Desperate Housesellers of Needham

All the Cambridge girls made fun of him cuz his house was only worth half a million even though he coached at a school worth forty billion and overrun with the hyper-rich. “He can’t even afford to live in Cambridge,” smirked the walking-distance-to-Harvard crowd; and he was a fencing coach, too, which should have meant serious money but in his case didn’t.

Economists tell us that you’re only as rich as the people around you – if they’re living way over your head, it doesn’t matter whether objectively you’re doing okay. You feel like shit. So who can blame him for trading his insider knowledge of Harvard admissions for big money? His life has been a living hell, honey.


To access the deep structure of this story, read this. Carefully.

‘I paid the fucking forty thou per year; fork over the Ivies!’

Ah the still soft voice of the Quaker community that is Sidwell Friends, where simplicity and selflessness are bywords of the faith… To be part of this educational community is to feel and reflect the values of the Society founded by George Fox so long ago.

Or not. Apparently so many Sidwell parents have verbally assaulted the counseling staff for failing to get the kid into Harvard that most of the staff has resigned, and the head of school has written a sweet letter to all parents about how “love blurs our vision” when it comes to the little ones; when we shriek obscenities at the staff we know not what we do.

To which UD says Awwww.

Has headmaster had a chance to look up close and personal at the Varsity Blues folks about to go to prison? Is it really your sense that the problem these people have is fuzzy over-fondness?

Quite a few of your students are cubs of America’s most brutal predators. Said predators don’t take kindly to kinks in the multigenerational winner-take-all masterplan.

Masters of the Universe don’t barely get into U Minnesota; they power their way into Princeton.

And now Brothers and Sisters, let us pray.

100 billion! UD’s been screaming about it for years, but she’s never done the math.

This guy did the math.

When grilled at trial in the lawsuit over Asian-American admissions about the “Dean’s Interest List,” a confidential list of applicants with ties to big donors whose admission rate is higher even than legacy applicants, Harvard’s dean of admissions, William Fitzsimmons, called the list “important for the long-term strength of the institution.” Earlier, during a deposition, he described legacy as “essential to Harvard’s well-being.” But Fitzsimmons couldn’t point to a shred of data to support these claims. In any case, the colleges don’t need the money. The eight Ivy League schools have a combined endowment of more than $100 billion, which they retain from their wealthy alumni in part because of the massive tax break they receive as nonprofits, a status that seemingly only can be defended on the premise that they promote class mobility.

Helluva Spokesperson You Got There.

The Harvard Art Museums’ public relations office directed all Sackler-related questions to Patrick McKiernan, a spokesman for Harvard.

McKiernan said Harvard was “not interested in participating” and hung up the phone.

Trying the Haughty Hahvard approach … We’ll see how that goes …

Harvard: Keep your $36 billion endowment close and your sexual harassers closer.

Harvard University: Famous for holding tight to its stupendous endowment, and just as famous for holding tight to its sexual harassers.

‘Last year, Harvard’s dining service workers went on strike for several weeks before the university agreed to a modest pay increase and affordable health care. The richest university in the country, with an endowment of over $37 billion, agreed to raise dining service workers’ salaries by 3.5 percent only after a 22-day union strike.’

How d’ya think we got so rich, whippersnapper?

You can never be too rich…


Harvard’s endowment is currently pushing forty billion.

‘[B]ut, you know, if you look at something like Harvard and Yale, they have an endowment of a combined $60 billion. I mean, that’s an astronomical amount of money. And, in effect, by it being tax free, aren’t we the taxpayer subsidizing these elite universities that are hardly hurting for income? I mean, aren’t we all paying for it?’

Silly girl. “[T]he American people get a great bargain with these endowments.”

Weep for what little things make them glad.

Poland’s very ex-foreign minister was recorded without his knowledge a couple of years back, dishing obscenely on all things Polish. His critique of the Polish university system has just been released.

“You know, [American universities] understand what all those [Polish] rectors — those d**kheads and layabouts — over here fail to comprehend — that, you know, the main financing for universities can come from … endowments. It’s just that you need to have a database,” [Radosław] Sikorski reportedly said…

He was allegedly responding to [his dinner partner], who said: “I saw those f**king [American] campuses, all of it, those budgets at those universities, the five billion that Stanford has annually…. Five billion is the money they have to spend. One third is from endowments, one third from grants, one third from invested funds. So five billion is, f**k, huge business.”

UD‘s not quite sure if this guy’s division of Stanford funds, and yearly availability of those funds (he doesn’t talk about what they actually spend, and universities like Stanford are famous for hoarding their endowments), is anywhere near accurate, but she wonders if he knows how paltry a number five billion is for Stanford. Its wealth is vastly, vastly greater than that. She also wonders if either of these guys, who are basically complaining about public funding of universities in Europe, knows how much government subsidy Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford receive.

