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Guest Post: Our "Let's Pretend" Economy: Let's Pretend Student Loans Are About Education

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

Our "Let's Pretend" Economy: Let's Pretend Student Loans Are About Education

Let's pretend student loans aren't just a stupendous and highly profitable scam being run on the youth of America. Of course pretending doesn't make it so.

We have a "let's pretend" economy: let's pretend the unemployment rate actually reflects the number of people with full-time jobs and the number of people seeking jobs, let's pretend the Federal government borrowing 10% of the GDP every year is sustainable without any consequences, let's pretend the stock market actually reflects the economy rather than Federal Reserve monetary intervention, and so on.

We also have a "let's pretend" education/student-loan game running: let's pretend college is "worth" the investment, and let's pretend student loans are about education. There are three dirty little secrets buried under the education/student-loan complex's high-gloss sheen:

1. Student loans have little to do with education and everything to do with creating a new profit center for subprime-type lenders guaranteed by the Savior State.

2. A college diploma's value in the real world of getting a job and earning a good salary in a post-financialization economy has been grossly oversold.

3. Many people are taking out student loans just to live; the loans are essentially a form of "State funding" a.k.a. welfare that must be paid back.

We've got a lot of charts that reflect reality rather than hype, so let's get started. Despite all the bleating rationalizations issued by the Education Complex, higher education costs have outstripped the rest of the economy's cost structure. Funny how nobody ever asks if there is any real competitive pressure in the Education Complex; there isn't, and why should there be when students can borrow $30,000 a year?



Student loans are skyrocketing--yes, America, we have a growth industry and it's called debt-serfdom. Debt serfdom is most effective when it starts young, so graduating with $100K in student loans and a couple thousand in high-interest credit card debt is the perfect start:



This is a chart from Zero Hedge drawn from a Federal Reserve spreadsheet: Name The Bubble. Of related interest: Student Loan Bubble To Exceed $1 Trillion: "It's Going To Create A Generation Of Wage Slavery" And Another Taxpayer Bailout.



Though we pretend a college degree promises a middle-class income, the reality is somewhat less rosy: earnings are flat to stagnant. Since about 30% of the workforce has a college degree now, the "edge" provided by a diploma has dulled considerably. It's supply and demand: the supply of those with college degrees exceeds the demand.



Student loans enable young people to "stay in school" or "go back to school". Waiting for the economy to pick up may or may not be a good strategy, but piling up debt to do so is a horrendously bad strategy--yet it is the one we enable and encourage.



Here's a snapshot of the employment picture. The bogus "unemployment" rate can drop to zero but that won't mean more jobs are being created.



The "engine of growth," small business, is in a tailspin. Gee, could it have anything to do with the supremacy of crony-cartel capitalism, over-regulation imposed by the Central State and local government, and skyrocketing healthcare costs?



Here's the reality. Large global firms, i.e. corporations, have been the major source of job creation in recent years. But due to a number of thorny issues such as skyrocketing costs of sickcare insurance in the U.S. and the need to develop resources within overseas markets, global companies are hiring overseas, not in the U.S., except for those with high-level experience in specific computer-software skillsets.

Even having a computer science degree isn't enough any more; employers want years of experience with a suite of software tools and they would rather poach an experienced coder from a competitor than go through the trouble of training a FOOS (fresh out of school) CS major.

The truly pathetic part of the student loan scam is that is often the only State funding available to marginalized populations. Here is an on-the-ground report from Dr. M.H., who serves the woefully under-served segment of the populace with severe mental health and poverty issues:

An amazingly large portion of my patients ( drug and alcohol addicted and the psychiatrically ill) are fleeing into student loans and grants to escape homelessness.


I even have previously middle-class patients ( many with previously missed "soft" bipolar illness which has got them into deep trouble due to depression and impulsiveness), some in their sixties, who are taking this route for want of any plausible alternative.

Student loans are a $1 trillion "business." Here is a "clock" of student debt.

$1 trillion is equivalent to the external (national) debt of Canada. (List of countries by external debt.) So let's pretend that loading up our students and future taxpayers with a debt load equivalent to that of an entire nation is an excellent strategy for furthering future growth and education.

What that $1 trillion does further is profits and debt serfdom. Here are a few other resources to review:

The $1 trillion student loan market begins to implode Department of Education shows two-year default rates at for-profit colleges up to 15 percent. Student loan debt increasing at a rate of $170,000 per minute.

Grading Student Loans (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

35 Shocking Facts That Prove That College Education Has Become A Giant Money Making Scam


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Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:11 | 2232597 ZippyBananaPants
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Time out:

Peyton Manning is a class act!

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:20 | 2232637 true brain
true brain's picture

Who cares who this Manning is. probably another brain damaged moron who will poor soon enough. Most of them will end up poor and forgotten. Name one of these football morons who used his fame for any good. Don't tell me it's OJ Simpson.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:22 | 2232651 MillionDollarBonus_
MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

Sorry but this article is yet another example of libertarian ignorance. Almost every top entry level job in America requires a college degree. In fact, if you're thinking of applying to a top tier investment bank (or bulge bracket) you can kiss that dream goodbye unless you have an exceptional GPA, preferably from an Ivy League college in addition to extraordinary extra-curricular achievements. A college degree demonstrates that you have the drive and ambition to excel at life and it is absolutely essential to have one if you want to be accepted into the highest levels of society.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:29 | 2232674 eatthebanksters
eatthebanksters's picture

That's why Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have been so openly accepted into the top levels of are such  a douche.  Either you're a total snob or you're a wannabe.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:59 | 2232803 flacon
flacon's picture

If people were better educated, they wouldn't be making the mistake of going into debt to be better educated. But that sort of "common sense" education gets deprogrammed right from grade 1. 

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:47 | 2232958 CharlieSDT
CharlieSDT's picture

Sarah Lawrence College costs.  $59,170.

What for? I don’t hear much about alumni from Sarah Lawrence College going on to make a bunch of money as CEO of GE or some other criminal organization like Goldman Sachs. No, Sarah Lawrence is just another one of many of America’s snooty overpriced liberal arts colleges mainly composed of girls (73% of the school is female) who think they’re sensitive and gifted and special and smart and major in Women’s Studies, Victorian Literature, Environmental Policy or some other equally useless bullshit.

A quick perusal of a list of alumni of Sarah Lawrence on Wikipedia reveals very little in the way of business leaders, political figures other than that scumbag Rahm Emanuel, any good musician other than Carly Simon or any A-List actor of today except for Kyra Sedwick. There’s a couple of sort of well-known authors but nobody major except Alice Walker. Really it’s an unimpressive list, especially from the most expensive college in America.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 16:29 | 2233332 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

There is a high demand for trophy wives that know govspeak?

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 23:35 | 2234636 Tijuana Donkey Show
Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

At a 70% female school, you should look up some of the grads by their stage names, and their PHD, or pro at holding dildo, that they earned in college. That's how Rahm lost his finger, in a mousetrap, right?

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:17 | 2232856 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

Bill Gates sucks.

Bill Gates backs climate scientists lobbying for large-scale geoengineering

Monsanto Investor Bill Gates says GMO Crops needed to fight starvation
Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:29 | 2232676 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

Steve Jobs? Bill Gates? Nevermind..

