I feel like America has been ignoring the obvious for along time, but perhaps understanding is dawning: millions of people wasted time and money on useless college degrees.

Over 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees (over 8,000 of them have doctoral or professional degrees), along with over 80,000 bartenders, and over 18,000 parking lot attendants. All told, some 17,000,000 Americans with college degrees are doing jobs that the BLS says require less than the skill levels associated with a bachelor’s degree.

... The relentless claims of the Obama administration and others that having more college graduates is necessary for continued economic leadership is incompatible with this view. Putting issues of student abilities aside, the growing disconnect between labor market realities and the propaganda of higher-education apologists is causing more and more people to graduate and take menial jobs or no job at all. This is even true at the doctoral and professional level—there are 5,057 janitors in the U.S. with Ph.D.’s, other doctorates, or professional degrees.

Please note that this analysis of time and money wasted on college does not include people who were convinced to go to college, spent a few years and tens of thousands of dollars, and then quit without a degree. "Going to college" is such a sympathetic cause -- and an idealized stepping stone towards the American Dream -- that's it's difficult as a society to be realistic about the limits of education.

It's important to remember that college education is a business with extremely powerful vested interests. Whenever the government spends more public money on secondary education, the vast majority of that extra money is captured by the education system in the form of increased tuition and fees. Students hardly benefit at all.

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