Everyone’s covering the story. UD chose the Harvard Crimson account because…

… it’s Ground Zero (well, Ground 37.6 Billion), and the multitude of comments after the article – about the possibility that Harvard will gradually phase out all fraternities and other private clubs – expresses better than almost anything else the deep structure of – one social type shaped by – institutions like Harvard (for similar observations about Princeton, go here).

(Hm. Someone seems to have removed the Crimson article’s comment thread. Why?)

Given the crucial importance of secretive sadistic clubs in the formation of super-predators like the man of the hour, Marc Kasowitz (he “brags to friends he makes anywhere from $10 million to $30 million per year. He owns an apartment in a white-glove building on Park Avenue and a mansion in Westchester County. He travels by private jet and, when in New York, is driven around in a black Cadillac SUV. He owns at least two horses, according to a lawsuit Kasowitz once filed against his daughter’s equestrian stable.”) and super-predators generally, UD assures you that America’s master-of-the-universe-nurseries are not really in danger. You couldn’t have Lehman Brothers/Dick Fuld et al without them. So relax.

But the comment section of the Crimson article is rife with anxiety. Nervously eyeing Harvard’s endowment of close to forty billion dollars (for a 22,000-student school), the commenters express fear that this palty sum will be further reduced by angry alumni withholding gifts. The article quotes a Harvard report on the matter calling Bowdoin and Williams (both have gotten rid of frats and similar clubs) “peer institutions,” which sets off another round of worry and sarcasm in the comments (“Williams and… Bowdoin – … 1.3 and 2.26 billion dollar endowments respectively… are PERFECT comparisons to Harvard… Thanks for enlightening us.”)

People are scared because they think Harvard might actually do it. And since everyone imitates Harvard, everyone might do it. But Harvard won’t do it, because without the clubs we couldn’t have hypercapitalism. Shutting them down would be the moral equivalent of war.

They could try suing. But Harvard has a forty billion dollar defense fund.

So I wouldn’t bother.

That’s half of Harvard’s…


Harvard Goes from Being a Hedge Fund with a University Attached…

… to a university with a hedge fund down the street.

Insanely rich obsessively money-hoarding Harvard (closing in on $40 billion) is jest ’bout fit to burst with all that dough; and some folks – I mean, hah hah, jest some folks, but, still, some folks – been saying that they got themselves so “fat, rich, and stupid” (says here) that they jest don’t know what all to do with it (ain’t like there’s a world of pain out there they might give some of it to or whatever!) so they been handing it out like candy to anyone who happens to work at the investment fund…

And well that plus other shit that tends to attach to the ownership by one university – one anything – of forty billion dollars seems to have embarrassed Harvard to the point where they’re kind of trying to make it all go away by outsourcing their investment activity.

Now UD‘s here to tell you that Harvard’s gonna be disappointed if it thinks that a non-profit which hoards obscene wealth except for what it hands out in twenty-million-dollar a year salaries to its investment managers will be less noticeable to journalists and alumni and the tax-paying public after it moves this activity off campus. UD wants you to know that Harvard’s greed and depravity – and the absurd lengths to which it goes to maintain this greed and depravity – will continue to be front and center, wherever it locates itself.

With losses like these, they should hire Donald Trump to do their books.

A situation where [Harvard’s] in-house investment managers are getting paid 50 times more than university professors, while delivering lackluster returns, is “politically not feasible,” [one expert] says.

Indeed, the news about Harvard’s endowment [the school just lost two billion dollars] led many to question the university’s approach and its costs. Mark J. Perry, a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan at Flint and a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, estimates that Harvard spends at least $70 million on its endowment-management office. That’s almost enough to cover Harvard’s $45,000 tuition for its 1,600 freshmen.

… [I]f Harvard had passively invested in a standard mix of 60 percent stocks and 40 percent bonds, it would have gotten a higher rate of return — 8.9 percent over the past five years, versus 5.9 percent with its active in-house management …

UD has never understood why the fact that some universities have amassed endowments of $25, $35 billion doesn’t appall many people.

It appalls her, and if you put endowment in her search engine, you’ll find years of UD being appalled.

These endowments are a classic rich-get-richer phenom, in which a hedgie, say, decides the best thing to do with his or her hundreds of millions of dollars is to give them to Harvard, so that Harvard’s endowment can go from $35 billion to $35 billion plus. To make matters worse, schools like Harvard hoard their endowments.

You don’t have to be Peter Singer to know that this is an unconscionable use of money.

Malcolm Gladwell has begun podcasting about how disgusting it is that “the biggest donations go to institutions that already have endowments larger than some countries’ gross domestic products.” Good.

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