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 23:36 | 2234637 Tijuana Donkey Show
Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

Steve Gates with GMO liver toxins......

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:30 | 2232678 taniquetil
taniquetil's picture

But see here, MDB, the concern isn't with the person that takes out loans to go to college, works hard, and gets a good job. This is like looking at Bill Gates and saying "well he's a billionaire, the economy is fine"


The issue is with the millions of kids who go to university taking on debt because they don't know the implications, not necessarily having a career goal in mind because they're 18, and going to college simply because that's what society expects of them. For every one kid who took out loans and was successful, there are many kids who took out loans that aren't successful. And even if they manage to pay back student loans, they've missed out on retirement savings/mortgage savings for years and set themselves back.


Or, to put it simply, how many "top entry level jobs" are there vs how many people NEED "top entry level jobs"

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:44 | 2232733 FlyoverCountryS...
FlyoverCountrySchmuck's picture

I know people LIVING on Student Loan Money so they don't have to work, carrying just enough classes to keep the gravy train going. One single mother I know even gets her rent and utilities paid for, and a transportation stipend for her car.


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:54 | 2232774 stormsailor
stormsailor's picture

someone i know told me that their brother, who had been in prison for 15 years just got out and took the money from his daughters student loan and bought a mercedes g wagon.


its the guy that washes my car and he told me about in "disgust".

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:55 | 2232776 stormsailor
stormsailor's picture


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 15:56 | 2233174 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

another public-private shambles/sham/shitshow

only the Free Market (no rules) works

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 15:51 | 2233217 Strider52
Strider52's picture

FlyOver: Yep, I know several people that got student loans, they are living off them, barely show up for class, get C-, just enuff to pass and keep the checks coming in. They use the $$ to get drunk, eat, and be merry, but have ZERO plans to repay.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 20:37 | 2234294 New World Chaos
New World Chaos's picture

Sounds exactly like three of my previous flatmates.  They lived a parasitic lifestyle in other ways and the system didn't care.  It is encouraged.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:31 | 2232682 mr. mirbach
mr. mirbach's picture

MDB - you forgot to use the /sarc tag.


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:31 | 2232684 Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture

Chuck a Libertarian....LMFAO!!!!!

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:35 | 2232698 true brain
true brain's picture

Hey Million Dollar Idiot.

The article is talking about a societal problem and colloboration of educational institution and government's enablers to defraud and deluded millions of very average people into thinking they can and should have a college degree. The result is millions of people who have degrees in uselessness (as Gerald Celente said) and have insurmountable debts. They will be indebted to the banking system for life. These people can be better served with trade school education, where they can learn real skill with zero debt. The democrats and republicans have successfully made higher education into a right; it's not. Most people in college are so dumb; they wouldn't be in college if the money wasn't there in the first place.

We're talking about a societal problem; not you Million Dollar Idiot in particular because you probably went to some brand name school on a legacy admission slot. 

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:40 | 2232715 battle axe
battle axe's picture

For the love of Christ, MDB is joking, he always does this in order hook some suckers. Great job as always MDB

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:32 | 2232912 Lednbrass
Lednbrass's picture

Its like watching a master fisherman at work- the lure hits the water, the bass hit the bait, and he has a stringer full by the end of the afternoon.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:41 | 2232719 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:49 | 2232751 Gringo Viejo
Gringo Viejo's picture

You ARE a gem Bill.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:49 | 2232756 Toolshed
Toolshed's picture

Geeez MDB, you're shit is getting old and tired. At least you USED TO BE mildly amusing. Now.........sigh. Your post is sooooo very flawed. It's obviosly a scam due to the fact that there obviously won't be any "top tier investment banks" left by the time these young newbs graduate. I mean come on man!

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:04 | 2232823 LongSoupLine
LongSoupLine's picture

MDB has a point (bear with me) in that the current culture of hiring at upper level "corporations" requires the piece of paper from an elite institution of higher "learning".  The reality however, is that the "piece of paper" has no real value added weight due to the educational system of real learning being completely broken for various reasons.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 15:06 | 2233050 Nobody For President
Nobody For President's picture

You are absolutely correct - but the exact same thing was true in 1961 when I got my piece of paper (MBA) - it was just a matter of getting my ticket punched.

The difference is college was affordable enough that I could work my way through and graduate, as did every peer I knew, debt free - student loans didn't exist.

What a fucking scam, and a national shame - and our bought and sold congress went along with the scam by making student loans exempt from bankruptcy. Fuck.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:06 | 2232827 moonshadow
moonshadow's picture

you totally missed the point genius. it's about perception/ real value and how what was once a way of helping students now has been morphed into a profit-making scheme. can you say 6 to 12% interest rates? that's even for credit worthy parents/students. while big banks are paying let's see...0 to 1% to loan it out to the next generation? also yes it is true that costs have gone up at institutions of higher learning BUT out of proportion to the HUGE increase in tuition rates! shame on TPTB in colleges/universities And banks/lending institutions/fed government to allow the enslavement of our kids!!! show me who to hit- this is pathetic. parents and students trying to do the right thing to get ahead and they are shafted instead. we should be looking more toward small local colleges.also realize that parents/students should evaluate risk/return in view of what will be realized. i.e.-steer toward tech/math/engineering/medical for the best value. remember you are less purchasing an experience than a product now so view it that way.  and  thankfully the value message is getting out. thanks tyler great article!

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:09 | 2232839 sangell
sangell's picture

We need to distinguish between the top 100 American schools where a degree is very valuable. Perhaps too valuable in our over credentialed society and the rest of the college degree programs. Yeah you'd be well advised to beg, borrow or steal to get degree from Stanford or Yale but borrow $40,000 to graduate from a school where the average student SAT scores are 1000 with a degree in the social sciences. Come on. You'd be far better off becoming an electrician or HVAC technician and you can earn while you learn in those fields. Got any ambition you can start your own contracting business and do very well indeed.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:10 | 2232841 ilovefreedom
ilovefreedom's picture

How much did college COST while these current captains of society went through the system? All this article is saying is that the COST and LOAN DEBT to fulfill these degree product price requirements has skyrocketed since the 70s over 1000%. While some students overcome the cost and burden of loan debt many more per year increasingly take on in some cases HUGE debts that due to inflation and demand stronger than even the housing bubble has made for a perfect storm of cost and unrealistic loan debt guarantees.  How many people have six figures in loan debt with only an underperforming degree "asset" to show for it?

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:51 | 2232940 Omen IV
Omen IV's picture

to your point:

MBA - NYU - SEPTEMBER 1971 FINISHED - "all in" $5,500.00 w/o room and board  

in contrast ! - my son - NYU - BS degree - FINISHED 2003 - $165,000 w / room and board in east village.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 16:34 | 2233373 Ura Bonehead
Ura Bonehead's picture

All this article is saying is that the COST and LOAN DEBT to fulfill these degree product price requirements has skyrocketed

Love, I think the article is saying a lot more than that.  The article (and the stream of other articles, programs, debates.... on the subject) are questioning the added value of the degrees being received.  That, to me, is the most important consideration.  If the product and value of buying/financing same were increasing at the same rate as the cost then I doubt there's a discussion.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:10 | 2232842 jcaz
jcaz's picture

MDB-  Drinking the Kool-Aid Since 1987......

