The College Scam
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The College Scam


These days all Americans are told go to college! A higher education is the single best investment. But a new book, The Case Against Education says this college push is a big mistake. How many thousands of hours did you spend in classes studying subjects that you never thought about again? Economist Bryan Caplan says most people who go to college shouldn’t. I learned little in college. I liked my friends and illegal drinking, but I slept through lectures. At least tuition then was $2,000, now it’s almost $50,000. People usually just want to talk about the tuition, which is a big deal but there’s also all the years that people spend in school when they could have been doing something else if you just take a look at the faces of the students it’s obvious that they’re bored and people are there primarily in order to get a good job. Because a diploma is a signaling device for people with no more brains than you have but they have one thing you haven’t got, a diploma! The con man who was the Wizard of Oz hinted at the problem years ago. Doctor of Thinkology. Why’d you write this book? The Wizard of Oz already made the argument. But almost no one seems to believe it. College graduation has never been more valuable than it is today. Education is my top priority and by supporting this budget you’ll make it yours as well. Meaning taxpayers must pay for it. All the politicians say, go to college. And there is evidence the higher you go, the more money you make. It’s totally true that when people go and get more and better and fancier degrees that their income generally goes up, but the reason why this happening is not really that college is pouring tons of job skills into you, the reason is that it’s impressive. You aren’t saying, you, individual don’t go to college, you’re saying we as a country are suckers to push it and subsidize it. Exactly. Just because it is lucrative for an individual doesn’t mean that’s a good idea for country. Because when most everyone goes to college, that just raises the bar. Imagine that you’re at a concert and everyone is sitting down and you want to see better, what can you do? Well you can stand up alright, and of course then you’ll see better. Now it does not follow though that if everyone stands up everyone sees better. You just block each other’s views. The same thing has happened in education, says Caplan, as more people got degrees, more employers insisted on degrees. The result isn’t that graduates get better jobs, it’s that employers require degrees for most every job. There are so many jobs where it used to be crazy to think that you would need a college degree, like to be a waiter in a fancy restaurant where now it would be very normal. Of course a college education is about more than getting a job, it’s also about learning but Caplan says if students really wanted to learn, they would just do it. If you want to go to Princeton, you don’t have to apply, just move to the town and start attending classes. Nobody does that. In people’s bones they realize that what really counts is that diploma. Today that’s a taxpayer subsidized diploma and when you subsidize something, you get more of it. More students apply to college, so schools raise tuition. Tuition cost has risen at triple the rate of inflation. Schools use that money to attract more students and more tax money. Many compete by advertising luxury. They promote things like lobster dinners, fancy pools. Students will come to us and say, this is what sealed the deal. Used to be reading, writing, and arithmetic, and well we’re now the 4th “r”, recreation. 600 colleges now have rock walls. Give our Tigers spring break every time they step in to the Student Recreation Complex. This is a public school, taxpayers fund that spring break. We also fund years of study in subjects unlikely to help students get jobs, like social justice, gender studies, multicultural studies. If we’re doing computer science or electrical engineering, then you probably are actually learning a bunch of useful skills, but every year we graduate about twice as many psychology bachelor’s degrees as we do engineering bachelor’s degrees. Of course there’s value in learning psychology, philosophy, literature, many employers say they want liberal arts graduates. It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing. It makes us better, wiser people. But you can’t assume that works. How many years of people’s lives should they be made to study stuff when the odds that they’ll ever appreciate it are 1 in a 100, 1 in a 1000? Maybe it makes our brains work better? It’s the kind of thing you’d expect teachers say, but there’s a whole field of people who have actually studied this. Much as they want to believe that you’re right they generally come away after looking at a lot of evidence and saying, wow actually it’s wishful thinking. Although Caplan calls college a scam, he says it’s great for a few people. People like him. I’m a tenured professor. Your audience may not realize how good of a gig this is, but a tenured professor cannot be fired for almost any reason and you get a nice income and there almost no demands upon your time. You just have to teach five hours a week? Well there’s people who consider that a horrible burden. That’s a scam that we’re paying so much money for people like you to teach you five hours. Yeah well, I’m a whistleblower. The bottom line of The Case Against Education: taxpayers ought to know that they’re getting ripped off. Government has made a tremendous effort to make education accessible to everyone. I say really what we need to do is to go back to a world where college is not so accessible, where it really distinguishes you, and in this way, people are going to be able to start their lives years earlier. The wisest solution all things considered would be if government just got out. It would be good if government got out of a lot of things.

