taking up the slack

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kiryan
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taking up the slack

Postby kiryan » Tue Mar 30, 2010 3:48 pm

I've been trying to form this line of reasoning for a few weeks now. It goes something like there is a lot of money laying around in the USA from the government's perspective and they need more of it especially because of the recession. So find ways to take up some of the slack.

The Student loan deal, where banks were making loans to kids and the government was subsidizing the rate to make it profitable for banks (government was also paying the student's interest). Obama calls it a victory that they basically eliminated all private student loans and are going to making it just another branch of government. The savings are theoretically billions of dollars that essentially represent the profit. Sounds good, maybe is good, but at the same time, now you have bigger government, less private employees and more public employees. You also have better control from a policy perspective as the POTUS. Does this lead to the same market imbalances that caused the housing crisis as government?

I'm sure there are more, but I can't seem to come up with one that illustrates this dynamic as well as the student loans. I'm trying to find one in health reform, but I don't think it fits despite the principle being if government does it (public option), then well save billions in private profits and be able to redirect those into healthcare spending.

Fundamentally when it comes down to it, because government doesn't pay taxes to itself, it absolutely gives it a competitive advantage against private sector. Sure, maybe you do want the government providing healthcare and student loans (arguably mission critical basic rights)... but the competitive principle holds true in any industry. Do you want government selling cars or growing food? Do you want them running grocery and convenience stores? This is a dangerous gimmick to keep spending when the money is gone. Start nationalizing industries to take up the profit for new government spending. What happens when you've publicized all profit in all industries? Communism and socialism.

Think about it. From their perspective, this is the government saving you money (until public employee pensions bankrupt you). Seriously... next stop Venuzela where Hugo Chavez nationlizes industries where the profits are too large and not going to the people (oil), nationlizes businesses that refuse to sell critical products at a loss (farms and retailers).
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Corth » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:25 pm

Want a good example of misallocation of resources? Government subsidies of student loan interest rates (through loan guarantees and deductibility of student loan interest) has resulted in a much greater supply of students than would otherwise be expected, causing tuitions to increase at a far greater rate than inflation, and causing an oversupply of college educated individuals working at McDonalds.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Sarvis » Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:14 pm

Corth wrote:and causing an oversupply of college educated individuals working at McDonalds.



Whereas without that, there would just be an oversupply of individuals working at McDonald's with no hope of ever doing something better.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby kiryan » Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:25 pm

building on what Corth mentions..

if you were a private lender, would you lend someone 40k a year to study at brown or juliard to be a professional flute player? or an artist? would you, should you charge them a higher interest rate considering that they are less likely to be able to pay back the loan statistically? Government will eventually hand out educational loans on some grand principle of people studying what they love irregardless of the reality. You know like home ownership for the poor and we all know how that turned out.

Think about the "misallocation of human capital" blamed for the lack of nurses and doctors in America. Government had a major hand in helping create this with their come any come all study whatever you want grants and subsidized student loans. The market would've forced people to be realistic about what they paid for education and what occupations they trained for. Instead colleges are full of "undeclared" people most of which will drop out wasting our tax money. Why because its just what you do, get a government loan go to college, no serious thought about it.

Furthermore, Obama wants student loan payments to be capped to your income (not based on how much you owe). I don't know if that was in the bill. My sister is a great example. She took out something like 90k in loans paying I think $600 a month for her Masters in International Business and BA in political science, but she makes around 45k as a marketing research analyst. Now she's interested in going back and getting a PhD which I'm sure will bump her salary some, but at the end of the day she's just not that good and her colleagues consistently over the years have outperformed her with less education because they actually have talent while she has paper.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Corth » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:08 am

Sarvis wrote:
Corth wrote:and causing an oversupply of college educated individuals working at McDonalds.



Whereas without that, there would just be an oversupply of individuals working at McDonald's with no hope of ever doing something better.


Better to be working at McDonalds without $100,000 in student loan debt than with it...

