Trying to change reality

The blogosphere's been abuzz about Hillary Clinton's recent statements about replacing the current "on your own" society with a "we're all in it together" society. My initial reaction: Why Hillary Clinton, you've turned into a compassionate conservative!

One statement stood out to me: "We have sent a message to our young people that if you don't go to college ... that you're thought less of in America. We have to stop this."

And how exactly does she propose to do that? Why shouldn't an employer hire someone with a college degree over someone without? I'm generally skeptical of many college degrees as far as their content value, but they do act as a signal to employers that said person can get up on time, get dressed, show up to work, and make an effort.

Further, one way to be successful as a non-college graduates is to become an entrepreneur, and if she wants opportunities for non-college graduates to succeed, she's better off praising the market, not burying it.

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Jonathan,

Jonathan,

...Why shouldn't an employer hire someone with a college degree over someone without? ...

Lower cost and more appreciative of the opportunity?

...I'm generally skeptical of many college degrees as far as their content value, but they do act as a signal to employers that said person can get up on time, get dressed, show up to work, and make an effort.

That signal may be well down in the noise.

Regards, Don

"Sending a message" is a

"Sending a message" is a code-word for "this sentence is at best meaningless, and at worst a contemptible attempt to get out of a hard decision." Politicians, whether one likes or hates them, are not fundamentally in the message-sending business. The voters send the messages; the politicians are meant to receive the messages, which is quite a different matter.

Instead -- a minimum wage "sends the message" that we value the poor (by preventing them from having jobs?). Withdrawing from Iraq would "send the message" that the US is weak toward terrorists (by stymieing their recruitment efforts and making their targets harder to reach?). Hate-crime laws "send a message" that one or another sort of violent idiocy is bad (when previous laws against the same idiocy somehow failed to send that message -- but this time this one will!).

Being stupid "sends the message" that you are strong and caring, being pointlessly vindictive "sends the message" that you are resolute and invulnerable, being randomly reactive "sends the message" that you have a deep underlying plan and values. White sends the message black, right sends the message left, and up sends the message down.

Memo to all political candidates: First endeavour to receive the message. Then, and only then, worry about all this sending shit.

IQ

A simple IQ test would be vastly more reliable and cheaper than a degree. Unfortunately it will also have a racially disparate result, which makes it a major litigation hazard. Degrees are also somewhat racially disparate. The political correctness police have given the higher education lobby a pass on this.
IOW a college degree is a politically acceptable way to avoid employing deadbeats. IQ and personality tests would be better and cheaper but are not allowed.

If we want to decrease the

If we want to decrease the role of college education as a signaling device for employers, perhaps we should stop (or at least reduce) subsidizing it. Good luck finding a politician to endorse that position.