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Peter Schiff: Do you have a College Degree?

And you ride a bike for a living and owe how much?

Peter Schiff asks the victims of our benevolent government if they have a college degree, what they're doing now, and how much they owe.

Just more proof of why people should not buy into the debt ridden psychology of "you need a college degree." College degrees produced in mass quantities is no different than printing money. The more people with degrees there are, the more worthless the degree becomes. We need jobs without debt and a free economy in a deflationary environment that even allows a biker to live just fine on his earned wages.

Want cheaper education? Get government out of education and eliminate the guaranteed student loans, but we all know that here at the DP ;)


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No degree needed

I am proof a degree is not needed. I have no more than a GED that I received in the 70's to enlist in the Air Force. I have always held good jobs. I recently I resigned from a company operating world wide, I held the position of National Service Manager (Well compensated)for 19 years. Two weeks into my search for a job I was recruited by a well known publicly traded company with 6.5B in annual revenue. I am once again in management, and as far as I know the only one among my peers without degree.

I Love Schiff

I agree that college is overvalued, but this is some BS coming from Schiff! In an interview with Lew Rockwell "You're Better Off as a Renter" Schiff says he hires people at his company without college degrees; that he has other criteria he is interested in.

I believe I possess the "other criteria," but the gate keepers at Euro Pacific Capital stonewalled me upon telling them I had no intention of finishing my college degree (I lack 18 hrs). Peter Schiff may agree that college is overvalued and unnecessary, but the people that do the hiring at HIS company still operate on the premise that a degree is a prerequisite.

Call his radio show...

A few people have gotten job that way. In their defense, not finishing 18 hrs (one semester) shows a lack to see things through. You made it so far and just quit? Even considering costs, it's a strange move. However, in your defense, you may have legitimate reasons that you could explain to Schiff as to why you didn't finish. I'm not saying you might not have a good reason not to finish one semester after going so far, but at that point (almost having the degree) it does look bad and an explanation would definitely be needed. It wouldn't be an end all, but it looks very strange.

Lastly, your other option to avoid this impression is to remove your college experience from the resume, but I'm guessing you had to put it to prove you were doing something since you graduated high school or for X amount of years. In your position, you're three options are an explanation, remove it from the resume, or just bite the bullet and finish it.

It's a vicious cycle.

Students can't afford to break out of the mindset that a college degree is mandatory for success until parents, teachers, counselors, and business owners snap out of it first.

I don't play, I commission the league.



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These are victims for sure.

These are victims for sure. Amen to ending guaranteed student loans... they are as easy to get as free samples in a mall food court, except most people end up with over $30,000 in debt! The sad thing is there are many beneficial reasons to attend college. A college degree, depending on the individuals method, can be an extremely rewarding investment, both financially and mentally, socially, etc. If one were to go for engineering, accounting, biology, chemistry, medical school, law school, etc.. a specific degree with popular demand, its usually a good investment because a sad fact is that a degree is the 'norm' nowadays. Too many students go to party, the social life, and have no idea what they want to do so they just pick a major that 'interests' them, like anthropology or philosophy or something. Then they act confused when they get out ... "congratulations, you just graduated!... now you owe us, ummm, $50,000, thanks!" and cannot find a job.

There is a movement called "unschooling" dependent on personal motivation and education. Its based on the simple notion of creating realistic goals with realistic time frames and working towards those. The goals should be based off of your passions and interests. Thats what I"m doing and I'm gradually working on becoming a craft brewer. I'm attending a 1 year program at a school that costs only $4,500. Its hands on experience in my field, lots of networking, and just plain beneficial education.

College should never be put off as a 'bad' thing.... individuals need to attend college more responsibly and the government guaranteeing these loans creates a bubble like anything else. The price would come down dramatically and gradually work towards the ultimate goal of affordable college. Also, there is a growing demand for 'specialty' schools, like vocational colleges. All in all, I feel sorry for these people because i'm sure they have a lot more to offer than just riding bikes.

Their motto is "Dont Tread On Me"...

ok, I'm old

Old enough to be from the time where no one thought it necessary to go to college to get ahead in the business world. Straight out of HS I entered the corporate world and all you needed back then was a bit of drive to get ahead and I did. I moved from department to department nosing my way around every facet of each department and learning it all. Within 5 years I was running my own department - a new department that I helped set up and I was doing the hiring and eventually the firing - all at the ripe 'old age' of 23.
Some years later I'm at a different company and needed to hire someone and the guy above me brought me a list of candidates and mentioned something about looking at the ones with college degrees. I asked why and was offered a strange-to-me reason that they would somehow have more know-how. I then pointed out that I had no college degree and if those degrees were the new criteria I would never get hired again. I actually felt a bit insulted that I could somehow be thought of as something less because I didn't have that piece of paper. Seems to me that college/university has become another government 'industrial complex' requiring large fees to prepare for jobs that really only require a bit of hard work and common sense to get ahead.

