Affirmative Action

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION….Jack O’Toole links today to a New York Times article that says top universities are admitting more and more high-income students and fewer and fewer middle-income and lower-income students.

This makes me wonder. I’ve been willing for quite a while to consider abolishing race-based affirmative action in favor of income-based affirmative action, something that conservatives have championed for a long time. I’m not sure it would be as effective, but it’s a compromise that might work and that might eliminate much of the stigma and vitriol surrounding race policy in this country.

So maybe it’s worth a try. But here’s what I wonder: if liberals and ethnic interest groups actually agreed to try this, what would conservative reaction really be? I’m not talking just about scholarships for poor kids, but about active preference. Would they truly be willing to endorse policies deliberately aimed at increasing opportunity for lower-income students at the expense of the rich?

Would they? And would they be willing to put their money where their mouth is?