Nice to have his comedy routine to amuse me while waiting for my puts to kick in.......

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:13 | 2232853 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

it is absolutely essential to have one if you want to be accepted into the highest levels of society

The "highest levels of society" today have nothing to do with what is good and right with the world.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:14 | 2232855 indygo55
indygo55's picture

Hey MDB, my uncle has been a plumber for over 25 years and he has 5 plumbers working for him, 6 vehicles all paid for, his shop is paid off as is his home. His wife works the phones and his two boys are joining him in a few years. They do real work for real money because pipes break. When you flush your fucking gold plated toilet and your bull shit plugs the drain who you gonna call? A plumber because your head is so far up your ass with trying to figure out how to fuck your fellow Americans and call it “work” you forgot about all the real people who make your life possible.

Oh, and he didn’t even think about going to college, or working at some top bank/hedge fund engineering the latest derivative device to re-hypothecate and fractionally fuck the whole world and call it all good.  

He does real work and produces real value with real labor and subsequently makes real money and has a real life. And there are electricians and carpenters and all kinds of real workers all over this great land who are doing the same thing, albeit less so today because of fuckers like you and all the other financial terrorist running around. You and they should be the ones in the FEMA camps and hopefully you and they will.

So stick your head back up your lousy stinking ass and hide behind your desk cause if I don’t get you, trust me, there are plenty of terminally ill vets with guns and an itchy trigger finger who would jump at the chance.  

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:38 | 2232930 Clark Bent
Clark Bent's picture

MDB, you never disappoint. You are an artiste. 

Thu, 03/08/2012 - 13:32 | 2233341 Ura Bonehead
Ura Bonehead's picture

In fact, if you're thinking of applying to a top tier investment bank (or bulge bracket) you can kiss that dream goodbye...

So what you're telling us is that without a constant pipeline of (over-priced) Ivy League education sheep, top-tier investment banks would be hurting for talent??  Huummmmm...? Well that certainly adds a new dynamic to the conversation, doesn't it??  This INDEED makes one wonder about the value of a college education! I mean, without healthy investment banks America might have to.... I don't know... actually start building stuff again?  Create and invent things other than financial weapons of mass destruction?  Return the equity markets to their intended purpose?  Have more concern for our fellow man (rather than the size of our bonus)? 

Or do college actually teach all that outdated crap anymore?  Probably not.  All that probably went out with a rigorous ethics curriculum.  Cost cutting, of course.

I mean, without those Ivy League 'educated' investment bankers, what would our quality of life be like; the HORRORS of not being able to enjoy all the benefits of all those bailouts and an endless pipeline of K Street lobbyist and Treasury/Fed officials!!! Where would we be without Dark Pools, HFTing, hedge funds, co-location, algos.... HORRORS!!!!!!  <sarcasm off>

These guys and gals didn't pay for their Ivy League education, the rest of us did.  And I want my money back!!

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 16:41 | 2233394 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture


"A college degree demonstrates that you have the drive and ambition to excel at life and it is absolutely essential to have one if you want to be accepted into the highest levels of society."

In other words - purchased nobility; hardly a prescription for a cohesive, functioning, and just society.

Cromwell and Napolean come to mind...


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:47 | 2232740 The trend is yo...
The trend is your friend's picture

A tale of 2 of my friends: Both are intelligent

Friend one went through a rigourous 5 year pharmacy program, took out lots of loans and in the end got a good job and a 6 figure salary.

Friend two did not go to college. Took some courses in networking cuz it was a hot market at the time (10 years ago) got a good job, networked and without a college degree moved up in his company and makes more then friend one with NO DEBT.  I can repeat this same story 10 more times with different people i know.


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:12 | 2232598 ZippyBananaPants
ZippyBananaPants's picture

Time out:

Peyton Manning is a class act!

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:11 | 2232599 ZippyBananaPants
ZippyBananaPants's picture

Time out:

Peyton Manning is a class act!

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:13 | 2232606 Hippocratic Oaf
Hippocratic Oaf's picture

Yea, well........if you looked at Sallie Mae bonds you'd never know that there's a bubble.


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:14 | 2232609 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Big difference between knowledge and wisdom.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:17 | 2232621 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



In "student" loans, the students are simply the vehicle for transferring funds confiscated from private citizens to University ejucaters.  Works great - University beaurocrat votes are secured for the central planners, and graduates are enslaved through the debt service.

Ponzi on, Garth.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:33 | 2232692 tempo
tempo's picture

The real issue is that the worldwide labor glut (due to the internet) has caused an enormous wage differential which will only grow worse over time. In India, China and many other countries the prevailing wage is $25/day (thats good, look at foxconn)requiring 12 hours/day, 6 days per week w/o vacations or health care or retirement and mandated living 20 persons per dorm room w/o twitter, facebook, computers, smartphones or education. Just work. IN the West we have entitlements, debt and MTV. So we buy domestic peace by pretending pensions will be paid and a college education (ex engineers and doctors) is a good investment. Be thankful if your parents have money which will cover you for a few years. For the vast majority, your screwed. Student loans will be the next subprime bailout

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:20 | 2232867 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



Such a work ethic would do wonders in the West if those folks simply moved to places with higher prevailing wages.  :D

As for your "be thankful if your parents..."  Some of us at ZH ARE the parents.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:17 | 2232622 jm
jm's picture

Depends on what degree you get.  If you are there to get a degree in women's studies or similar other goop, then you deserve a fleecing.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:22 | 2232650 i love cholas
i love cholas's picture

I'm so sick of this argument. All degrees are worthless without work experience.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:59 | 2232694 Physicist
Physicist's picture

You use the word work; is it a real thing, imaginary, or a complex?

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:38 | 2232701 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

Me too and yes. However, the most important hook for any good job is connections. Welcome to crony capitalism and the American nightmare. People who say otherwise probably haven't been young and looking for a job in the past 10 years.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:47 | 2232963 Clark Bent
Clark Bent's picture

Crony capitalism is Socialism. This is the brave new world of no advancement for the serfs. Same as it ever was in despotism. The secret solution is liberty. You cannot have personal individual liberty without economic liberty. Neither can you expect to have equality before the law unless private property rights are secure. Remember that global warming druids, your nonsense about the climate is undermining property rights, which undermines individual freedom which undermines opportunity. Perhaps you think that your penniless existence is valuable to Goldman Sachs...consider in what ways that might be so. Then think about this when you consider running to the government to fix things for justice and fairness.  

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 17:08 | 2233515 Dane17
Dane17's picture

Really well said Clark!

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 15:10 | 2233074 jm
jm's picture

Tell that to your cardiologist, moron.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:17 | 2232623 VulpisVulpis
VulpisVulpis's picture

College -- for a clear majority, 'One continuous party' that costs tens of thousands in borrowed money. Most are 'living the dream' on borrowed time and money, studying underwater basket weaving and majoring in 'whatevers easiest' . There are exceptions, of course, but we know this to be true.


For the lenders, it's almost too easy...

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:38 | 2232708 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

VulpisVulpis said:

For the lenders, it's almost too easy...