Too many people goto college these days. Certainly more than the labor force needs. Mostly because of government subsidies. Even without the tuition it's a costly endeavour. You lose a minimum of 4 productive years of your labor. Factor in the tuition and you damn well need to have some upside expectations to make it worth it. Unfortunately, with a college degree being the new high school degree, chances are you'll find work doing something not much more interesting than working at McDonalds... unless you plunk down some more time and money and get a post-graduate degree.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Disoputlip » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:44 am

When it comes to doctors then I think Cuba did the right thing. More than 30,000 Cuban doctors currently work abroad according to wikipedia.

Producing a lot of doctors will lower the price. And having doctors comming out of college without much debt also means consulting hours will be cheaper.

I don't see low labor workforce as the bread and butter of the US. A PhD. generate mabye 10 other jobs.

In Denmark higher education is free. And you get a salary for going to high school/college. This salary isn't very high, and you can only get it for 6 years. I think that is one of the best things my tax is going to... An investment in the future.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby kiryan » Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:10 pm

I've heard about the oversupply of doctors in Cuba, I'm not sure about the details the rigor of their training ect. But the point holds true, in a different thread a couple months ago, I suggested that we make healthcare a division of the US Army and train millions of doctors and nurses through it whether they go private or stay in government employ. Heck we could stop providing security services and troops and instead send doctors to war torn regions or sites of disasters.

The cuba model is something Obama can now achieve through more control over student lending now that it will be a branch of government; he may be able to direct more money/students into medical schools. The problem will be when the Democrats go we should provide special subsidies for chefs because chefs don't make very much but their education is very expensive. This is the same decoupling of risk vs reward that destroyed the world financial industry. I think you could make the case that existing government subsidies of loans over the past 20 years de-emphasized the financial aspect of going to college which lead to kids goign to college with no direction or plan (as corth said its the new highschool degree) which lead at least indirectly to not enough kids going to medical / nursing school. When I was a kid I remember people actually having to plan and execute a plan to go to college. Now its the default option and many don't even bother declaring because they don't know what they want to do.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Corth » Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:19 pm

Cuba having a lot of doctors is kind of like North Korea having a lot of nuclear physicists. Atrociously poor countries due to their planned economies - with an overabundance of a very specific speciality - which does very little to improve the quality of life for everyone else.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:20 pm

Disoputlip wrote:When it comes to doctors then I think Cuba did the right thing. More than 30,000 Cuban doctors currently work abroad according to wikipedia


Hehe, yeah, no. Cuba sends their "doctors" to various countries to engage in "volunteer" work to help the poor. #1, it isn't voluntary. Many of them have reported on the slave-like conditions of their daily forced labor, and the $30 a month they get paid to work in other countries. Likewise, Cuba does this in exchange for oil, especially with Venezuela. Chavez' "Mission Inside" is all about that; we'll give you oil to sell or keep and you send us doctors to make it look like we're doing good things, etc. Many of the doctors have been able to flee and seek asylum in different countries, including the USA. Several of them sued the Cuban government due to these very practices.

Also, the level of training of said "doctors" has been under considerable scrutiny also. Brazil expelled Cuban doctors working under these programs from Brazil because of their complete lack of proper training and/or skills.

I'd use another example if this is the line you want to persue, but not Cuba. Wikipedia won't tell you the whole truth, sadly. The only two good things the Cuban communist government has been able to actually do is: #1 lower the level of illiteracy in the country (this does not mean the education is better), and #2 produce a large amount of good, competitive athletes.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Ragorn » Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:25 pm

Corth wrote:Too many people goto college these days. Certainly more than the labor force needs. Mostly because of government subsidies. Even without the tuition it's a costly endeavour. You lose a minimum of 4 productive years of your labor. Factor in the tuition and you damn well need to have some upside expectations to make it worth it. Unfortunately, with a college degree being the new high school degree, chances are you'll find work doing something not much more interesting than working at McDonalds... unless you plunk down some more time and money and get a post-graduate degree.

I'm not sure the government subsidies have as much to do with it as the perception that a college degree is required to get "a decent job." Scholarships and student loan programs might enable kids to pay their tuition, but I don't think the programs themselves convince kids to go to college who would have otherwise gone straight to work.