About James Carlton

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100 thoughts on “The College Scam

  1. If 100000 people got a degree and let's say nuclear physics and Society only had a need for say a thousand nuclear physicist what do you end up with? You end up with a shitload of over-educated underemployed people that were promised the position would be there if only they have that piece of paper. I would think this would lead to despair in those that didn't get that key employment potentially leading to a higher suicide rate, which according to statistics is already happening.

  2. "Really what we need to do is go back to a world where college is not so accessible, where it really distinguishes you …"
    Translation: Only the financially well off need to go to college, everyone else in the lower castes just need to suck it up and learn trades to better serve the elites.

  3. Education is important but students leave H.S. ignorant and incapable of qualifying for entry level jobs. Reading & math skills are absent and after college they arent doing much better..

  4. All politics aside, you usually make some decent points in your videos but this one was incredibly weak. All the evidence was anecdotal and much of it was severely misguided.

  5. for starters a bachelors degree should be 3 years. do not make me sped an extra year taking bullshit classes in baskertweaving. I do not need or want a gender studies , sociology, philosophy or literature class. you make me take them to prop up those bullshit departments and so they can try and indoctrinate me into leftist crap!

  6. At 2:50: Can one actually just "move the Princeton and attend classes"? The college I went to had tight security. Would that not be considered trespassing, as you could not have a student ID?

  7. Do you remember when student loans and mortgages came from the local bank and were considered Consumer debt..? Now in an age of hyperinflation, where a $25k education jumped to $150k for the same education. And a $100k house jumped to $350k (but doesn't really have that value) . Now that every thing is backed by the federal gov't, those loans once considered consumer debt are now GOV'T DEBT.
    Put that in context with Social Security saying that they are having trouble making their monthly SSI obligations. The law on bank seizures changed about 6 years ago. Now your accounts cannot be seized for default consumer debt if your only income is Social Security. But when you try to retire at age 62+ the federal Gov't will seize your bank account to. SSI or SSD can be seized for default Mortgages or Student loans. If you only make the minimum payments on these loans, student loan of $125k will balloon to $250k in just 10 years. And the mortgage will never get paid off by making the minimum payments.
    Do you see how they discovered a way to take your SSI or SSD to fix the solvency problem..?

  8. Is College significantly subsidized in the US? Never would have thought it considering how much student debt my american friends have. I guess it's those obsurdly high tuition fees in the US. Much lower cost in Canada. Even cheaper in Europe. But then there's also the part about how useless a Bachelors degree is (Math n Physics major here). Even if it's free, is it worth all the time you could be making money in a job? I suggest only going to University if it's NEEDED for the type of career you want.

  9. My favorite thing about trying to find a job:

    You need a degree…

    Also you need experience.

    Umm how am I supposed to get experience if I’m busy getting a degree…and why do I need experience anyway??? I thought that was what the education was for!!!

  10. So true. My employer wanted a college graduate with 2 years experience managing or supervising but got me instead. From my perspective I’m doing as well if not better than the other supervisors that don’t have degrees as well. Their last supervisor with a degree did make 40 grand more than I do and 30 more than the highest earning supervisor in my department but she cheated the company for a year. Took fridays off with no approval from HR and ignored her work on that day.
    Also my responsibility utilizes very little if not negligent amounts of knowledge that I acquired from my 1.5 years in college. Nonetheless my company continues to seek more supervisors with degrees.

  11. There are alot of things a person can do to make a lot of cash . . .IF they can think for themselves! Higher education teaches people to "think within the box". Remember . . .Gates did NOT finish college, he thought outside the box . . .for himself!

  12. I’m studying in Russia haha as an international student in computer science. My university offered me almost 12 subjects wtf such like sport, economy, history, life safety, music, English, math, lab, programming, latext…..