That's what it's all about. The student loan racket is just another form of taxpayer funded welfare for the TBTF lenders.


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:18 | 2232630 stocktivity
stocktivity's picture

What time do you predict Apple starts selling off? I predict 1:45pm.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:20 | 2232643 taniquetil
taniquetil's picture

DUDE, they're announcing a new iPad today.


Forecasting an Apple sell-off in front of a new iPad (which clearly, all Americans must buy with the money they're making) is like, treason, man.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:22 | 2232631 Mercury
Mercury's picture

Well, at least for now you can choose to not take out a student loan and/or forgo a college degree...and still have an array of opportunities available to educate yourself by other means and build a successful career/life.

For now.

Given the current situation it will eventually become obvious to almost everyone that:

1) If you get into a top school, you should find a way to attend.
2) If you can find someone else to pay for any college you should probably go (college can be fun even if you don't learn much).
3) Any other situation involving college that is not 1 or really need to do some serious math first.

The next logical step for the government/college industry (especially in light of the above realization) is to use regulation to require a college degree for as many occupations as possible.

No restaurant management degree, no restaurant licence, No restaurant business.

Then you're really screwed....paying for the opportunity to have a job indeed.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:24 | 2232888 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Why would they need regulation?  If every available job is oversubscribed by 1000s of applicants, all of whom have college degrees and some graduate degrees, then practically speaking, how is a degree not already a requirement?

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 15:51 | 2233188 Mercury
Mercury's picture

Well, at some level employers are aware that a 'Global Studies' degree isn't necessarily indicative of much of anything in the way of ability.  The marketplace will work that out sooner or later.

But it's a whole 'nuther ballgame when officially recognized education qualifications become part of regulatory requirements. The last 10-20 years has seen a huge spike in the number of industries and job titles that never did but now require licenses.

Some will claim that this ensures a certain standard of professionalism or quality but I think many more will recognize it as simple rent seeking by the government(s).

When the government, in an attempt to prevent people from fleeing the college loan system/industry, waves its wand and changes the expensive, empty suit college degree from a culturally accepted, but optional "best practice" into an official requirement for thousands of jobs, there will be no question what the motivation is.


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 17:23 | 2233579 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

There is no legitimate reason to require a college degree on top of passing a certification exam...  whether it be accounting, law, or any other profession...  if you can pass the bar, then you should get to be an attorney...  no need for 3 years of babysitting.  Same for any other.

Academia and its supporters do not understand that theoretical models teach very little as a percentage of one's work day and productivity...  rather, most folks learn on the job...  including those with degrees AND certificates...  the founder of the most famous law firm in my state stated it took on average 10 years of practice before a person became a lawyer worth a shit... 

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:19 | 2232636 azzhatter
azzhatter's picture

I have an associates degree and have made as high as $450K in a year. Average for the last 10 years has been $350K

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:56 | 2232789 battle axe
battle axe's picture

Well then just think what you could of made with a full degree....

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:56 | 2232792 HelluvaEngineer
HelluvaEngineer's picture

Wow. Are you a Realtor?

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:22 | 2232883 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

The ponzi scheme and its subsidiaries at work for you.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 16:35 | 2233399 ali-ali-al-qomfri
ali-ali-al-qomfri's picture

azzhatter, the real question is what did you do with the 3.5m?


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:23 | 2232647 Benjamin Glutton
Benjamin Glutton's picture

Sure why's one for the collection. JCC General Dempsey testifying at Senate Armed Services Committee today...


"...... the cost of a Syrian intervention will be zero...because we take the assets from somewhere else and use them it's a zero sum game."


it's Washington that has seceded,imo.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:23 | 2232654 taniquetil
taniquetil's picture

I cannot recall a single time when the government decided to fuck with capital markets that turned out well for the general population.


Anyone have any examples?

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:27 | 2232665 Hippocratic Oaf
Hippocratic Oaf's picture


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:30 | 2232677 Robot Trader's ...
Robot Trader&#039;s brother's picture

 Food Stamp Act of 1964

The Food Stamp Act of 1964 appropriated $75 million to 350,000 individuals in 40 counties and three cities. The measure drew overwhelming support from House Democrats, 90 percent from urban areas, 96 percent from the suburbs, and 87 percent from rural areas. Republican lawmakers opposed the initial measure: only 12 percent of urban Republicans, 11 percent from the suburbs, and 5 percent from rural areas voted affirmatively. President Lyndon B. Johnson hailed food stamps as "a realistic and responsible step toward the fuller and wiser use of an agricultural abundance."

Rooted in congressional logrolling, the act was part of a larger appropriation that raised price supports for cotton and wheat. Rural lawmakers supported the program so that their urban colleagues would not dismantle farm subsidies. Food stamps, along with Medicaid, Head Start, and the Job Corps were foremost among the growing anti-poverty programs.

President Johnson called for a permanent food-stamp program on January 31, 1964. Agriculture Secretary Orville Freeman submitted the legislation on April 17, 1964. The bill eventually passed by Congress was H.R. 10222, introduced by Congresswoman Sullivan. One of the members on the House Committee on Agriculture who voted against the FSP in Committee was then Representative Bob Dole. As a Senator, Dole became a staunch supporter of the program. The law was intended to strengthen the agricultural economy and provide improved levels of nutrition among low-income households; however, the practical purpose was to bring the pilot FSP under congressional control and to enact the regulations into law.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:24 | 2232657 Robot Trader's ...
Robot Trader&#039;s brother's picture

My sister-in-law is complaining about the upcoming (25k per year) student loan debt for her only child, which starts next year.  

I suggested that there are alternatives to an expensive 4 year university education.

She countered with; "We are doing it for the experience - I want her to have that experience."

I think about what she says, and where we are heading, and my only though is..'keep buying more physical silver'......

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:00 | 2232804 EmileLargo
EmileLargo's picture

And gold.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:25 | 2232893 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

"We are doing it for the experience - I want her to have that experience."

Maybe she's right. My kids are opting out of paying for that experience.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:34 | 2232918 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

The only differences between a bachelors degree and high school are: (a) you can wear pajamas in college; (b) you can cuss in college; (c) if you skip a college class, the police don't come and arrest you and your parents; (d) lunch isn't $1 in college; (e) fucking your teachers is less frowned upon in college; (f) there are a lot more copies of your tests and lectures floating around in college; and (g) college costs a fucking lot more.

What kind of bullshit, contrived experience is it she thinks she's paying for?  We want suzie to have a 4 year vacation where she can get train run on her by the basketball team, can get roofied a few times (and wake up with a sore asshole), get a chemical dependency, AND have to take remedial english and math courses because she fucked them to high hell in highschool?  Give me a break.

Tell her that her daughter needs to get an HVAC or mechanics license and start making money.  

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 15:00 | 2233031 moonshadow
moonshadow's picture

$100K in debt will be an experience she won't forget

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:28 | 2232660 EmileLargo
EmileLargo's picture

Marc Faber mentioned a very interesting study in one of his newsletters about the inflation of US student fees. Apparently, one factor in the inflation of tuition fees is, believe it or not, Football Coaches! The average college professor has seen his salary rise by 32 percent since 1985 (in nominal terms). In real terms, he has probably taken a significant pay cut. College Football coaches on the other hand have seen their pay rise 730 percent since 1985.