Really, a degree only gets you your first job. After that, it's your experience and expertise. I do agree that too many kids go to college without a plan for how their education will carry them productively into the workforce. Problem is, most 16 year olds are more worried about what Lady Gaga is doing than how their college degree will transfer into positive value in the workforce.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Tanras » Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:46 pm

Our company will no longer interview people for non-administrative, entry level jobs unless they graduated from one of 12 schools or have GPA's above 3.75. Ideally, they have both. Just going to college is not enough anymore.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Sarvis » Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:48 pm

Tanras wrote:Our company will no longer interview people for non-administrative, entry level jobs unless they graduated from one of 12 schools or have GPA's above 3.75. Ideally, they have both. Just going to college is not enough anymore.


I'm going to go weep in a corner with my crappy 2.7 GPA... :(

How much experience do I need before no one cares about the 80% of classes that have NO bearing on my job anymore? ;)
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Corth » Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:02 pm

Tanras wrote:Our company will no longer interview people for non-administrative, entry level jobs unless they graduated from one of 12 schools or have GPA's above 3.75. Ideally, they have both. Just going to college is not enough anymore.


What are your thoughts regarding whether a college degree is actually necessary to accomplish the tasks you expect from these applicants?

Ragorn - the reason you need a degree for that first job (which doesn't actually need someone with such an education in the first place), is you are competing against a swarm of other college educated applicants. An abundance of them. As an employer, all things being equal, you may as well hire someone with a degree - especially if you can get him/her cheap. And that is what is happening. The subsidies for education have created an oversupply of educated applicants - which causes the value of an educated applicant to decrease.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Sarvis » Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:05 pm

Corth wrote:
Tanras wrote:Our company will no longer interview people for non-administrative, entry level jobs unless they graduated from one of 12 schools or have GPA's above 3.75. Ideally, they have both. Just going to college is not enough anymore.


What are your thoughts regarding whether a college degree is actually necessary to accomplish the tasks you expect from these applicants?

Ragorn - the reason you need a degree for that first job (which doesn't actually need someone with such an education in the first place), is you are competing against a swarm of other college educated applicants. An abundance of them. As an employer, all things being equal, you may as well hire someone with a degree - especially if you can get him/her cheap. And that is what is happening. The subsidies for education have created an oversupply of educated applicants - which causes the value of an educated applicant to decrease.



Actually many employers don't want to hire someone with a college degree due to the turnover rate. Why train someone who's going to start off looking for a better job, after all?
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby kiryan » Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:25 pm

What are you basing your claim on?

Unless you're talking about companies where there is literally no growth path, like workign at McDonald's or for a janitor service, I don't believe this addage mounts to squat in the real world. We hired a masters degree holder for low end social work. He may be a mid career person, but there isn't an opportunity for him and we get the benefit of having his skills and expertise at a low rate of pay. We pay for the position, not for the person's qualifications. I've seen this in a number of companies.

Furthermore, I've been told that I'm overqualfiied for a position a couple of times; I just double down and have always gotten hired and subsequently promoted. Being overqualified is not the issue, expectations and arrogance/attitude and not conveying how much you want the job or to work for the company is. People with advanced degrees often forget that they actually have to sell themselves or have unrealistic expectations of salary. You may have a PhD, but as a janitor you should expect to make minimum wage. They expect their degree and experience to do all the work and you're over qualified is a way of letting them down easy.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Tanras » Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:18 pm

Corth wrote:
Tanras wrote:Our company will no longer interview people for non-administrative, entry level jobs unless they graduated from one of 12 schools or have GPA's above 3.75. Ideally, they have both. Just going to college is not enough anymore.


What are your thoughts regarding whether a college degree is actually necessary to accomplish the tasks you expect from these applicants?

Ragorn - the reason you need a degree for that first job (which doesn't actually need someone with such an education in the first place), is you are competing against a swarm of other college educated applicants. An abundance of them. As an employer, all things being equal, you may as well hire someone with a degree - especially if you can get him/her cheap. And that is what is happening. The subsidies for education have created an oversupply of educated applicants - which causes the value of an educated applicant to decrease.


Corth - I think it depends. We hire lots of engineers. There are good engineers who do not go to college, but typically those engineers are specialists and have never taken the time to learn the theory behind what they practice. That actually does matter. It especially matters when you are trying to do things that other people have not done before you. We have a 40 person engineering group. One of them does not have a grade A education and that is because he proved himself by building his own websites and libraries before we met him.

