Babble Fish Enabled

Friday, January 18, 2013

'Damn, That Doctor Flipped That Burger Hella Good For Me': The Decreasing Value Of A College Education

If everybody in the ghetto had a PhD, you'd say 'Damn that doctor flipped that burger hella good for me!'

We're through the looking glass, people. The post-crash economy is looking nothing like the pre-crash economy, and with corporate profits at the highest levels since 1900, you can bet that isn't going to change any time soon.

People defend faltering economic policies by pointing to quite a modest decline in unemployment numbers. They claim that the employment situation is getting better, that jobs are being added, and soon the economic landscape will be back to pre-2008 levels. Jobs are being added alright, but the raw numbers belie the situation on the ground.

By mixing unemployment numbers from every state into a giant slurry to achieve a national average, a blanket number is created that hides the fact that some areas of the country have experienced solid job growth while others have been flat-out Tafted.  Plus, raw employment and jobs numbers make no distinction about the types of jobs that have been created, as if a job as McDonald's is equal to a job at Boeing.

Truth is, the majority of jobs created in this post crash economy have been closer McDonald's end of the spectrum. Recent research suggests that up to 58% jobs that are being currently created were considered low wage (paying $13/hr or less). And if you're hoping that your college degree will provide anything resembling a career, think again, your college degree is hardly worth the paper it was printed on. This is doubly true for any liberal arts major.

I grew up with my baby boomer parents reassuring me that a college degree was valuable in its own right, regardless of major. After all, they were part of a generation who went to college for essentially free because the government felt a higher education was valuable to society as a whole. No one believes that any more. Higher education is a luxury many Americans can no longer afford.

Even if college was more affordable who would want to waste the time and effort for a degree that isn't going to help find a decent job, let alone career? A PhD in Arthurian Legend isn't going help much for your job as a fry cook. An engineering degree won't help much when no one is hiring engineers.

The future of American jobs lies in the service sector, so you might as well start practicing your polite smiles now, kids. And remember, experience frying food now will serve you far better than anything you learn in school.

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