This is what the average schmuck going into College is paying for today. The cult of Football which, with a few very small exceptions in the case of gifted athletes, adds zero value to the student's career prospects long term. It is of course one of a number of factors behind the inflation in tuition fees but it is a factor. That was another reason I chose to study in the UK rather than go to a US school. I finished my degree with few debts and have lived debt free since.  

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:32 | 2232683 Tsar Pointless
Tsar Pointless's picture

But football brings SO MUCH MONEY into the coffers of universities! And, what would all of those dumb hillbilly` rednecks and inner-city thugs do without football? How would they get into college, a place where formerly well-deserving and studious individuals only were allowed to gain entry?

People can bitch and moan about womens' studies and other "worthless degrees" being the ruination of higher education, but in reality, it's sports - especially football.

It's ruining secondary education, too, BTW.

If you want your idiot offspring to play a sport, don't expect me to pay for it. Pay for it yourself, you goddamn leechfuck. I have more important things to do with my money, such as buying lube and pornos.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:36 | 2232703 i love cholas
i love cholas's picture

in defense, I'm sure the top 10 football programs are TV revenue driven but for the rest of D-II schools, they should not have a football program.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:34 | 2232696 eatthebanksters
eatthebanksters's picture

But college footbal coaches, in the big picture, are revenue producers while professors are cost centers. If a professor can net $20 million (after all expenses) or more a year for his school he should make a bundle as well.  Not to mention, many (smart) students include 'football schools' in their selection criteria for a college...all part of the college experience.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:42 | 2232721 Tsar Pointless
Tsar Pointless's picture

Fine. Then drinking all weekend, getting high non-stop and finding the best colleges for all-night gang-bangs should be acceptable reasons to cite for selecting a particular college.

Sports is the ruination of this country. Above all vices, that's the worst. By far.

You can argue about movies and video games and teevee shows being our downfall, but when in the hell was the last time you saw some idiot running around with the name of a Broadway or Hollywood star on the back of their shirt? Or with a decal on their vehicle of some teevee show or movie?

Cities and states didn't spend billions upon billions of dollars building arenas and venues for showgirls over the past two decades, did they? But they spent that much money on stadiums and arenas for overpaid, overpriveleged, overworshipped, undereducated twits in sports uniforms.

Where did the majority of the deadly municipal debt come from? See above.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:52 | 2232769 EmileLargo
EmileLargo's picture

There is a lot of truth to this. It is the same story in Britain where the antics of numb nut soccer players occupies so much of the people's time with their idiotic stories in the tabloid press, it is probably one of the major reasons the country is in utter doo doo.

But the question you have to ask is that if the people didn't have sports (among other distractions), what would they actually do with their time? Bread and circuses have their uses. Your average joe is not going to spend his leisure time listening to Beethoven, read Shakespeare or learn about the genius of the great painters of the Renaissance. He needs instant , cheap and easy entertainment. And football in the US (and Soccer in the UK) provides him with that.

Thu, 03/08/2012 - 02:39 | 2235008 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

When did hangin' out at the milk bar with yer droogy friends become passé?

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:21 | 2232873 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

For the average moron, sports provides the outlet.  It is either that or war, take your pick.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:42 | 2232938 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

Don't forget the bread (WIC, EBT) that goes with the circuses.

I've read this story before, in History classes at school, even!   We are fucked, but good.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 15:50 | 2233208 pvzh
pvzh's picture

Does not seem to reduce wars. When was it last time that USA was not at war with anybody?

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:46 | 2232739 drB
drB's picture

Not true. You need to look at the whole athletic department instead of just football program. For each football scholarship they will give a womans' lacrosse scholarship and that will not generate any profit. In general, only 5-10 athletic programs in US generate money as a whole. Please see

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:56 | 2232785 Tsar Pointless
Tsar Pointless's picture

You are missing the point.

GET RID OF ALL COLLEGE-FUNDED SPORTS. If you want to play, YOU pay. Not the government. Not other non-sports playing members of the student body. YOU.

That goes for football and womens' lacrosse or field hockey or bocce ball or what have you.

It's LONG past time where education centers stop funding things that are NON-education related.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:03 | 2232817 drB
drB's picture

That I completely agree with - sports should be self-funded/separate from University since it has no educational value. My argument was that very few sports programs generate money as a whole, despite what people think.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:50 | 2232759 FlyoverCountryS...
FlyoverCountrySchmuck's picture

You haven't seen stupid until you have dealt with a State-run University as a non-student. They are nothing but giant JOBS PROGRAMS, too politically powerful to stop. There is ZERO incentive to cut costs.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 17:55 | 2233705 r101958
r101958's picture

Panem et circenses Baaaaaby!

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:29 | 2232663 perelmanfan
perelmanfan's picture

The problem with comparing the incomes of college grads to non-grads is that the latter group includes the mentally handicapped, prisoners, druggies and assorted unmotivated types. A useful comparison would be to contrast the incomes of college grads to those of motivated, intelligent non-grads. I've met a number of people who skipped college because they were so damned smart and motivated that they did not have time to wait through four-six-eight years of bullshit, they wanted to get to it. Two famous examples are Bill Gates and Elon Musk - the latter runs Tesla Motors, SpaceX and Solar City. But there are also plenty of six-figure plumbers, electricians, Mercedes mechanics and entrepreneurs of all stripes in this category. If your kid has drive, use what you'd devote to his college tuition for a startup stake in his enterprise. You might both get rich.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:47 | 2232745 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

perelmanfan said:

The problem with comparing the incomes of college grads to non-grads is that the latter group includes the mentally handicapped, prisoners, druggies and assorted unmotivated types.

The former group also includes those types. In fact, college administrators and professors include those types as well, as long as you count mental illness as a mental handicap.


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:29 | 2232668 Gringo Viejo
Gringo Viejo's picture

Student loans: The greatest scam since the '70s when a guy came up with the idea of selling apartments to people, charging them monthly HOA fees and calling them CONdominiums.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:37 | 2232705 eatthebanksters
eatthebanksters's picture

If student loans were distributed like construction loans, out of escrow or from the lender directly to schools, text book stores, food centers and living space providers, I bet you would see the dollar amount of student loans drop dramatically.  The stereo and auto markets would suffer as would the growers in NorCal.

Wed, 04/04/2012 - 09:35 | 2233216 DC Exile
DC Exile's picture

Au contraire. If the loaned funds went directly to the student instead of the specified institution, we would introduce some competition in higher education pricing. The student should be free to shop around for classes and a degree without being locked into a particular institution. As it stands the higher learning system has quite the racket going. Student loans -- in the name of individual student -- go directly to the coffers of the higher education institution. After they take their cut, usually up to 80% to cover tuition, fees etc, any remaining funds are issued to the student usually on a bank issued debit card with high usage fees. If the student is to be saddled with non-dischargeable debt for the rest of his life, he should have as much discretion as possible on how to spend it. As it stands today, colleges and universities have partnered with the worst elements of the banking and political class to create a permanent caste of debt slaves out of well-intentioned yet often naive young people.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:29 | 2232671 baby_BLYTHE
baby_BLYTHE's picture

Ben Bernanke Says That His Son Will Graduate With $400,000 Of Student Loan Debt

If Daddy can print to bailout his buddies on wallstreet, why not print to bailout his own flesh and blood?