I am willing to accept that there are exceptional people who can get a Harvard/Stanford/Princeton grade education by teaching themselves. I think those people are extremely exceptional and extremely rare. As a hiring manager, it is not worth my time to try to find them.

As it turns out, having done a ton of hiring and having read a lot of research, GPA and school tend to be excellent indicators of strong performance on the job. To an employer who has to sort through a hundred "qualified" resumes, those features on a resume are more consistent, by far, than anything else you can look at. Interview performance, on the other hand, has been shown to be an awful indicator of future success.

For this reason, college does play an important role to our company and to hiring because it is the best signal we can get in a one or two week interview cycle of how hard working someone is. As to the actual knowledge acquired in school. . .hit or miss. I valued my 4 years of undergrad because it gave me a foundation of kmowledge. It feel like I learned more on the job, but without that foundation, and without that rubber stamp, I might not have been as successful.

And yes, I did make good grades in college so feel free to call this self-promotional.

T
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Corth » Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:42 pm

Thanks Tanras. It doesn't exactly illustrate my theory, but I appreciate the insight. Certainly when you are hiring people for their technical skills, education would be expected to correlate with job abilities. And I have no doubt that GPA would be a good indicator of success regardless of whether you actually need the degree. It demonstrates that you know how to jump through hoops, which is an important job skill. :) I think I am referring more to the hordes of liberal arts majors who find themselves doing nothing that actually requires an education (other than simply getting the job in the first place).
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Tanras » Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:16 am

I would actually argue that GPA is even more important to Liberal Arts majors for exactly the reason you mentioned :)

It is not too hard to make a 3.5 GPA in a liberal arts major at most schools, but I find that getting a 3.7+ is actually still a good indicator of a hard worker which is the only thing I care about when hiring someone right out of college. I have a very high hit rate hiring people from good schools with a 3.7+ GPA. . .not sure that method has ever failed me.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Corth » Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:51 am

You are concentrating on signals that indicate an applicant who will perform successfully within the positions you are trying to fill. I'm sure there have been all sorts of studies on that subject, and I agree that GPA is probably the largest factor, as it's the ultimate objective indication of past success.

My curiosity lies more in whether we are overeducating the workforce generically. From a societal standpoint, is it an efficient decision to use taxpayer dollars to subsidize college education thus resulting in more people with college degrees? My theory is that it isn't.

By the time you exit college with a degree these days, you have likely spent tens of thousands of dollars, and have lost the benefit of 4 or more years of wage earning, in order to get that piece of paper. It's a pretty enormous cost to the individuals if you think about it. From a societal standpoint there is a cost too. Billions of dollars are spent every year by the government subsidizing education by providing below market rates on student loans (until recently through loan guarantees to private lenders), interest free loans, grants, tax deductibility of student loan interest, etc. Beyond that societal cost, the increased liquidity tends to increase tuitions at a rate greater than inflation, in much the same way that the enormous mortgage liquidity in the early to mid 2000's increased home prices. All those cheap subsidized dollars has to find a home - in the coffers of public and private universities.

Now of course there is a need in the market for a certain amount of college educated individuals. But what happens if the supply exceeds that need? Under those circumstances, one might predict that a substantial percentage of college educated individuals would end up in menial jobs that actually don't make use of their advanced training. Essentially the bar gets raised so that jobs which formerly might require a high school degree, now require a college degree because all things being equal, as an employer if the pool of college educated applicants is large enough (and the value of the college degree has been dilluted enough), you may as well take one. Anecdotally, that is what I observe has been happening. Isn't it self-evident that if a substantial amount of people are graduating college and ending up in menial employment, that there are simply too many people graduating college?

What I would like to see is for all government higher education subsidies to go away. I think the market would do a much better job allocating the number of people that go to college. If the supply of college educated workers exceeds demand, wages for those jobs stagnate and less people go to college. Alternatively, if the supply of college educated workers fails to meet demand, wages would increase substantially, resulting in more people going to college.