  13. I completely and respectfully disagree with this logic and explanation that college education is a scam. First, when you go to college you go to learn (in most cases) a marketable trade. The degree that you get from learning that trade certifies that your knowledge in that field has been tested to be adequate to perform the tasks that a trade requires. It's a trade that can allow you to make an adequate living (depending on what it is) for the rest of you live. Secondly, it also signals to employers and your peers that you have the required skills and expertise to do the skills that you learned (considering that some jobs like doctors and lawyers can't be filled without people with a college education). Thirdly, a person's earning potential is always higher for those who have a college degree over those that don't. there are many more reasons for getting a college degree. There are also disadvantages to getting one, but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

  14. Today far too many "students" take a bunch of what I call "fluff stuff" classes that are very easy to pass with a good grade as long as one learns the professor's professors preferences and prejudices echos them on tests, papers and oral presentations. The only place this tactic won't work is in the hard sciences: math, physics, chemistry, electronics, software engineering and similar. I majored in Chemistry, but was required to take fluff stuff courses for my "personal betterment" or some such euphemistic thing. I still get a chuckle out of a so called "economics" class I had to take. I learned that, like most professors, the instructor was heavily leftist biased. When it came to the "term paper", I did the whole thing in about 2 days. Knowing the professor's prejudices and what he thought were "good journals" etc. I just wrote a bunch of mumbo jumbo that I knew would please him. For my bibliography and footnotes, I merely spent a couple of hours in the library using the card catalogue to locate sources I knew he favored that had articles in them that had something to do with the "subject" I was writing about. I then merely sprinkled "citations" around the paper like sprinkling confetti around at a parade, never even actually looking at any of my "sources". It did the trick. I got a "B" on the paper and a "B" in the course thereby doing no harm to my GPA which was all that I cared about. But like the professor in this video says it was a total WASTE of my time. Fortunately back then, tuition was probably only about a fifth of what it is today.

  15. These kids need to focus on something that will give them access to a good career. Whether that be trade school or STEM or whatever else is getting people hired. The real scam of college is charging some kid 120k for a degree in poetry, or philosophy, or some other unmarketable crap that will do very little to enhance their employment chances.

  16. Unless you study engineering, law or medicine(I am). I pretty much think college would be useless. Better to look for a mentor and learn practical stuff.

  17. I'm interested in writing fiction for a living, and currently am taking classes in pursuit of a creative writing degree. It's pretty much true that the diploma won't do jack for me, but I'm learning much more about my craft much more quickly than I would if I had to do it through online classes and books about writing. Having a community where you can workshop and get advice is really important. I think part of the problem is sending kids to college when they don't know what they're trying to accomplish by attending. The resources that are made available to you at a university can be incredibly useful, but only if you take full advantage of them.

  18. When everyone has something, it becomes less valuable. So, I strongly encourage your kids to not go to college. That will give my kids the advantage. That will give my kids plenty of low wage people to hire. Thank you for your corporation. I kid. The root cause of the higher education problem is too much taxpayer money for loans. This creates infinite demand which drives up the price of education. Kids who truly want to go to college should go. Kids who are forced to go, should not.

  19. This video is a scam, they promote the equality bullshit of all degrees are equal, physics is not equal to underwater lesbian basketweaving therapy

  20. Its nice people are finally realizing, college is a waste for most. However, it sucks for people who went because every adult guiding their life told them thats how you get a good job . I also cringe at people who want to go "for the experience". You can experience the (overrated) social aspects of college while working an entry level job without a degree a a young adult. If you got to college you'll wind up with the same job plus 50,000k in debt.

  21. This all SOUNDS good! The problem is that most people watching this will have a MUCH BETTER chance at being wealthy by utilizing college the right way.. COLLEGE CAN EASILY MAKE YOU A MILLIONAIRE 4 years after graduating MAXIMUM! YOU can be FINANCIALLY FREE in your mid 20's and us the rest of your life achieving riches for fun.. Im making vids on this because most info is so misleading and is going to make most of the viewers poor… Not ALL viewers… But MOST >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e22q9OF8HvE

  22. Instead of confronting the corrupted practices of college institutions, Bernie Sanders wants to steal from the working class to pay off the corrupted college institutions. It's like hey these people are ripping you off, so I'm going to steal from the victims to pay off the thieves. That is Burnie's true message.

  23. Another words if government has their hand in we the tax payer are stupid. I want to pull back from paying my taxes and they are taking advantage and spending it recklessly.

