Our educational system is inadequate and counter-productive

Surely I'll be able find a job armed with new shiny new degree. And I'm only $60,000 in debt!

From Bill Gross, Managing Director of Pimco, in another of his wondrous monthly rants.

American citizens and its universities have experienced an ivy-laden ivory tower for the past half century. Students, however, can no longer assume that a four year degree will be the golden ticket to a good job in a global economy that cares little for their social networking skills and more about what their labor is worth on the global marketplace.

College was great as long as the jobs were there.

He advocates skill-based education, forget liberal arts. Further, both parties are wrong in believing that balancing the budget will somehow magically lead to job creation. Nope, the government needs to get involved, and in a big way. The private sector can’t do on its own. The government should be the employer of last resort, “I’d have a shovel in the hands of the long-term unemployed from 8am to noon, and from 1pm to 5pm I’d have them studying algebra, physics, and geometry.”

Those who advocate that job creation rests on corporate tax reform (lower taxes) or a return to deregulation of the private economy always fail to address dominant structural headwinds which cannot be dismissed: 1) Labor is much more attractively priced over there than here, and 2) U.S. employment based on asset price appreciation/finance as opposed to manufacturing can no longer be sustained. The “golden” days are over, and it’s time our school and jobs “daze” comes to an end to be replaced by programs that do more than mimic failed establishment policies favoring Wall as opposed to Main Street.

The entire student loan program is just another Wall Street scam and growing bubble that will pop. It needs to be reworked too.

Gross focuses on making education useful. I agree. Years ago, after bouncing around in a series of dead end jobs, I went back to college and got a two year degree in computer programming from Pierce College in Los Angeles. One of the professors said, we don’t teach much theory here, we’re like a trade school, we teach you enough so you can get your first job as a programmer. I graduated, got that first job as a programmer, and never looked back, and will always be grateful to Pierce College for their pragmatic approach. But much of our educational system isn’t pragmatic. Students graduate heavily in debt with no job opportunities. This needs to change.