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:45 | 2232735 drmfh
drmfh's picture

And this is the son of the guy that's pulling the levers on our economy. Hell, just use daddy's influence and forget the education cost. The kid could get a degree from U of Phoenix online  or the local community college and be running (ruining?) the economy in just a few short years...

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:32 | 2232688 sangell
sangell's picture

As I recall the 'education industry' was the President's #1 source of campaign funds so there is another reason for the flow of federally guaranteed funding to that 'sector' of the economy. No different than Solyndra really.

Has anyone got an explanation for that ZEROHEDGE chart and the near vertical rise in student loans in 2011?

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:33 | 2232693 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

i try and tell family members do not send the kids to college......and everyone of them got very very pissed at me for telling them that

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:24 | 2232887 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Seasmoke said:

i try and tell family members do not send the kids to college......and everyone of them got very very pissed at me for telling them that

I do the same thing, and I even work at a university. For the ones that still go, I tell them to steer clear of student loans because they'll regret it for the next forty years.


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:34 | 2232700 elderstew
elderstew's picture

The banksters pretend they are paying, the youngsters pretend they are studying. A win/win deal if ever there was one!



Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:35 | 2232702 onlooker
onlooker's picture


If I understand Student Loans correctly:


  1. There are two types of loans, Government and Corporations. At least one University may have presented a Corp as a Government.
  2. Interest may vary.
  3. The Student Loan can not be cleared by a Bankruptcy or statute of limitations.  


If I understand correctly, CREDIT CARD DEBT AND  StUDeNt LOANS can not be escaped by Bankruptcy and there is no statute of limitations.


Equity of Wall Street thugs and honest Students is not equal. Honesty looses every time.

IF the rule of Law is to be ignored, then as an American concept of fair play and equal rights, we should all view corrupt as an obligation that can not be ignored as an option.


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:41 | 2232720 Count de Money
Count de Money's picture

Credit card debt can be discharged by bankruptcy. Student loan debt is more like tax debt, and cannot be discharged by bankruptcy.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:55 | 2232783 petridish
petridish's picture

And the feds do the collecting for FREE--they will keep tax returns and turn them over to the "creditors."  If you are unlucky enough to get to age 65 without having paid off your student loans, the feds will turn over your social security.  The amount collected will include any and all "late fees" and "charges" that have accrued.

This would all be over in a year if these debts were dischargeable in bankruptcy, and bankruptcy meant NO MORE CREDIT FOR 7 YEARS.  But then, who would buy ijunk??

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:44 | 2232947 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

...and if you die with unpaid student loans, they have first claim on your estate.


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 15:28 | 2233143 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

The recent change to bankruptcy (about 2005?) changed the CC debt discharge policies. 

I believe the trustee has to make a case for the filer to be able to discharge CC debt nowadays--it's definitely not a "gimme."

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:37 | 2232704 mr. mirbach
mr. mirbach's picture

A partial solution is to use and CLEP testing to bypass the first two years of college. 

When I hear youngsters saying that they are going to get student loans so that they can buy a car and iJunk it makes me cringe. Debtserfdom is good, join the collective, resistance is futile must be part of the public school indoctrination cirriculum. 

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:57 | 2232795 drB
drB's picture

Will not work for most engineering and exact sciences. Those have lab courses and oil refinery will not hire without knowing that the hire will not set the plant on fire due to being clumsy. Will work for fluff degrees and perhaps computer science.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:39 | 2232710 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

And sense we "pretend" everything is so great we get the aftershocks of a pretend recovery which = high gas prices and people being thrown off unemployment early. LOL.   So the pretend world is actually transfering to the real world imo. 

I'm almost as sick of hearing of the lack of machinists in the US (what all the older dudes with decades of exp can't work anymore because they've been laid off for more than 6 months?) as I am "get a great new career in IT in just 4 months" when there are IT support groups all over the US filled with people with huge experience?

"They" have an agenda and don't need our smashed hopes and dreams to get in the way. It wasn't until the last few years that I really understand how much the US has been taken over by the elites and what all this war on terror bullshit actually amounts to.

It's been my theory for sometime that the process is being sped up drastically because of our "awakening" and now it's getting sloppy.  They keep moving forward despite what happens.  It's going to get ugly as there's just not enough time to do with what they hope to get away with before everyone knows what's going on.  Consider 9-11 just a small scale example of how much they really don't care about people in the real world.

Give me a break........the US is crying about a few hundred dead in Syria when we went to Iraq and killed over a 100K civilians??? Bullshit. It's no wonder they want the likes of SOPA,30,000 drones and NDAA because they know the ropes are coming out.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:42 | 2232726 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

BTW I wonder how much of these student loans goes to things other than tuition, in other words another big ponzi pumping up the economy.  Anyone that suckered into this game at this point in time is totally clueless. Well unless they think it's going to collapse and get their house for free lol.  It would be different if you actually had a good job to go to afterwards. Most of them will have a full time job avoiding bill collectors.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:45 | 2232730 sleepingbeauty
sleepingbeauty's picture

So how much is a college education in the states.

My son has just started University, here in Canada. He is in computer systems engineering at a well respected school. Not top, not bottom. He is paying 10K a year in tuition and maybe 700 more in books. He got scholarships and grants totalling around 6K. He is living in the basement (tee hee - what a stereotype). He is in the co-op program so he will probably emerge out of school with about 5K in loans (assuming we don't pay anything).

I assume that this is not a typical scenario in the states ??

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:56 | 2232791 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

You mean 5k per year right? 11k-6kgrants unless the coop has something to do with it?

You can get by cheap in the US, it's the ones that have no $ for anything and go to the big campuses and borrow as much as possible for cars, rent etc. that racks up big numbers. 

Then we have all the "get a 60k job in 4 month schools" that cost an easy $20k and result in no job and a bill you can't get out of.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:46 | 2232737 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

The great Myth of Education is to confuse Cause and Effect. The Soviets showed the superiority of their System with Sputnik or so it seemed and they had a huge focus on Engineers. So the US had to close the Missile Gap and needed to boost Science Education so it did. The correlation with Economic Growth was that huge R&D Spend developed new technologies but Education reverted to Liberal Arts expansion because it was cheaper and Great Society programs created new Bureaucratic Jobs.

the Europeans watched and copied - Robins Report in the UK - but did not spend the money on publicly funded R&D to create economic growth simply thinking huge numbers of University students was the key - so they expanded their Social Security and Welfare Bureaucracies to employ the cohorts.

The large employer of University graduates in a country like Britain is the Public Sector so you get a self-feeding process where Engineers go into The City to model derivatives and English Lit graduates go to the BBC, or Politics or Teaching.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:55 | 2232781 drB
drB's picture

Engineering and exact sciences is difficult - it is easier to get a degree in ethnic basket weaving and then complain about lack of job prospects.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:56 | 2232793 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

No difference today.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:00 | 2232802 drB
drB's picture

Please look at average grades in engineering vs. humanities. Hint - the latter are much higher (more sensitivity/PCness). Also, engineering requires facts instead of babble so there is a need to study instead of talking about feelings. And at least where I am (TX) all ChemE graduates with decent (over 3.0) grades last year got jobs.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:03 | 2232814 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

Regardless, the opportunities after graduation are similar. Goverment, goverment, and government...

