High-school graduates who are soon-to-be college freshman are anxious about whether or not they will find a job when they graduate four years later. Prior to the Great Recession, college students entered with optimism such that, as long as they made it through, it would be worth it. That feeling has all but dissipated for the class of 2016.
To grind through four (or more) years of sacrifice not believing that it will pay off sucks.
The biggest misperception — fed by decades of growth with relatively shallow recessions — is that a college diploma virtually guarantees a good job. It does not. Without robust economic expansion to fuel growth, job shortages are inevitable, even for the educated.
The Rich Man Poor Man book series underscored the risks of college (even as its main premise, that owning rental units is the key to success, was wrong for many that took that advice). Even full-time employment for many young graduates is a letdown. Research shows that nearly 40 percent of working recent graduates are in jobs that do not require a college degree, compared with roughly 30 percent before the onset of the recession in 2007.
The student loan debacle, will continue to confound politicians, and hinder students, as they slog through half-baked solutions. The solution is to assure that the time, energy and money spent on college pays off. That means good paying jobs for college graduates. That is something that will only occur when economic policies are designed to encourage economic growth. So far, no American leader has been able to implement anything close to the policies that will foster that kind of growth.
They must pass laws that promote growth even if they cause collateral damage. For a ridiculous example, the automobile promotes growth even as it causes pain and sometimes death. But it’s worth it. The legislature must pass laws that promote economic growth, and yes, there will be a cost, but if done correctly, it will be worth it.