Every year, high school graduates line up to sign on the dotted line for the opportunity to place themselves and their parents in a financial hole with the hopes of striking gold in the career of their choice. Some of them take the low risk route, going into fields such as medicine, law, engineering and so on; fields that have some chance of producing a profitable career while others – well you know.
Now, a lot of noise is being made about the debt burden of younger Americans who have mortgaged their future to achieve what is, more or less, a worthless piece of paper. Not surprisingly, most of that noise is being made by the same geniuses who thought that shelling out $100K to major in Feminist Studies was a great idea and was going to get them laid.
But alas, this is America, and no one is accountable for their own stupidity. So, it has to be someone else’s fault. Now with the OWS crowd, it’s easy to blame those big, nasty corporations for not seeing the value in a degree in Comic Book Art and lining up to throw money at you. But there really is someone to blame and it is… drumroll please…
You guessed it boys and girls; good ole Uncle Sam is responsible for the Education Bubble.
You see, by guaranteeing outrageously easy money for suckers students, it has allowed Big Education to reap a financial windfall and churn out a generation of underperforming assets. Nobody aspires to a career at McDonalds, but get that coveted piece of paper, and you are a burger flipper with a bright future.
By knowing that there will always be new group of willing participants every year with blank checks from the government, Big Ed can jack up the price on those worthless diplomas, with the bigger names demanding the most green. Once upon a time, a degree from Big Time U had cred and opened doors, but now you can learn just as much, if not more, in your spare time on an iPad.
Sure, a degree can be a great tool, but it is just that: a tool. And as someone who twisted wrenches for many years, I can tell you that you need to use the right tool for the job. Just like a good mechanic would not use a hammer to install a spark plug, a degree in Humanities will not prepare you to be a productive member of society.
The moral of the story? Once again, government intervention into an aspect of society that it has no business in creates a bubble that cannot be sustained. Just like it created easy credit in the housing market, allowing people who could not otherwise afford it purchase a house; just like it created the environment where businesses could become too big to fail at the detriment to our economy, Uncle Sam’s foray into the education business has led to an undereducated generation with no prospect of ever paying off their loans or grabbing the brass ring that they were promised.
And they’re pissed.
Do you think it is a coincidence that student loan debt cannot be discharged in Bankruptcy Court?
Of course not, the Pimp always gets paid.
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