Another bubble that’s set to burst

Of all the things I’ve done as a parent that have earned me the disapprobation of my fellow parents, none has gotten me more abuse than my failure to encourage my offspring to go to college. My reasoning was simple enough: First, the days are gone forever when you had to go to college to get an education; nowadays any reasonably intelligent person can get an excellent education without attending college and without taking on massive debt (or any debt at all). Second, for most people, higher education is a very poor investment, as the cost of a college degree keeps skyrocketing while its value plummets. Third, the majority of young people graduating from college these days find themselves with fewer choices in life than they would otherwise have had, rather than more. This is one of those truths that’s so obvious that it requires a massive act of the will to deny it.

I’ve been saying all of this for years, and been written off as a crank and a weirdo… so whenever I find someone else saying the same things, it warms the cockles of my heretical little heart. This video summarizes the argument of Glenn Reynolds’s book, The Higher Education Bubble:

For further enlightenment:

College-for-all crusade does more harm than good, by Robert J. Samuelson

Will dropouts save America? by Michael Ellsberg

Too much higher education, by Walter Williams

The college scam, by John Stossel

So you have a college diploma, by David Burge


9 Responses to Another bubble that’s set to burst

  1. Fritz says:

    Rising health-care costs, housing bubbles, higher-education bubbles. “Our” government at work.


  2. DeniseVB says:

    You’re a smart momma. My oldest went to college because he knew his dream job required at least a criminal justice degree. My youngest was a rebel without a clue, so she was sent away to college to get her out of the house, otherwise she’d still be living with us or her high school boyfriend in a van down by the river.

    She dropped out after 2 years because she wanted to open her own business because one of her professors (d’oh) said you don’t need a business degree to do that ! He was right. She became a certified master bicycle mechanic for 2k and a month of a specialized tech school. She was taught to fish, so to speak, and will always have a job 🙂

    If I had a do over, I would have gone to beauty school and become a hair stylist. Not only would that have been fun, but for as hard as I’ve worked to make other people rich, I could have had my own shop, maybe like Truvie in Steal Magnolias 😀


    • Denise, I watched the video you linked a while back about your bicycle-mechanic daughter, and I wanted to give her a standing ovation! That’s exactly the kind of thing we need more of.

      My firstborn took out a loan to go to college for a degree in fashion design, but she dropped out after a couple of years when it didn’t work out. The debts remain, of course. Sigh… But at least she’s employed and lives independently, unlike many of her peers.

      My other adult kids chose not to go the college route, and they both have good jobs and no debt. My son recently bought a house, and my daughter and her husband are in the process of buying a farm — all of which would be impossible if they were carrying a gazillion dollars’ worth of college debt.


      • DeniseVB says:

        Exactly ! I always tried to tell my kids, it’s not how much money you make it’s how happy you are. Also, no, you can’t live with me. They did good, not perfect happy, but what kids are 😉

        Thanks for remembering that video.


  3. I always knew you had more than your share of common sense, Bob. I couldn’t say it better myself. I’m one of those “regretters.” Almost got a PhD before I realized what a horrible scam it was. And I dropped out before it became the truly epic scam that it is now. Would you consider reposting this elsewhere? Hint, hint? 😀


    • Hmmmm…. I will if you want me to, but I have a feeling I’d be stirring up a hornet’s nest. Do you really think it’s a good idea?


      • Dagnabbit, I’m always the last to get the subtleties of discretion. I’m just a dumb guy that way. Ok, let me think about it, but I’m coming up blank on the downside. I’m about to go out to look at furniture and get a burger and beer with my better half. Maybe that exposure to her good sense will knock some sense into me. 😉


  4. DeniseVB says:

    I think it was our British Marine neighbors in the 70’s who taught us that their kids would be sent to college or tech schools after the middle school years in the UK. I always thought that was a good education plan. 😉


%d bloggers like this: