Massive Student Debt and No Jobs: Obama's "Fun" College Tour

President Barack Obama is touting a "fun" trip to college campuses this week.  A White House spokesman said Obama and Vice President Joe Biden would be going on a "fun and informative" college swing this Thursday and Friday. They'll be peddling their economic policies--the likes of which have already prolonged the weak jobs market and dampened job prospects for grads. Obama and Biden may be having fun, but the bleak economic future for recent and future college graduates is no joke.

I'll be listening to see how, or if, the president addresses three critical issues facing college students and recent graduates: dramatic tuition spikes, bleak job prospects, and the deteriorating quality of a college degree. 

Tuition is skyrocketing, thanks in large part to the booming student loan industry, and the federal government's collusion in it.   While the federal government is making a killing off student loans--it will bring in $185 billion to the Treasury over the next ten years--the student debt brought about by out-of-control tuition is crushing graduates' economic outlook. Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi wrote:

The dirty secret of American higher education is that student-loan interest rates are almost irrelevant. It’s not the cost of the loan that’s the problem, it’s the principal — the appallingly high tuition costs that have been soaring at two to three times the rate of inflation, an irrational upward trajectory eerily reminiscent of skyrocketing housing prices in the years before 2008. ... Throw off the mystery and what you’ll uncover is a shameful and oppressive outrage that for years now has been systematically perpetrated against a generation of young adults.
— Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

Once they do graduate with these massive debts, recent college grads are finding that employers aren't hiring them in the numbers in years past, in part because the economy is uncertain, but also because they think these kids are getting a lousy education that is not preparing them for the workforce.  That's what happens when higher education becomes more concerned about indoctrinating students into a politically correct world-view instead of instilling in them intellectual curiosity, excellence and vibrancy.

Obama's college swing through Pennsylvania and New York comes as no surprise--since his inauguration in 2009, the president has been on college campuses once every 11 days, according to Young America's Foundation. He knows that preserving his rock-star status among young people is the only thing keeping them from focusing on how his policies, and the steady expansion of the public sphere at the expense of the private, are devastating their hopes of attaining the American Dream. But, hey, all in good fun.