I encountered this article on LinkedIn today:
It made a number of good points about college loan debt, occupational licensure, and other issues having to do with government interventions but it missed some very important points so I felt the need to respond with the following comments:
Wow, this article really touched a nerve.
It makes a number of salient points regarding excessive government interference in the economy but does not discuss what may be the biggest interventions of all, subsidies and bailouts of large, politically connected companies (especially the banks) and zero-percent interest rates, both of which allow zombie enterprises to keep limping along well after they should have gone out of business. The free market (that thing we don’t actually have much of) is supposed to clear out the dead wood. Bloated, inefficient, expensive producers are supposed to be cleared out so their human and capital resources can be redeployed by people with better ideas, and generally at a lower cost. If you keep the old, inefficient companies in business, surrounded by walls of politically purchased regulations, then the Schumpeterian clearing-out process cannot operate.
ZIRP also destroys the wealth of those who would save (or older people trying to live off their savings) while concentrating it in the hands of people who know how to work in financial markets. The financial sector is way larger a portion of the economy than it should be and it’s sucking the air out of the rest of the economy.
Government intervention has also put way too many people in colleges where they don’t belong, and often at far too high a price. People are starting to figure out that the payoff for slogging through any old degree mill (or failing to after some time and expense) isn’t what it used to be. Online education is improving all the time and will put half or more colleges out of operation over the next decade or two. The same thing, frankly, should happen to public K-12 schools as well, and one can only hope it does. Too bad most people, and particularly the government, will fight this tooth and nail.
Going the other way, in the interests of fairness, young people now have to compete against workers in modernizing economies all over the world. It was nice for Americans when they were the only game in town after WWII but those days are gone, never to return.