At this point Sarvis might raise a very important point. He would say that by taking away these government programs you limit access to people who have money in the first place. I agree with him that there needs to be a way for people to climb the socioeconomic ladder - higher education being one of the most essential parts of that process. I would respond by pointing out that I am not trying to get rid of student loans altogether. I just don't want it subsidized by the government. There are plenty of private student lenders who offer unsecured credit at fairly high rates relative to the subsidized loans. A person coming from a poor background would still have access to such loans. Moreover, offsetting the higher interest rates would be lower tuitions as colleges compete on price for the smaller pool of students.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Tanras » Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:28 pm

I agree with you. We need a return of trade schools. Unfortunately, the social stigma associated with not attending a 4 year completely academic institution is going to make this difficult to achieve.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Sarvis » Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:40 pm

Tanras wrote:I agree with you. We need a return of trade schools. Unfortunately, the social stigma associated with not attending a 4 year completely academic institution is going to make this difficult to achieve.


Do we really have any trades in America anymore? How many welding jobs are there these days?
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby kiryan » Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:46 pm

Great post corth. I absolutely agree about the fact that if there is more money available to go to college it drives the price up. The government funding people to pursue degrees in underwater basket weaving is a sub prime mortgage loan... except the mortgage may actually be on an asset worth something.

I don't think we are overeducating the work force. We need more educated people in the work force, but we need less liberal arts, history, psychology, french and philosophy majors and more nurses, doctors, computer scientists and engineers. This is the misallocation of human capital that has represented the last 30 years of college education and results in the supply/demand crisis in many areas. Too much pursuit of what meets your fancy.

On the other hand you are right... because we subsidize loans for degrees that don't translate in to $$, we do have an oversupply of these traits which makes positions that don't normally require a degree in French more competitive. I don't care if you have a degree in french if I'm looking for a computer programmer, but I might give you an edge as an administrative assistant even if you'll never use french in your job.

In a market system, if you wanted a degree in art history, you'd pay a higher interest rate than the guy who was enrolling in a nursing program. Because all degree choices are equal from a financial perspective people are more free to base their choice on their "passion". Furthermore, because college choices are being made based on passion, resources are not being directed based on what performs (pay after college) but based on popularity (likliehood a highschool student will enroll). That is great if we live in utopia. This is bad because it reduces the # of good college candidates available to more practical programs as well as the size of the programs (due to lack of money from lack of students). On the other hand, the great recession is going to "correct" the market for at least a decade if not a generation. Imbalances will correct themselves one way or another with or without a free market.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby kiryan » Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:54 pm

I agree on the stigma for trade schools. There is no reason to get and pay for a 4 year degree when you can learn the same skills (or more) in 2 years. Certifications are almost the new tradeschool in computer sciences.

I think the stigma follows from the quality of candidates (people for the most part didn't for whatever reason get into a 4 year college) and the quality of the education (trade schools aren't as governed the same in terms of accreditation and regulation). Tradeschools essentially replace the "apprenticeship/journeyman" practice of centuries past while college used to be geared towards the more scholarly pursuits.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Tanras » Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:58 pm

Sarvis wrote:
Tanras wrote:I agree with you. We need a return of trade schools. Unfortunately, the social stigma associated with not attending a 4 year completely academic institution is going to make this difficult to achieve.


Do we really have any trades in America anymore? How many welding jobs are there these days?


The country needs:

Plumbers
Electricians
Nurses
Sys Admins
Telephone operators
etc
etc
etc
etc
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby kiryan » Mon Apr 05, 2010 5:26 pm

My dad was a building inspector, had to do a 2 year program at CC and pass a ton of certs.

The certification process for plumbing and electrical are ridiculously long and designed to protect the wages of people in the trade. A bright person can learn 80% of what you need to know about those in about 3 months on the job, yet the formal certification program requires a couple years of education and a journeyman program (that last I heard it was 5 years long for electrician).

For the record, I can do household wiring including 220 (no knowledge around 3 phase) and new boxes and plumbing. I learned it working on our house with my dad, but I couldn't actually do anything for you because I'm not certified. You can only work on your own private residence without certification (in most states. you could not work on your own private commercial space without certification).

Both of these trades pay extremely well from what I hear; $50-100 an hour well as a sole proprieter.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby kiryan » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:04 pm

a PhD in African history... doing the census. This is an example of one of those degrees where there are just not that many certified individuals required in the world (although probably more of these required than art history majors).