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I'm fairly young, and am with

I'm fairly young, and am with you on feeling insulted by people like that. They can say what they want, but I'M not the one who is thousands of dollars in debt. Free and clear with silver in the safe, tranportation/roof over my head/food on the table all paid for by my effort, and I'm the one who is uneducated/uncultured/whatever?

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Cyril's picture

Well, that's the plan, my friend :

Well, that's the plan, my friend :

the state decides what you should know;

the state decides how knowledgeable and performing you are ... per their bureaucrats' criteria;

the state decides what your knowledge and skills are useful or irrelevant for;

the state decides how honorable or rare or common your degree is;

the state decides how much money you have to be stolen to pay $200,000/year the school administrators and fund their retirements;

the state decides how far you should despise or reject your parent's values;

the state decides ... whatever.

you see where I'm going :

welcome to the public education system and its administration, planners, regulators.

Nevermind your self-teaching capabilities out of your mere guts and efforts, not costing money to anyone but you and for your own benefit, because you are self-reliant.

Interestingly enough, though... thank God, the markets aren't so completely poisoned to be fooled or complacent or rent-seeking corrupt as much as some people are.

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Cash and carry

Good Will Hunting. 25 cents is late fees from the local library.

Free includes debt-free!

I understand

I understand that a college degree is worthless and that the government is inflating tuition costs by subsidizing it.

I also know that my pay in my industry (defense contractor) is tied to my degree level. The government actually pays more per person on a contract if you have a higher degree, thus companies like to hire people with degrees. I recently finished my Master's degree online. I mainly had it paid for through my company, taking a few courses a year until I finished.
When deciding my major I realized that it was not about learning, but getting that degree in order to get the higher pay. I chose a degree that would be easy to pass and still be relevant enough to my field. Had I wanted to learn something I would have picked out a computer science degree or something along those lines. But then again, there are online tutorials that teach better than school.
I will likely go forward with my Doctorate. Not for any other reason than the money.

It is a stupid game. It will eventually come to and end.

Yeah of course it is NOLA. Party town.

was one of these kids in service job at a country club in Miami Beach. I had a Master of Science in the Biomedical Sciences and I wad babysitting 6 year olds. Most of my friends were doing the same thing.

I had a plan though the whole time and followed through with it. I moved to Miami for the same reason a lot of college grads move to NOLA- to have a good time.

There are worse positions in life to be in than being a 20-something service sector college grad living in a wild party town.

*Edit: WTF I'm downvoted for the truth? Do you think they just unintentionally teleported to NOLA after graduating college?

Agree. One doesn't need an expensive college degree to Party.

Especially borrowed money.

Free includes debt-free!

What a waste.

What a waste.

What? That is not what I said at all.

Everyone he interviewed in this video already graduated from college. They, if they are anything like me, moved to New Orleans after graduating to party. I can understand why there are so many bartenders with college degrees working in New Orleans, because the money is fast and the pay is often better than an entry level office job. Plus NOLA is a hell of a fun place.

My point, which I did not clarify, is that Schiff really cherry picked a specific location for these interviews. I agree with him philosophically 100%, but he chose the most likely place in America, even more than Miami, NYC, or LA, to find people NOT using their college degrees. This would be true even without degree inflation!

The reason that...

...if I cannot earn enough scholarship money, I will NOT take out a government loan, and I simply won't go to college; I'll see if I can find a place to learn a skill I need to learn, anyway (gunsmithing).

If I DO earn enough in scholarships, I aim to study business, then upon graduation learn gunsmithing, that way I have a knowledge of business generally, as well as a marketable skill that's in high demand, though as implied earlier, I prefer learning the skill to having theoretical knowledge.

No loans!

We just made it through our oldest daughter's first semester at college, with no loans. She lives at home and wants to be a nurse. It's been a stretch, but she knows the drill: No loans, no credit cards. There's no point in getting a degree if you end up in the endless debt cycle. Sounds like you have a good plan.

tasmlab's picture

Hysterical video BUUUUTTT...

That was great, and/but he was lurking around a bunch of service jobs already.

If he were to do this around the Microsoft campus, or down in the biotech parks of Cambridge, or in the halls of some large company the people would also all have degrees, debt, etc., but be pursuing high paying jobs with likely raises and promotions and such.

Still, the video was a very entertaining slight of hand!

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Yeah but the point is...

