Stossel: The College Scam

Stossel: The College Scam

These days all Americans are told go to college! A higher education is the single best investment. But a new book, The Case Against Education says this college push is a big mistake. How many thousands of hours did you spend in classes studying subjects that you never thought about again? Economist Bryan Caplan says most people who go to college shouldn’t. I learned little in college. I liked my friends and illegal drinking, but I slept through lectures. At least tuition then was $2,000, now it’s almost $50,000. People usually just want to talk about the tuition, which is a big deal but there’s also all the years that people spend in school when they could have been doing something else if you just take a look at the faces of the students it’s obvious that they’re bored and people are there primarily in order to get a good job. Because a diploma is a signaling device for people with no more brains than you have but they have one thing you haven’t got, a diploma! The con man who was the Wizard of Oz hinted at the problem years ago. Doctor of Thinkology. Why’d you write this book? The Wizard of Oz already made the argument. But almost no one seems to believe it. College graduation has never been more valuable than it is today. Education is my top priority and by supporting this budget you’ll make it yours as well. Meaning taxpayers must pay for it. All the politicians say, go to college. And there is evidence the higher you go, the more money you make. It’s totally true that when people go and get more and better and fancier degrees that their income generally goes up, but the reason why this happening is not really that college is pouring tons of job skills into you, the reason is that it’s impressive. You aren’t saying, you, individual don’t go to college, you’re saying we as a country are suckers to push it and subsidize it. Exactly. Just because it is lucrative for an individual doesn’t mean that’s a good idea for country. Because when most everyone goes to college, that just raises the bar. Imagine that you’re at a concert and everyone is sitting down and you want to see better, what can you do? Well you can stand up alright, and of course then you’ll see better. Now it does not follow though that if everyone stands up everyone sees better. You just block each other’s views. The same thing has happened in education, says Caplan, as more people got degrees, more employers insisted on degrees. The result isn’t that graduates get better jobs, it’s that employers require degrees for most every job. There are so many jobs where it used to be crazy to think that you would need a college degree, like to be a waiter in a fancy restaurant where now it would be very normal. Of course a college education is about more than getting a job, it’s also about learning but Caplan says if students really wanted to learn, they would just do it. If you want to go to Princeton, you don’t have to apply, just move to the town and start attending classes. Nobody does that. In people’s bones they realize that what really counts is that diploma. Today that’s a taxpayer subsidized diploma and when you subsidize something, you get more of it. More students apply to college, so schools raise tuition. Tuition cost has risen at triple the rate of inflation. Schools use that money to attract more students and more tax money. Many compete by advertising luxury. They promote things like lobster dinners, fancy pools. Students will come to us and say, this is what sealed the deal. Used to be reading, writing, and arithmetic, and well we’re now the 4th “r”, recreation. 600 colleges now have rock walls. Give our Tigers spring break every time they step in to the Student Recreation Complex. This is a public school, taxpayers fund that spring break. We also fund years of study in subjects unlikely to help students get jobs, like social justice, gender studies, multicultural studies. If we’re doing computer science or electrical engineering, then you probably are actually learning a bunch of useful skills, but every year we graduate about twice as many psychology bachelor’s degrees as we do engineering bachelor’s degrees. Of course there’s value in learning psychology, philosophy, literature, many employers say they want liberal arts graduates. It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing. It makes us better, wiser people. But you can’t assume that works. How many years of people’s lives should they be made to study stuff when the odds that they’ll ever appreciate it are 1 in a 100, 1 in a 1000? Maybe it makes our brains work better? It’s the kind of thing you’d expect teachers say, but there’s a whole field of people who have actually studied this. Much as they want to believe that you’re right they generally come away after looking at a lot of evidence and saying, wow actually it’s wishful thinking. Although Caplan calls college a scam, he says it’s great for a few people. People like him. I’m a tenured professor. Your audience may not realize how good of a gig this is, but a tenured professor cannot be fired for almost any reason and you get a nice income and there almost no demands upon your time. You just have to teach five hours a week? Well there’s people who consider that a horrible burden. That’s a scam that we’re paying so much money for people like you to teach you five hours. Yeah well, I’m a whistleblower. The bottom line of The Case Against Education: taxpayers ought to know that they’re getting ripped off. Government has made a tremendous effort to make education accessible to everyone. I say really what we need to do is to go back to a world where college is not so accessible, where it really distinguishes you, and in this way, people are going to be able to start their lives years earlier. The wisest solution all things considered would be if government just got out. It would be good if government got out of a lot of things.

43 thoughts on “Stossel: The College Scam

  1. Education is a scam for the hard working tax payers who subsidize these profiteering zero tax paying institutions.

  2. If the only purpose of education is to get you rich in a capitalistic definition then everything you said is right but otherwise I see a load of bullshit . I endorse education of all citizens even if it would cost 100% of taxpayer money (OK not really) . Educate the hell out people ! What you should be attacking is school establishment who turn education into business making the college cost skyrocketing , a capitalism bruise.

