Thursday, September 17, 2009

Too Many Bachelors

I'm writing a seperate piece on student loans and happened to catch an article in Forbes by Cato Institute's Neal McCluskey, who argues that the main problem with higher education is that too many people are getting it. And here's his proof for that:
This is especially troubling because too many people are pursuing degrees. About a third of college students take at least one remedial course, only 56% graduate within six years and 29% of Americans have bachelor's degrees even though only a quarter of American jobs require them.
First off, are we agreed that the reason he didn't write the number 25% was because he was hoping people wouldn't notice that 29% is close to 25%? "Only a quarter" makes it sound much more dire.

And secondly, huh? Assuming these numbers are correct (and who knows, as McCluskey avoids any links or sources), I fail to see the problem. Specifically, how is it a problem for 29% of people to have bachelor's degrees when 25% require them? Even if all 29% received the degree in order to get a job that required them, that'd still be a good statistic.

Hell, I'd be a bit concerned if we were using every damn bachelor's degree in the country. After all, some of these degreed people are retired, while others are stay-at-home moms or others who no longer need their degree. And I'd rather have 4% too many college grads than 4% too few. After all, we're not at 100% employment, either.

Overall, this strikes me as the typical conservative view of all our problems: Life's too good. Thanks to the stupid government, we've got too much healthcare, too much job safety, too much retirement protection, and now too much education. Damn, why does my government have to keep taking care of me like this? Why can't they just leave me hurt, dumb, and poor; like all the other second-world countries do? It's as if having a well-rounded population is the biggest mistake we can make.

And the irony: Neal McCluskey works for the Cato Institute, which means his degree most definitely went to waste.

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