  24. What about the jobs that demand you have a degree even you could easily be trained but without a degree they won’t hire you.

  25. A good trade school can definitely be worth more than a lot of college degrees. Especially in today’s low paying jobs and astronomical college expenses . And if you have to finance your college education, god help you.

  26. Good Job, John

    in the 60s & 70s, I spent a lot of time auditing classes at Stanford …advanced degree Ph.D. level lectures in S.T.E.M fields …Law, Medicine, Engineering, Archaeology …and subordinate fields Anthropology, Biology, Mathematics

    …From puberty I had been frustrated by antiquated libraries and incompetent book stores for knowledge

    …I lavished in the search for knowledge …I was always in good company as the other kids were fully engaged in these fields …although I wasn't supposed to play in their 'Reindeer Games', I was handily received with 'Hail Fellow Well Met' for my contributions …I have compiled since then and never lost interest …I 'give back' at every opportunity

  27. i got a bachelors degree, paid off, waste of time… I wish i went to trade school, or something that i cant afford to fuck with now (making 8$hr apprentice for example)… College is a waste of time

  28. Finally, I heard someone else say it! Useless subjects required in college to get a degree, that have nothing to do with chosen career path and take up several unnecessary years and add to the high cost! It makes it harder to retain the information you do need, and it's more stressful having to study and learn about subjects that shouldn't be required. Example: what does french Literature and astronomy, have to do with being a nurse? what does flag football p.e. ( yes in college)have to do with business degree?

  29. and the degree looks impressive on a resume but that's all. some of the stupidest people I've met, have masters and PhD degrees

  30. College attendance has been on the decline for years. Meanwhile, income inequality has diverged. I can agree that maybe college isn't for everyone, but education of some form is the great equalizer.

  31. What does that tenured professor do outside of 5 hours of classes? He may be submitting papers that build his name and the stature of his university. Teachers teach 30 hours a week, but grade papers and create lesson plans beyond that time. I think students should have that college experience, it's less and less common. I didn't have those wild parties, but I drove 6 college kids on my first Uber (glad that's over) and saw people puking in the streets (this is a prestigious university.) The girls were hot AF, I was pissed that I got paid $6 for all that driving because the first person to leave was the person who had the phone. They went to school, I got educated! (actually, I also was in college at the time; not the prestigious one.)

  32. The problem is that people will use their degree for things that don't relate to it. If you're hiring a waiter for $15 an hour, which is a job for a teenager with no experience, and you get a teenager with no experience or a 20 year old with a psychology degree, which are you going to hire?
    The fault is YOURS for flooding the market with degrees where there shouldn't be people with degrees.

  33. How do you stop it though? Many jobs will already filter out your application if you have no degree. If college was suddenly harder to get into, there would be a period of time where people couldn't get jobs.

  34. That concert analogy is brilliant. You should add that when everyone's standing, everyone is less comfortable, just like when everyone goes to college, everyone loses four years when they could be working.

    Few things infuriate me more than the fact that we encourage our kids to sacrifice four years of their life on a zero-sum gain. We might as well encourage them to make money by stealing or gambling.

  35. John you've proven that everything is Rigged!
    And the older i get the more i see it!
    Government, education, social programs, legal systems, police departments, everything that you can touch tast and smell, ALL PHONY!
    DON'T BELIEVE WHAT IM SAYING?
    JUST WAIT A WHILE, YOUR GOING TO SEE IT FOR YOURSELF!

  36. kids today want free college too. Why? If everyone has degrees in the same useless thing no one will be paid well in the jobs that need a degree.
    Go get a trade!

  37. I learned to read and write at school that's about the extent of it. Left at 14 nursed my mother for a year and learned a lot, went to work and learned a lot. School is for the jobs it creates for teachers.

  38. I love watching John Stossel. It motivates me to learn to fight these ridiculous motions of life;that people on U.S.A. are blindly walking

  39. Sometimes you do learn something, at Evergreen College and others, you learn to keep ideas other than main stream to yourself, left wing conforming, for if you say anything wrong, you get assaulted by the student mob, like Prof Weinstein did, and the college administration will just stand aside and let the mob have a free hand. You learn to be a great "yes man" in the industry after you graduate. It is disgusting to think it actually cost plenty to enroll there, and for anyone who will hire someone with that college on their resume.Colleges are now fully infiltrated by the left wingers.You also learn acting skills, act like you are left wing, and you pass much more easily with less work.

