend.

Certainly, Harvard hardly needs the money. Embedded below is a striking chart, showing the relative size of Harvard’s sources of income in recent years, with the annual investment earnings from its mammoth endowment regularly averaging some twenty-five times larger than the net tuition revenue from its college students. As I stated in my late 2012 article “Paying Tuition to a Giant Hedge Fund” Harvard has quietly become one of the world’s largest hedge-funds, with its aggressively managed $38 billion portfolio shielded from all taxation because of the small educational institution it continues to run as a charity off to one side.

Adding to the attention of our bold campaign has been the strange-bedfellows ideological alliance of our slate of five candidates for Harvard Overseer. Both I and Lee Cheng, co-founder of the Asian-American Legal Foundation, are generally characterized as conservatives. Stuart Taylor, Jr., who has spent decades as a prominent journalist and legal commentator, is usually considered a political moderate, although the Brookings Institution with which he has long been affiliated perhaps leans a bit more liberal. Stephen Hsu, Professor of Theoretical Physics and Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at Michigan State, is very much a moderate academic liberal, whose blogsite has for years proudly featured photos of his meetings with President Obama. And Ralph Nader, headlining our slate, is surely one of the most renowned political progressives of the last half century.

It is also far from coincidental that two of the five members of our slate are Asian-Americans. Several years ago I published strong statistical evidence for the existence of an “Asian Quota” at Harvard and the other Ivy League universities, prompting The New York Times to run a symposium on the topic, which attracted enormous attention and commentary.

Naturally, Harvard and its peers ignored these complaints, and just a few months ago The Economist ran a lengthy survey on the issue of Asian Quotas, updating my results and showing that nothing had changed. Add to this the massive pattern of corrupt and abusive admissions practices at elite colleges—documented by Pulitzer Prize winner Daniel Golden in his book The Price of Admission—and it is obvious that only the disinfecting sunlight of admissions transparency would restore our own alma mater and its peers to the academic integrity that is absolutely necessary for their continued existence. And only the external pressure of a successful campaign for seats on the Harvard Board of Overseers could achieve this result.

Indeed, the notorious sluggishness of the Harvard Administration in responding to any external stimuli was the immediate spur for this campaign. Earlier this year the New York Times had solicited a piece from me on my suggestions for improving higher education, and I merely reiterated my argument that elite colleges should immediately abolish tuition. Response at the time was overwhelmingly positive from all ideological quarters, but Mighty Harvard paid not the slightest notice to my words, leading me to consider what possible means might exist to impose necessary reforms upon such an enormously wealthy and rather solipsistic institution, now rapidly approaching its 400th anniversary. This Overseer campaign was the ultimate result.

FreeHarvard-logo And if we succeed with this effort, the reverberations will echo far and wide, given that so many of Harvard’s near-peers possess balance sheets and institutional proclivities that are nearly indistinguishable. Anyone who looks at a chart of the sources of income for Yale, Princeton, and Stanford would notice an uncanny resemblance to their Cambridge sibling. So if Harvard falls to the “Free Tuition Movement,” many other academic dominoes will surely soon topple as well.

Harvard-HYPS-Income

Will our campaign succeed? Maybe, maybe not. Based on all indications so far, I have little doubt that if our names do appear on the annual Overseer ballot and our position statements are mailed out to the 320,000 Harvard alumni, we will win a resounding victory throughout the Harvard community, and soon thereafter Mighty Harvard will agree to forego 4% of its annual investment income and henceforth become tuition-free, while also starting to shift its admissions process from abusive total opacity to some degree of reasonable transparency. But the more difficult question is whether we will even be able to reach that ballot.

FreeHarvard-logo We now have little more than ten remaining days to obtain the valid signatures of 201 Harvard alumni, holders of either undergraduate or graduate degrees, and although those numbers are small, our time is very short. Furthermore, the traditions of such an august institution, set forth in the antique English of its mid-17th Century charter, require that all such signatures be provided in physical form and only written upon the elegant petitions printed by the University itself.

Thus, anyone holding a Harvard degree who is interested in signing our petitions and perhaps changing the world should email us at petitions@FreeHarvard.org, and include your mailing address to obtain a petition for signing. If you can commit to quickly gathering an additional signature or two and also include your phone number, we will fedex you a petition. The more Harvard alumni signatures all of you can quickly gather, the more likely Harvard will soon become both free and fair.

 
RonUnz1
About Ron Unz

A theoretical physicist by training, Mr. Unz serves as founder and chairman of UNZ.org, a content-archiving website providing free access to many hundreds of thousands of articles from prominent periodicals of the last hundred and fifty years. From 2007 to 2013, he also served as publisher of The American Conservative, a small opinion magazine, and had previously served as chairman of Wall Street Analytics, Inc., a financial services software company which he founded in New York City in 1987. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard University, Cambridge University, and Stanford University, and is a past first-place winner in the Intel/Westinghouse Science Talent Search. He was born in Los Angeles in 1961.

He has long been deeply interested in public policy issues, and his writings on issues of immigration, race, ethnicity, and social policy have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, The Nation, and numerous other publications.

In 1994, he launched a surprise Republican primary challenge to incumbent Gov. Pete Wilson of California, running on a conservative, pro-immigrant platform against the prevailing political sentiment, and received 34% of the vote. Later that year, he campaigned as a leading opponent of Prop. 187, the anti-immigration initiative, and was a top featured speaker at a 70,000 person pro-immigrant march in Los Angeles, the largest political rally in California history to that date.

In 1997, Mr. Unz began his “English for the Children” initiative campaign to dismantle bilingual education in California. He drafted Prop. 227 and led the campaign to qualify and pass the measure, culminating in a landslide 61% victory in June 1998, effectively eliminating over one-third of America’s bilingual programs. Within less than three years of the new English immersion curriculum, the mean percentile test scores of over a million immigrant students in California rose by an average of 70%. He later organized and led similar initiative campaigns in other states, winning with 63% in the 2000 Arizona vote and a remarkable 68% in the 2002 Massachusetts vote without spending a single dollar on advertising.

After spending most of the 2000s focused on software projects, he has recently become much more active in his public policy writings, most of which had appeared in his own magazine.


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