What really strikes me is with her PhD she went to work as a financial planner / sales woman. This kind of an advanced degree has very few legitimate career paths, most of those in education or government. If you pursue something like this you should have a clear career path that doesn't start out in sales. It is a ridiculous waste of money to get a PhD in anything and then go to work in a completely unrelated industry. At least with a philosophy degree you generally know how to think.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/04/05/ce ... l?hpt=Sbin

Buashie Amatokwu is one of those "overqualified" workers. She has a doctorate in African history from Temple University. Now, her skills are directed toward getting an accurate count of African immigrants, residents from the Caribbean and African-American citizens.

After college, Amatokwu had trouble finding employment, so she worked for a while selling financial planning services. But she wasn't satisfied as a saleswoman.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Todrael » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:51 pm

The biggest problem I have with the above discussion is that it's all predicated on money being the ultimate purpose of our actions: economic growth, employment efficiency, etc.

I went to college because I wanted to learn.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Corth » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:05 pm

That's a great reason to go to college. And nobody is suggesting that people shouldn't go if they want to learn - nor are they saying that financial assistance of some sort shouldn't be available. The question I raised was whether taxpayers should subsidize student loans, which is indeed about the most efficient use of money - as it should be when you are talking about using taxpayer money. If you want to use your own money to get that PHD in African history, or borrow money from a private lender, then good for you!
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby avak » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:19 pm

I just couldn't agree more with Todrael's understated comment.

Do some research on the classical educations of the founding fathers of the US. You might be surprised to find out that they had the equivalent of liberal arts educations. It isn't hard to make the connection between their broad educational perspectives and the incredible insights they collectively possessed in creating the country.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:30 pm

Todrael wrote:The biggest problem I have with the above discussion is that it's all predicated on money being the ultimate purpose of our actions: economic growth, employment efficiency, etc.

I went to college because I wanted to learn.

And, while through no fault of your own, learning has a dollar figure attached to it. It's hard to forget that money is representative of a lot of things, not necessarily a pursuit for itself.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:32 pm

avak wrote:Do some research on the classical educations of the founding fathers of the US. You might be surprised to find out that they had the equivalent of liberal arts educations. It isn't hard to make the connection between their broad educational perspectives and the incredible insights they collectively possessed in creating the country.

It's not like they could take computer engineering, information systems, or equine genetics.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:36 pm

Sarvis wrote:
Tanras wrote:I agree with you. We need a return of trade schools. Unfortunately, the social stigma associated with not attending a 4 year completely academic institution is going to make this difficult to achieve.


Do we really have any trades in America anymore? How many welding jobs are there these days?

http://www.bls.gov/oco/oco2003.htm

The Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the DOL will give you a good idea of the labor needs for the nation. Carpenters are an occupation currently experiencing tremendous growth.
Last edited by teflor the ranger on Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Todrael » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:42 pm

Greedy capitalists. (lol)
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Sarvis » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:47 pm

They could have all taken an MBA program and been useless corporate shills?
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:47 pm

Sarvis wrote:Do we really have any trades in America anymore? How many welding jobs are there these days?

Here we go: to answer your question more specifically:
http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos226.htm

More than you ever wanted to know about job opportunities for welders.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby avak » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:48 pm

teflor the ranger wrote:
avak wrote:Do some research on the classical educations of the founding fathers of the US. You might be surprised to find out that they had the equivalent of liberal arts educations. It isn't hard to make the connection between their broad educational perspectives and the incredible insights they collectively possessed in creating the country.

It's not like they could take computer engineering, information systems, or equine genetics.

Yeah, it's not like they had any hard sciences or trades back then.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:51 pm

avak wrote:
teflor the ranger wrote:
avak wrote:Do some research on the classical educations of the founding fathers of the US. You might be surprised to find out that they had the equivalent of liberal arts educations. It isn't hard to make the connection between their broad educational perspectives and the incredible insights they collectively possessed in creating the country.

It's not like they could take computer engineering, information systems, or equine genetics.

Yeah, it's not like they had any hard sciences or trades back then.

