When I buy an $80 vacuum cleaner, and it doesn’t suck dirt, I take it back, and I get a refund.
If I buy an $80K education, and it doesn’t land me a better job, and I’m still working as a barista, who do I see about a refund?
This girl asked that exact question – and the comments on Slashdot completely miss the mark. Yes – this girl’s comments come off sounding entitled and out of touch, but it’s part of a greater problem – that millions of americans are taking-on enormous student debt in the hopes that a college degree will improve their job prospects. When they graduate – there are no jobs waiting.
Structurally, there are high paid jobs that will never go away in our society – being a plumber for example. However there was perhaps an unconscious assumption that we all shared for fifty years that if we all went to college, we could all graduate and have “manager” white collar jobs with salaries, benefits, 401Ks, and we’d all be okay. The economy leveled-off and tanked – so the supply of jobs went down. Student loans were cheap and readily available – so when the economy crashed – millions took the opportunity to go back to school. Thanks to for-profit universities like DeVry and UPhoenix, the supply of seats at universities grew with the demand. And now four years later they all graduated and there are no jobs waiting. Who do we see about that?
The fundamentals of our economy are broken – the systems – CEO pay, tax loopholes, and corporate hiring practices – they are all funneling the cream right to the top – where it does the least good. People at the bottom of the pyramid plough their paycheck back into consumption. People at the top plow money into investment banks that bet against the public being able to pay their mortgage – and win. Who do we see about that?
I’m disillusioned. And I’m one of the lucky ones.