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:05 | 2232822 drB
drB's picture

Exxon, Shell, Total, Elf Atofina, etc...those are NOT government and most chem engineers get jobs there

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:10 | 2232838 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

So you're saying anyone that graduates with a 3.0 GPA in an engineering degree is going to get a good job? Come on... If that's the case I'll finish my degree, if someone else pays for it. I'm done with school otherwise. Fact is, no one is going to do that, becuase there's many more engineering grads than jobs. Period.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:17 | 2232857 drB
drB's picture

I do not know about all engineering degrees but Chem Engineering from here will give you a reasonable job, and also chemistry (though chem will pay less). It may be specific for TX, but people need to think where/what to study and calculate benefits/costs of their education. That is usually not done unfortunately. Also, why would someone else pay for your degree? Study and work at company the same time - this will be a bonus when you apply for job, and get good enough grades to qualify for scholarships. Such students get out with loans on order of 10-20K since this is a state school. Of course, one can go to private school, pay 50K per year, and then complain that basket weaving pays 20K per year...
Edit: Mech engineering which I am less familiar with also supposedly is a good major that has enough job openings and is paid reasonably well.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:27 | 2232884 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

If an employer offered to pay for me to finish and paid shit for salary until I paid it back through work, I'd do it in a heart beat. That's not going to happen, because employers have fresh graduates up to their eyeballs. I absolutely fucking refuse to borrow one dime to finish. I paid back $35K while eating beans and ramon. Everyone in academia can go fuck themselves as far as I'm concerned.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:29 | 2232904 drB
drB's picture

Then you should not have gone to University, or should have chosen a different major. From what I see, employers usually do not pay your tuition, but if you work half time for them when you study, they will often (not always) hire you after you graduate.
The problem is that universities are interested to get more students - so they do not tell truth about employment prospects after graduation. One would think that students should see right through that - but critical thinking is not in vogue because it does not go together with the "sensitivity", "I am greatest", "I DESERVE", and "I am winner #2 instead of being the last".

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:34 | 2232917 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

Yeah, yeah, I know the game now. You don't have to explain it to me. Make 5 kids debt slaves and only give 1 the chance to ever pay it back.

Isn't everyone in academia so civilized? My what sophisticated values they have.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:44 | 2232946 drB
drB's picture

I have worked for Pharma (many years), oil, and I have been on all sides of the equation. Ultimately it is up to the individual to decide what is the best for him, but I always tell students to calculate the debt/income ratio and to go for majors that have earning potential.
BTW, the tuition increases does not increase faculty salaries - they mostly go to build stadiums, or hire more administrators, or pay athletic coaches (see the biggest TX public salaries at The classes that I teach now just keep getting bigger. Also, in their infinite wisdom, in many universities students vote to increase their fees to support athletics/build lounges etc. So a fair amount of blame for the current education bubble prices lies on students also.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 16:09 | 2233269 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

Ah, so you are a "professor". When you say all ChemE grads got a job last year, do you mean ALL ChemE grads got a job last year? How do you know? Are you just referring to the small brown nose clique that kissed your ass? What about the other 90% you probably never talked to but still paid your salary?

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 16:57 | 2233470 drB
drB's picture

Try writing without insults and with facts - I know about their employment because they take courses from me and in advanced courses which do not have hundreds of people in them I talk to all students. I could as well say you that you are a spoiled brat who fails classes, parties all the time and does not get a job because of that and who was stupid to choose a fluff degree...but that would not be correct, right?
And I did not say ALL - I said all who have decent grades.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 17:40 | 2233641 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

Haha... that must be getting to the truth. Just about every professor I knew had a fragile ego.

To all in academia... your day is coming. This "higher education" Ponzi is ripe for a pop.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 19:11 | 2233994 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

I am curious about the real percentage of graduates able to find a job after attending your classes. Maybe that would be a good research opportunity? Ah... but that wouldn't prove the status quo, so you couldn't get a grant for it. Maybe you could do it just as personal vindication? Find a graduation roster or attendance record, or whatever, from last year. Call everyone and find out. You may be surprised at all the names you had forgotten or never bothered to remember. You may include your ass kissing clique and exclude all those with a GPA below 3.0. If you have any scientific credibility you will gather the facts before you make the calculation instead of extruding what feels right. I suspect the real answer would make you less smug, if you have any compassion whatsoever, but that's just my hypothesis.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:53 | 2232994 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Good reasons not to become a scientist, written by a scientist:

Of course, this was written nearly 13 years ago, pre-dotcom-bust and pre-current-depression, so the prospects for law school, computers, and engineering aren't that great anymore either.

Best line from the article: "I have known more people whose lives have been ruined by getting a Ph.D. in physics than by drugs."


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:58 | 2233024 drB
drB's picture

He is right in some ways and not right in other ways. People should go into basic science if they are really interested, the rest should not for reasons he describes. He is wrong by saying "there are hardly any industrial jobs in the physical sciences" - there WERE enough for chem PhD's until 2008, and even now there are reasonable amount of jobs for chem BS's. For physics he is 100% right.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 15:35 | 2233165 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

If you want to sound like you know something about education, you REALLY ought to know the difference between the liberal arts and the humanities.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:50 | 2232758 Count de Money
Count de Money's picture

If you have to name a villian here, it is the colleges and universities. After all, it is they who set the prices.

Even so, they are acting in an economically rational way because if the government is making free money available, either through tax credits or student loan programs, they would be stupid not to take advantage of it. The irony here is that the more government tries to make education affordable, the more expensive it gets.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:01 | 2232810 Tsar Pointless
Tsar Pointless's picture

This is correct.

You want to make money abundant and next-to-free, you get the resulting inflationary pressures you deserve.

Transitory as they may be, of course.


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:07 | 2232830 mark mchugh
mark mchugh's picture

It's not ironic at all.  It's the perfectly predictable result.  If you want something to become over-priced, all's you have to do is encourage the government to get involved.

Fun fact: Obama's #1 contributor was the University of California.


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:45 | 2232951 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

The sickest part is that since it's fund (governmental) accounting, the colleges HAVE to spend all of this year's budget AND increase fixed costs for next year, to hold a gun to the revenue stream's head (tit).  At this juncture, the infrastructure costs of most universities are so expensive that any hiccup in revenue will cause the doors to be shuttered.  whocoodanode?

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:57 | 2232786 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Bubble du decennie.

Consider also the underlying industries in textbooks, merchandising, grants, and the # of tenured lackeys and you'll understand how Higher Education has become the GM, Chrysler, AIG, Countrywide debacle of the new decade.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:06 | 2232806 bobola
bobola's picture

Ad on the right side of ZH page says; "Click here to find out how to end your defaulted student loan, in 2 minutes." 

Now that is funny, seeing that ad next to this thread.............

Love it..!!!!!!!!

At least it wasn't Glenn Beck suggesting sheeple buy overpriced silver..........