Medicine, biology, 'alchemy' (chemistry), astrology, engineering, and many other hard sciences and trades were considered then to be an essential part of a well rounded education. It seems such a shame to see the liberal arts educations these days so sorely lacking, as it is to see that engineers only get one semester or two of 'communications.'
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Tanras » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:45 pm

Sarvis wrote:They could have all taken an MBA program and been useless corporate shills?


I have an MBA :) and it wasn't that bad. Doing a corporate shill puts the caviar on the table.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby kiryan » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:22 pm

Tod, learn for the sake of learning? A country and lives are built on hard work. learning is a noble endeavor and needs to be coupled with practical application and work in my opinion. We have too many "professional students" as is and we have more that went to college just to go to college and now are stay at home moms or dads or in low level jobs such as census work. Part of this is driven by government subsidies another part by government's vision/direction for the educational system. Remember 30 years ago when kids were told you're just not college material? Now the 2.0 students and the mentally disabled are being told they should continue their education at CC.

The times of the founding fathers were still those of nobility (in name or in practice). Nobility doesn't work for a living; they think for a living, participate in philosophical discussions and government / policy type decisions. It was more than appropriate for them because of their station in life. We are however talking about a different class of people, the working class white or blue collar. We live in a day and age where status in society is determined by more concrete terms (generally posessions) rather than wit and banter at stately parties. We live in a day and age where highly specialized knowledge makes you theoretically better able to do your job. Liberal arts degrees have their place, they are fundamentally necessary in society, but I suggest we have too many of them. Far too often they are just the random choice of a youthful mind with no eye towards the future.

Not to mention that the distribution of knowledge in science and art was skewed towards the arts 200 years ago. Today, it is increasingly skewed towards sciences. You can spend 30 years studying math at university. You really couldn't 200 years ago because not that much math was known/discovered. 200 years ago you could be a 'renaisance man' which is to be an expert in every area of learning; thats just not possible today.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Corth » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:39 pm

I have a liberal arts degree (philosophy). I enjoyed the broad liberal arts education that I received, and it prepared me well for future pursuits. I would strongly encourage people with an interest in the liberal arts to pursue a degree.

BUT,

I am not sure why the government is subsidizing it when we obviously have too many people with college degrees already. It's not debateable. The fact that a substantial amount of people with 4 year degrees are working at McDonalds or an equivalent proves it. From a societal perspective it is a horrible waste of time and money. So why is government creating a situation where we have an overabundance of such people?
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Sarvis » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:15 pm

Tanras wrote:
Sarvis wrote:They could have all taken an MBA program and been useless corporate shills?


I have an MBA :) and it wasn't that bad. Doing a corporate shill puts the caviar on the table.


I don't see you founding any countries, though. :P
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:44 pm

Tanras wrote:
Sarvis wrote:They could have all taken an MBA program and been useless corporate shills?


I have an MBA :) and it wasn't that bad. Doing a corporate shill puts the caviar on the table.

That caviar won't put itself on the table, by god.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Corth » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:35 pm

http://www.newsweek.com/id/235894

Timely article on the 'death' of liberal arts.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby kiryan » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:22 pm

I definitely think liberal arts degrees are good when you are on a masters or PhD path... Corth your example is perfect, degree in philosophy followed by your real goal law school. I think a BA followed by a MBA is good, but while a simple BA may be good for "team work" and "critical thinking", it doesn't need to be the focus of your education when you are only bothering with a 4 year degree. Those soft skills are not intrinsically marketable despite featuring prominently on resumes and job postings.

The real value in arts degrees I think is to temper ideology including that of "logic". In a world where every decision was scientific, every illogical decision should be penalized or banned. Unfortunately arts degrees these days are taught by decidedly libearl professors and the programs are considered liberal by most conservatives. You could argue that it is suffering from the lack of diversity.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Tanras » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:49 pm

I did BS/MS in computer science followed by an MBA after 5 years of work experience. The MBA helped me transition my career into management and strategy. I am all about the rubber stamps.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Corth » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:51 pm

http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110009535

Editorial claiming the majority of college students don't belong there.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby kiryan » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:15 pm

Great article Corth. I never really thought about the whole aspect of "students who cannot follow complex arguments accurately are not really learning economics. They are taking away a mishmash of half-understood information and outright misunderstandings that probably leave them under the illusion that they know something they do not." My persective is that these people graduate anyways which is as the article states, scary. I think colleges are dumbing down, but that could be because of the increase in 2 year offerings they discuss.

