Trending Commentary

WATCH: The College Scam

A new book makes The Case AGAINST Education. Who would argue against education? Economics professor Bryan Caplan. He tells John Stossel that “what we need to do is to go back to a world where college is not so accessible.”


A new book makes The Case AGAINST Education. Who would argue against education?

Economics professor Bryan Caplan. He tells John Stossel that “what we need to do is to go back to a world where college is not so accessible.”

That’s because most people don’t learn much in college. Studies find that a third of people haven’t learnt anything detectable after four years in college.

Yet government pours about $80 billion a year into college subsidies. “Taxpayers ought to know that they’re getting ripped off,” Caplan tells John Stossel.

He says taxpayer money mostly helps more people signal their ability to conform to college expectations. When people get fancier degrees, says Caplan “their income generally goes up … but the reason … is not really that college is pouring tons of job skills into you. The reason is that it’s impressive.” Lots of signaling, he points out, is bad for society.

“Imagine that you were at a concert, everyone’s sitting down and you want to see better,” Caplan says. “What can you do? Well, you can stand up, and of course then you’ll see better. Now, it does not follow though that if everyone stands up, everyone sees better.” As more people get degrees, more employers demand that “signal.”

Employers now require degrees for “jobs where it used to be crazy to think they would need a college degree,” like being a high-end waiter, says Caplan. Stossel pushes back: Surely college is also about learning. Caplan responds that if students wanted to learn they can just walk on to a campus and attend class.

Caplan says professors are happy to let the student attend. But few students do that. “In people’s bones they realize that what really counts is that diploma,” Caplan says. Caplan does think college is great for a few people like him – tenured professors. He can never be fired, gets paid well, and only has to teach classes for five hours a week. “That’s a scam,” Stossel responds, “we’re paying so much money for people like you to teach five hours.” “Yeah. Well, I’m a whistleblower,” Caplan quips.

Caplan says we should stop subsidizing the scam: “the wisest solution … would be if government just got out.” Stossel agrees: separate school and state.

Support Conservative Daily News with a small donation via Paypal or credit card that will go towards supporting the news and commentary you've come to appreciate.

Rich Mitchell

Rich Mitchell is the editor-in-chief of Conservative Daily News and the president of Bald Eagle Media, LLC. His posts may contain opinions that are his own and are not necessarily shared by Bald Eagle Media, CDN, staff or .. much of anyone else. Find him on twitter, facebook and

Related Articles


  1. Anything Government controls is ultimately degenerated beyond recognition from whence it started.

    At the founding of our nation, college was very exclusive and even primary education stood head and sholders above what colledge students are taught today. In those days you were required to read and write both Greek and Latin just to gain entry into collage. One of your courses was to translate the ancient classics into English and then translate them back into the original language – but in a different tense! Think about that! What kind of critical thinking would you be capable of after that exercise?

    And that was the point of education; to prepare people for life. To train them with the ability to deal with life as a good citizen and for the betterment of society. It was not to train you for some particular niche in life but to prepare you for LIVING honorably!!!

    We’ve lost our way on so many levels because we did not stand for the true guardian of liberty – Personal Responsibility; to protect that Liberty! Now our children suffer the fruit of our wastefulness!

    1. In my day (late ’50s -’60s) College was for those that chose (pushed by educators) to seek the education that your parents and teachers thought you should have to make it in the utopian automated world where manual labor had been replaced by automation.

      The education system converted many good solid vocational schools (re; boy only) to be co-educational. That was the downfall of the future male. To be a real man you must have a degree plus.

      Back then you could also go down the street and get a job, don’t like the job, simply go farther down the street. All kinds of jobs were to be had and you could work your way up in the company, as many did.

      Well as time went by hiring requirements went up. Originally even an elementary diploma was enough. but soon a high school diploma was needed, and a few years later an AS OD BS.

      The jobs didn’t change but the individuals applying for the jobs did. They no longer had the smarts in spite of what the diplomas indicated. The schools were starting to push them out the door no matter what, let the next person handle them.

      The affirmative action program made us all equal and we are all paying for it now.

      Why aren’t some getting good money re jobs? Surely not because of social status, but because you can’t read or write at a 7th-grade level. Now the government (liberals) says I and you must foot the bill for those that have chosen the easy path in life. Heck, you can even carjack, steel and beat up others because you’re deprived and disadvantaged, of a victim of societies long gone past.

      And just what can college teach you that going to that school’s library books can’t? Easy question, how many of these higher level educated social justice warriors are truly worthy of a degree required job?

Back to top button