U.S. News & World Report, which has made a name for itself by ranking and announcing the best colleges every year, is now ranking and listing the best careers for young people. A comparison of the latest lists shows a shocking disconnect and makes for dispiriting holiday reading.
While the price of a college education has skyrocketed far faster than inflation, many careers for which colleges prepare their graduates are disappearing. U.S. News' Best Careers guide concludes that "college grads might want to consider blue-collar careers" because bachelor's degree holders "are having trouble finding jobs that require college-graduate skills."
Incredibly, U.S. News is telling college graduates to look for jobs that do not require a college diploma. Among the 31 best opportunities for 2008 are the careers of firefighter, hairstylist, cosmetologist, locksmith, and security system technician.
Where did the higher-skill jobs go? Both large and small companies are "quietly increasing off-shoring efforts."
Ten years ago we were told we really didn't need manufacturing because it can be done more cheaply elsewhere, that auto workers and others should move to information age jobs. But now the information jobs are moving offshore, too, as well as marketing research and even many varieties of innovation.
The flight overseas includes professional as well as low-wage jobs, with engineering jobs offshored to India and China. Thousands of bright Asian engineers are willing to work for a fraction of U.S. wages, which is why Boeing just signed a 10-year, $1-billion-a-year deal with a government-run company in India.
Society has been telling high school students that college is the ticket to get a life, and politicians are pandering to parents' desire for their children to be better educated and so have a higher standard of living. Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., wants the taxpayers to guarantee every kid a college education, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says more education is the means for Americans to compete in a global economy.
But it doesn't make sense for parents to mortgage their homes, or for students to saddle themselves with long-term debt, in order to pay overpriced college tuition to prepare for jobs that no longer exist. Tuition at public universities has risen an unprecedented 51 percent over the past five years.
President George W. Bush calls the loss of U.S. jobs "the pinch some of you folks are feeling." I guess his words are designed to show his "compassionate conservatism," but the reality is far more than a pinch.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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