Message to the 99% – Screw Universities, It Ain’t Worth It

I would be interested to hear what my 13 readers have to say about the Occupy Wall Street/I am the 99% protests. A common thread seems to be the complaint about how far in debt people are with student loans for their university education. An immediate thought comes to mind for the up and coming: forget the college or university education and learn something technical. It seems that college and university tuition is way overpriced and way overvalued. And how many people expect to get their dream job upon graduating from university with their precious and expensive piece of paper? How realistic is that anyway?

A quick look at Craigslist’s job postings for Portland, Oregon shows over 400 jobs for today, November 14th alone. That’s just Craigslist; there must be other job postings as well. But perhaps idealistic young folks (much like university grads here in Mexico) feel that many of these jobs are “beneath” them perhaps? I don’t know.

Enlighten me.

The other complaint that comes up often is the medical bills.

“I am drowning in medical bills.”

“My mother got sick and we had to remortgage the house.”

Not much to do there except demand (gasp) socialized health care; a public option. Didn’t get voted on or even included in, the health reform debate when Mr. Change brought it up. Why not? Where were all the protesters then? The health issue is something that people need to pester their representatives in the government with until it changes. Focus the protests on THAT until it happens, I say.

And as for universities? Screw them. Their degrees, certificates and fancy diplomas aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

16 thoughts on “Message to the 99% – Screw Universities, It Ain’t Worth It

  1. The gap between starting wages for high school grads and college grads has never been greater.

    College is worth more now than it ever has been

  2. Well your article hits on something I have said for a long time, university is a business and has created an artificial demand. Yes there is a need for some people to attend university. However many attend only to avoid actually going to work. And the other thing about university is that it fills in some of the blanks that high school did not.

    Having a trade is as honorable as a profession however many younger people frown on the idea of getting their hands dirty.

    Anyway, well put Mr. Lawson.


  3. Thanks Ron – is it really worth it? If you spend the next decade paying off that loan is it really worth it? Wouldn’t you be as well off not having the degree, making less money to start and gaining experience and moving up that way, as opposed to making more to start but not really feeling it as you are living under the huge black cloud of debt which brings you back to the same income reality?

    If enough people re-thought this perhaps the universities would have to make some adjustments, no?

  4. Hola Ray, thanks for stopping by. I sometimes feel like it’s a case of the emperors clothes; everyone THINKS they need this but you know what, they really don’t. Entire families acquiring huge debt to send a kid to college or university and for what? There’s a dearth of “good” jobs upon graduation ie no fancy management or leadership positions for the “children” who don’t want to actually work.

    Enter the Mexican immigrants, who will work at anything and are then accused of “stealing jobs”. Yeah right.

    How many of us older farts worked at all kinds of things for the lower starting wage and are doing alright? How many of todays’ business leaders and innovative thinkers and creators have fancy titles and degrees?

    It’s a lot of bullshit I say.

  5. One thing that appealed to me in the OWS demands was that corporations lose their “personhood”, I think that is a good idea. The tax structure in the US is skewed way too much to the working stiff, ie the 99%. The health care issue is absurd, but the thing I wonder is how did these rich guys convince all these working stiffs to support their tax breaks and immoral profits from healthcare? It’s got to be one of the best con jobs in history.

  6. Great observations from Lawson and also the other folks who commented.

    If you do a google search for socialized medicine, the wikipedia report is very informative…defining the various versions which exist, as well as some perspective as to its history and why many Americans are afraid of it. The universal health care system we have in Canada is far from perfect, but you will rarely hear anyone say they are drowning in medical bills.

    The education issue may be a bit more complex than just writing off university educations…they are essential in many fields…but tech jobs are definitely under-rated. Or how about a school which simply teaches you how to start and run your own business? Training people to be entrepreneurs? Now there’s a thought! Having said all that, I’d like to know how many European countries provide free or subsidized post-secondary education. If they can do it, so can we (the current EU financial mess notwithstanding!)

    But I think there is more to this Occupy movement than meets the eye. The best evaluation I have seen is Fareed Zakaria’s about education and social mobility:

    Then he goes on to propose some solutions for the education system:

  7. Thank you Jonna for popping in – and yes, that corporations have “rights” like regular human beings is just outrageous; how big business pulled that one off simply amazes me!

  8. Hola Juanita!

    I always tell my dear friends from the USA (the recalcitrant Repub ones) that there is nothing to be afraid of with a public health option and that all the ingenuity of US entrepreneurs must be able to come up with something that works for the USA. It seems callous and downright “anti-Christian” to let your neighbor go under for lack of health care.

    And I liked the link to Fareed’s article(s), thank you.

  9. I have a small business making theatrical costumes…I find it almost impossible to find sewing help, younger people start with us thinking it will be all fun and creative…and it can be, but its mostly hard work, after 2-3 months training, they quit. The core of my reliable skilled staff are over 50, I don’t know what will happen to businesses who manufacture when everyone who is willing to work-retires. There is no shame in work. My other question is how do these youngster pay their bills when they don’t hold down a job? They can’t all have trust funds! I’m trying to move myself and my business to Merida..will I have more luck with staff?

  10. I’m thinking more folks in US are going to college with financial aid, folks that wouldn’t have 20 years ago perhaps. Nothing wrong with that, for the education. But if they’re not prepared, or don’t want to work hard, it will not be a good fit.
    Sooo, people leave college with huge student loans after taking a pretty easy major that won’t result in a decent paying job. Of course, the current economic situation is making this picture more murky.
    Economist mag had a good article a few weeks ago, showing how more student aid… just let schools raise their rates higher and higher (no cost containment). Ugh.
    Seems the German system, from what I knew of it, was pretty good with technical schools as an alternative. Folks got good, hands-on training and apprenticeship, and really seemed to know their stuff.
    Well, comment from the peanut-gallery, since you asked 🙂

  11. Via easy money the govt created the student loan mess. Our wise legislators have ensured that student loans are not discharged in bankruptcy. Free market economists will easily recognize what is going on: Subsidies to crony Capitalists (i.e. the education industry which is a big contributor to Nancy Pelosi). Of course Boobus Americanus will have to pay for this along with other crony Capitailst bailouts such as the big banks, bloated GM Union pensions, etc. Not to mention the agricultural crony complex. BOHICA, the Progressive just keep on giving.

  12. Like cigarettes acceptance of a government student loam should come with a warning “Contents hazardous to your health and wealth” By the way the same could be said for Obamacare.

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