  40. I learned more in a trade school than in a university. But I learned the most from books I read (after college.) and I read his book. I loved the font in the title too.

  41. If you consider THE TIME SPENT in university (not earning anything) plus the MONEY SPENT ON COURSES and BOOKS, plus the AMOUNT SPENT on RENT AND FOOD for out of town students, as well as the experience you haven't accumulated, and deduct this total from your eventual earnings, it will take years to break even before the the difference between your wages and the money earned by trades people becomes apparent. If you go into a REAL profession you will have a better chance, but that takes more years of sacrifice and expenses, and money you have failed to earn. It is not as lucrative as it seems. In the 70s if we met someone new we asked what is your sign? Now we ask what is your degree? They can be equally frivolous.

  42. The cost of college has gone up exponentially in the last 35 years. Four times the cost of living. They need to reset their tuition rates. The rates have gone up as a college education quality has gone down that doesn't make sense.

  43. Unless you are going into a profession like being a lawyer or being a doctor or some highly technical field engineering it's really true college is not that important. The probably is some value to the fact o I finished college but I think it's nebulous

  44. Kids were pushed to college as a part of the push for leftist ideology and indoctrination. The proof is, it has worked. Just look at all the dumb educated leftist SJW,s.

  45. We can see what becomes of liberal arts graduates. They're out in the streets screaming about social justice when they're not working at Starbucks.

  46. Colleges keep increasing tuition because they know students will be forced to take on loans that is backed by the feds if the borrower defaults. Win-win for them, it's that simple.

  47. Everbody that pushed college education, from Clinton signing NAFTA and sending all our factories out of the country, are the ones getting filthy rich from student loans.

  48. Ask college students about history. They know absolutely nothing about it. They are really just being brainwashed and turned into liberal mush.

  49. I think there should be a college tax for employers. If employer requires a college degree, that employer must pay x% towards a general college fund managed by a non governmental agency (otherwise politicians will spend it else where). Thus, those who benefit pay the most for the service rendered. If your work force is 50% college graduate, you pay the college tax. All funds must go towards tuition, all states must still subsidize the state college at current levels.

  50. 5:04 “can’t be fired for any reason” and that’s one of the major problems with the declining school system

  51. I think the bigger problem is that people get useless degrees. "I have a degree" means nothing if it's gender studies of feminist dance theory. Education should be more career focused

  52. You've gta stop the waste of taxpayer money on useless education courses. Teach kids a trade that will be useful to start a career or business.

  53. The sad part is that the new $15 minimum wage makes it impossible for employers to hire completely unskilled or "untested" workers. They require a degree in something so they can at least assume they were tested on some general life skills… like the ability to learn, to show up regularly, to manage time, to understand and prioritize tasks. These life skills were the purpose of a reasonable minimum wage. It was so the owner could give a kid a chance at his first job and grow them. $15 makes this impossible. Low-income is a different problem than minimum wage.

  54. Biologists. Engineers including electrical, petroleum, aerospace, mechanical and civil, Medical doctors. Nurses. Dentists. Psychologists. Computer scientists.geologists, geophysicists, teachers, accountants, statisticians, meteorologists, and more SHOULD and need a degree. We don’t need to make America dumber.

  55. Most of my friends who started businesses didn't even finish high school yet are running successful businesses

  56. The schools scare poor kids early on also with the saying " If you don't go to college, you won't become anyone or anything "! What a brainwashing!

  57. Education does not equate to college.. Everyone who holds down a job is educated in his/her own field.. Tradesmen are just as educated as lawyers just in different areas.. Unless one is going to be a doctor or engineer, a college education is useless now..

  58. All these kids going to college have no skillet. Ask them to change the oil in their own car… They would say, "how?". Then find a YouTube video but get upset about the tools…

  59. I have several formally "educated" family members working jobs that are High School level (or less) including fast food and pitching freight (grandchildren). One nephew with BS is an estimator for new kitchen cabinets another a salesman for paint products. Flip side: I and siblings became manufacturing engineers, business managers and owners without a degree. (I did not say we are not educated).

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