Odd thing is, there are also ads on ZH geared to the mindless buyers of just about everything...

Anyone buying that crap today..??????

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:01 | 2232811 mark mchugh
mark mchugh's picture

The demand for college degrees is greatly distorted as well.  Most organizations requiring them are supported by the Government, either directly or indirectly, or they ARE the government.

Balanced budgets would force companies and the government to hire based on what they can actually afford, and that would reduce salaries of degreed workers as well as forcing these organizations take a more realistic look at how much of their workforce actually needs to be degreed.

But don't expect that feedback loop to start anytime soon.  This scam's still working beautifully.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:24 | 2232889 semperfi
semperfi's picture

Debt serfdom is VOLUNTARY.  Nobody is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to take out a loan for anything - student loans included.  You have to make a decision to become debt serf.  The problem is we are too fucking whiney & spoiled.  Don't want to go into big debt then don't pay for college. Can't go to college because of that then tough shit - go out and get a job and work your ass off to get to the top and be successful that way. Plenty of people have done it that way. Plenty of really rich people. Bottom line is you don't have to become a debt serf to be successful and get rich if that's what you want.  What it takes is a little common sense and a lot of hard work.  So for you spoiled-ass lazy-ass can't-do-attitude whiners: shut the fuck up, change your attitude, and get to work and work your ass off.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 16:38 | 2233407 Hugo Chavez
Hugo Chavez's picture

It is voluntary, but most of us didnt know any better.

We have a president constantly talking about kids needing a college degree.

I was lucky, but most 18 year olds believe what their elders tell them.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 15:39 | 2232913 cranky-old-geezer
cranky-old-geezer's picture



It doesn't matter what these charts say, the average sheep with high-school age kids is deathly afraid to NOT put them thru college, fearing they'll never be able to make a decent living without that degree.

But that sheep isn't looking at the economy and job market.  They don't see the huge shrinkage, making it way more difficult for those kids to get a decent paying job with that degree.

In this post-America economy we're in now, industrious people with good natural skills like car repair have way more opportunity to excel than the average (lazy) degreed kid with no natural skills.

That (lazy) degreed kid with no natural skills can't find a job in their "career area", they end up flipping burgers.

That's the point.  They're worthless outside their "career area".

On top of that there's fewer jobs available in that "career area", more (lazy) degreed kids are competing for those fewer jobs, which means salaries come down.  It's a buyers market these days.  Employers know they have the upper hand.  They can reduce salaries and still get all the applicants they want.

I would never hire a kid with a degree.  No way.  They have a horrible attitude. They think they're entitled to this and that just because they have a degree, they don't know jack shit outside that degree, and they're lazy on top of that horrible attitude.

Show me a kid who started at the bottom sweeping the floor in some shop, watching the techs, asking questions, learning, moving up to helper, learning more, then moving up to tech himself. 

That's the kid I'd hire in a heartbeat.

And that's the kid who will go on to start their own successful business some day (with my blessing).  They have natural skills fully developed bottom to top by starting at the bottom and working their way up. 

And they, like me, will never hire a (lazy) kid with a degree.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 15:45 | 2233191 Hugo Chavez
Hugo Chavez's picture

Not all kids with a degree are lazy. I wasnt.

I didnt know there was any other way, but I dug my share of ditches snd washed dishes in restaurants. We didnt have mexicans back then. Thats what high school kids were for.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:40 | 2232927 JLee2027
JLee2027's picture

Same thing with Child Support. Let's pretend it's for the children - but it's not.  Mom is not required to spend the money on the child.  Hair, nails, a new car, drugs, it's all ok. There is no accountability.  It's all about putting the male into debt bondage so the Government can replace him as the Father and leader of the Family.

You want to talk about profit?  Ok, here it is. You pay one thousand dollars per month to the State for your children. The State collects a 5% fee to write a check to Mom who pockets $950. Then the State reports to the Federal Government they have collected $1,000 in support. And the Federal Government then rewards the State with $500 - yes 50% of each dollar collected. And Joe Taxpayer pays twice - once to Mom and the second time in taxes and national debt.

Judges of course know all this. It's how the courthouses and social workers are funded.  So there is every incentive to MAXIMIZE child support awards because it's more money for them. If this isn't corruption, I don't know what is. In fact, it has become routine to look for reasons to create "arrears" so you pay child support forever.   Of course the large ""awards"" given out also contribute to more divorces and an army of lawyers with their hands in your wallet.

...and you thought it was about the children....nope, not even close.

How to fight debt slavery:

1) Make a private arrangement with the Mother. The courts and the government can do nothing.

2) Have the children live with you. If you have clothing/food/shelter, why not? This is YOUR family. If you can't or won't then send a check every month.

3) Control the money - make sure it goes to private schools/lessons/special trips/summer camps and not Moms material needs.

4) Any "arrears" should be agreed to deferred to college tuition/savings for the child and not Mom. This is for the children, right? Make it so!

5) Refuse to support this system if it's harming your children. It can be done but not easily.


There is no hope of reforming this monster.  It will fall when the currency fails or when the Federal and State Governments realize it can't continue to spend $4 for every $1 collected.  Until then, God help your children.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:40 | 2232933 Dermasolarapate...
Dermasolarapaterraphatrima's picture

from Niall Ferguson recently:

"Here is another striking statistic. Every three years the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development's Program for International Student Assessment tests the educational attainment of 15-year-olds around the world. The latest data on "mathematical literacy" reveal that the gap between the world leaders—the students of Shanghai and Singapore—and their American counterparts is now as big as the gap between U.S. kids and teenagers in Albania and Tunisia."

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:56 | 2233018 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

So data results are compiled and presented by academics?
Just like that global warming shit, those were more demi-god academics, too, weren't they?
Academics are just like politicians, they couldn't get a fucking job in the real world so there had to be an artificial construct made to support them.  Pull the plug on both their iron lung machines and let the fuckers starve.

Now, if the Chinese are so fucking smart why are those servile little people living and working like insects for scraps?  Why didn't they invent ELIAC or ENIAC?  Or powered flight?  Or penicilin? 

Because it's genetic.  It's just the way they are.  They held a 300 year naval advantage over anything out of the west and they dutifully burned the ships, the charts and any printed reference when ordered to by one (1) man.  Their social model is not efficient and susceptible to copius amounts of graft and corruption.  Servility does not win, and they've already hit the limits of any economy of scale that they could realize from their population.

They just don't have as far to fall when we all hit 1880's levels in transportation and farming.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:52 | 2232986 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

I am not surprised at all, in fact am happy that this is being brought into the light.

Yes some of the proceeds we lived on knowing we have to pay it back. But just long enough to get the required courses finished.

Now.... listen here.

You want to learn something in college? Then just take THOSE classes, dont let the colleges stack well rounded bullshit classes onto you. Don't waste time learning about dead people's artwork on a wall when you need that same time in your life to prepare for the next class.

I totally spit on everything College. It is nothing but a cancer on us all. And teaches nothing.

You want to learn? Get out there and do it. Don't rot in class.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 14:57 | 2233020 Gyro Gearloose
Gyro Gearloose's picture

God forbid some treasonous Bastard mention.......apprenticeship.

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