  3. that was the stupidest thing I ever heard I've employed thousands of waiters over my lifetime and none of them are required to have a college degree propaganda stossel needs to stop with all the right-wing propaganda he knows and everyone else knows if you go to college you make on average four times as much over the course of your lifetime as someone who did not go to college and yes the trades are great maybe everyone shouldn't go to college maybe some people should just go to a trade school or a princess under a Craftsman the John stossel is just pushing propaganda as usual this man has lost all respect for himself and all respect for journalism

  4. Some high school graduate goes to trade school, studies for a license from the state as a truck or rig driver, buys a truck, and begins earning money immediately. I met a guy in a barbershop who has his own truck, his own business, has no college degree, and earns about $250,000 per year.

  5. Some high school graduate goes to trade school, studies for a license from the state as a truck or rig driver, buys a truck and begins earning money immediately. I met a guy in a barbershop who has his own truck, his own business, has no college degree, and earns about $250,000 per year.

  6. Its more about leftist indoctrination than education. College has kind of messed up the economy. Kids start life in big debt to get the same jobs with a bachelors degree that previous generations only needed a high school diploma or associates for.

  7. Not everybody is ready to go to college. They have to have a good gpa. There are certain professions that require degrees such as physicians, nurses, teachers, etc. But, business? Not really. But there are lots of stupid people who cannot even multiply and want to become engineers. There are some open-entry crooked colleges that will enroll anybody with or without any writing or math skills to offer them the dream of a diploma and get their money. Also, the fact that someone has a degree doesn’t guarantee a job. Many people lack soft skills: how to behave at work, follow orders, be on time, personal hygiene, etc.

  8. I heard about a local study that showed that high-school graduates had better productivity in manual jobs than college graduates (which obviously, were not working on their field).

    The hypothesis is that high-school graduates were more thankful for their jobs, and therefore more motivated.

    Not sure if the study was replicated, though.
    Anyone has thoughts on this?

    Dang, I'm gonna get his book right now!

  9. What is education?
    Information. you can fit the library of Congress on a 10 terabyte hard drive.
    So why does access to the information required for a college degree cost $50k?

    College exists to keep the Riff Raff from competing directly with the elite.
    Elite buys their degrees.
    Riff Raff goes broke trying to obtain a degree.

  10. I seen a private college charging $20,000 for a prison guard course which pretty an overcharged security guard course you can get on the internet or any security guard school. Atleast in CA you dont need a degree to be a prison guard.

    Same for a welding schools, UTI charges too much.

  11. All I did for 4 years of college was do research to write papers. You'd think there would be all of these jobs for college grads where they do research and write papers for that job at that company. But there aren't. If I enrolled into a plumbing apprenticeship for 4 years and at the end there were no plumbing jobs for me but just research paper jobs, them that would not make alot of sense for what they had me study.

  12. So happy here in Australia our legal drinking age is 18 so when we finish high school we can go out before starting Uni, lol, 👍

  13. Many high school students have no idea what they want to do when they graduate. I was one of them. Parents pressure their kids to enroll because they believe it is the path to success. Others enroll because their friends have done so. More than 40% of those enrolled in college or the university drop out before getting a degree. High school students with no clue as to what to do in the future should consider enlisting in the military. The military is not all guns, bullets and blowing up things. There are programs that will teach an inductee a skill which he or she may want to pursue after their enlistments is up. The Army, Navy Air Force, Coast Guard and even the Marines offer such programs. I enlisted in the U.S. Navy upon graduation from high school. After boot camp, I spent one year attending basic and advanced electronic technician repair classes. This training afforded me the opportunity to be hired by a private corporation that utilized my Navy skills. After a few years, I enrolled in college and received a degree in marketing. Today, I have my own small business.

  14. point is, you wanna have your pathetic dumb ass woke studies? Go ahead, but you're not getting it from government's pocket. The money out of my pocket, that is.

  15. Ha take that sister with your law degree….I was right…makes no improvement in thinking. Muhahaha…drives off in semi making $86k a year with zero debt….not crippling $130k of debt.

  16. Our colleges are infested with professors that indoctrinate kids into the socialist and communist mindset. A philosophy that preaches that more government is always the answer to everything. Of course the government is going to subsidize it!

  17. The Have vs. The Have Not – The world is full of insecurity and no peace which means we live in perilous tumultuous times. YHWH vs. abaddon

  18. My friend was saying his basic office job the 50+ year olds don't have a college degree. All the young adults late 20s early 30s all have college degrees. I know a couple people using their degrees and they got it as a pilot or engineering a couple were nurses and one is an accountant. Everything else you should just get a general studies degree and plan on going for a master's.

  19. Obama was propping up his academia base. College education is largely a lie unless you are a doctor or lawyer. They want to get people in debt to work at Footlocker.

  20. College is a scam. Colleges basically pay no taxes,are subsidized by the government,students pay way too much to learn little .People on the boards at most colleges are represented by big businesses that get most of the college business,textbooks ,garbage cleanup,the coffee shops and other vendor products at colleges.Colleges then invest all this money tax free.Biggest scam in America.

  21. Our 'education' system, including college, is not about expanding or opening the mind.
    It's about liberal-left indoctrination. It's about closing the mind.


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