My dad should've never gone to college, should've never graudated, but he's got over 200 credits (thanks to the government Veteran's programs) based on sheer determination and force of will. Seriously, algebra was an 8 hour a day struggle for him and he eventually passed all the way through trigonometry, but he should've never started in the first place because he can't solve a basic algebra equation 2 years after he graduated. What is the point of him going to college? Why didn't someone say college is not right for you? Why did the government pay him to go to school just because he is a disabled vet? Its nonsensical.

My wife is pretty smart, but she's no genius and she is absolutely acing all her classes (17 credits, 100% level acing). Everyone around her complains about how hard it is, but I've always thought its because they are obviously not putting in the study. Perhaps more of them fall into this group of people who are in college, but can't follow complex discussions or assimilate information accurately. Probably a little of both. I read some of the "sub culture as it relates to nursing reports" in my wife's intro to nursing class, the first sentence of one of the reports was "The wicca are really cool". Another one was a Christian themed prostheltyzing that the professor properly commented "what does this have to do with healthcare"?

--

Tanras wrote:I did BS/MS in computer science followed by an MBA after 5 years of work experience. The MBA helped me transition my career into management and strategy. I am all about the rubber stamps.


Which is probably part of the reason you think so highly of degrees and use those kinds of metrics in your hiring process. By reinforcing the same path you took, you make your own credentials more intrinsically valuable. I'm not disagreeing with your methods (and results), but it is a bit self serving. A college drop out turned billionaire often de-emphasize the value of college education.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:18 pm

Tanras wrote:I did BS/MS in computer science followed by an MBA after 5 years of work experience. The MBA helped me transition my career into management and strategy. I am all about the rubber stamps.

Dashboard, damnit.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:20 pm

In other serious news, roughly half of all college students are below the median. Something is wrong with the educational system, quick, holy crap, bring me some more Federal government regulation, we're not funded, the Republicans are to blame, more student loans pls, etc.
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Re: taking up the slack

Postby Tanras » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:23 am

kiryan wrote:Great article Corth. I never really thought about the whole aspect of "students who cannot follow complex arguments accurately are not really learning economics. They are taking away a mishmash of half-understood information and outright misunderstandings that probably leave them under the illusion that they know something they do not." My persective is that these people graduate anyways which is as the article states, scary. I think colleges are dumbing down, but that could be because of the increase in 2 year offerings they discuss.

My dad should've never gone to college, should've never graudated, but he's got over 200 credits (thanks to the government Veteran's programs) based on sheer determination and force of will. Seriously, algebra was an 8 hour a day struggle for him and he eventually passed all the way through trigonometry, but he should've never started in the first place because he can't solve a basic algebra equation 2 years after he graduated. What is the point of him going to college? Why didn't someone say college is not right for you? Why did the government pay him to go to school just because he is a disabled vet? Its nonsensical.

My wife is pretty smart, but she's no genius and she is absolutely acing all her classes (17 credits, 100% level acing). Everyone around her complains about how hard it is, but I've always thought its because they are obviously not putting in the study. Perhaps more of them fall into this group of people who are in college, but can't follow complex discussions or assimilate information accurately. Probably a little of both. I read some of the "sub culture as it relates to nursing reports" in my wife's intro to nursing class, the first sentence of one of the reports was "The wicca are really cool". Another one was a Christian themed prostheltyzing that the professor properly commented "what does this have to do with healthcare"?

--

Tanras wrote:I did BS/MS in computer science followed by an MBA after 5 years of work experience. The MBA helped me transition my career into management and strategy. I am all about the rubber stamps.


Which is probably part of the reason you think so highly of degrees and use those kinds of metrics in your hiring process. By reinforcing the same path you took, you make your own credentials more intrinsically valuable. I'm not disagreeing with your methods (and results), but it is a bit self serving. A college drop out turned billionaire often de-emphasize the value of college education.



I actually value that stuff because the clinical research says they are the best indicators :) It also makes sense.

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