There are tons of people out there like this...with a lot of debt and not much to show for their actual degree.

You may be right about interviewing other places, but I suspect places like that have a majority of people with skill oriented degrees, such as computer programming/science, engineering, etc.

Most graduates I know are using their degrees

I would estimate that 60% of the college graduates that I know (which is a lot) are using their college degrees in some fashion. Another 10% could be using their degrees, but for various reasons are choosing not to. An example of this is a few friends living in Miami doing service jobs like bartending and coaching tennis. I even know a few people in New Orleans doing this, too. They chose to live down there instead of work white-collar in the Midwest. It was probabky unneceasary for them to go to college, but in my opinion it is still a better investment than most other things.

About 20% of my friends are not doing jack-shit with their college degree. We used to tease some of my friends about not finding a job with their major, and it turned out to be true. But in all of these cases, I can think of very serious personal reasosn that are not helping them in the workforce either. (alcoholism, poor social skills, etc.)

Another 10% or used their degree and hated their field and found something else.

Peter Schiff is right to a strong extent, but I still think this is really cherry-picked and exaggerated. It bothers me when I hear this libertarians, almost all of whom went to college, trying hard to convince people NOT to go to college. College is still a good thing even with government interference.

Agreed that examples were cherry picked

but I disagree on the point that college (in general) is still worth attending. In *some* fields, such as medical and biotech, yes, but when I see people getting $100k+ in debt just to learn what amounts to novice-level programming and design, I just have to shake my head.

Ultimately though it's the people who screw themselves over, as usual. A few of my friends in San Fran (of course) went for art history, drama, and the like. Last I heard, they now beg on the street and sleep at Golden Gate Park.

Everyone here can give examples as to why it's good or bad, but college is ultimately what one makes of it, though I still firmly believe it didn't do me a lick of good. The entire course was teaching stuff I knew in grade school(!), but I 'had' to get a degree if I wanted a job. I said screw it, dropped out, and now work for myself. The money isn't great but I love the hours!

A signature used to be here!


Is the economy really that great? Is unemployment truly at 7-8% or is it higher near 15%? I know people that haven been able to work any serious job other than service jobs since I graduated in '08 and some who have no work. People with jobs truly forget and don't realize how crappy it is in the world when you're gainfully employed. I forget all the time in my job bubble and then stuff happens it I talk to people and I realize it's to no fault of thei own that they are unemployed or working a service job.

I know more people than not who don't use their degree at all, so it completely depends. You can't take you life and say your life is the representative of the whole US population who have degrees.

Lastly, you complain about libertarians who complain about college who went, but most of us fell in this govt trap and only woke up afterwards. A lot of those who woke up are completely against it in certain circumstances. I would do my best to find a school that doesn't take federal aid for myself or my kids an my kids definitely won't be going to school for a liberal arts degree under this system. I'm not putting myself or them in debt.

And one more thing...most these universities are just another tool of the state just like the public education system. They are extorted and everything else to act certain ways mainly by threatening their way of life via financial aid. I went to college and woke up...I'm thinking you might want to rethink this a little more. College for a legit skill = good, and it's even better w/o govt. we don't hate college, it's the govt intervention, the almost compulsory college degree attitude that we need it to succeed (false), it's another tax I'm the form of debt/inflation/money paid back with interest, and it's the status quo ideas being pushed on students....that's what we dislike. It would't be such a big deal if gift didnt screw it up so bad and are screwing a naive youth, which has been quite a few of us. Unless my kids want to go to school to be an engineer, doctor, therapist, or lawyer...I'm would advise them against school. The govt owes you when you're in debt. Why do you think they offer debt foriveness for employees? The sad thing is, most those professions I just listed were once obtainable without any amount of debt through apprenticeships and you got paid for it. You tell me which way would e better.

SteveMT's picture

Schiff is right on as usual. The answer is so simple.

Get the government out of the way.

Combining these threads.

College degrees

I kind of see a pattern in the people that Peter Schiff interviews here. It seems that a lot of people are going to school without any sort of plan as to what they are going to do after graduating. You might be interested in history or biology, but you have to think about what you would do with an education specializing in these subjects. It also seems that since there are so many college graduates that employers can require the sheepskin for jobs for which it normally wouldn't be required. This just pushes out the people who, for whatever reason, can't get a degree.

I got a degree in Electrical Engineering 20 years ago, but I also knew what I wanted to do since an early age. I realize that not everyone in High School is going to have such an idea. For those people, I would recommend putting off college until they can figure it out.

Drain the swamp!


You definitely need a plan if you go.

At least you got a degree that gives you an actual skill rather than a liberal arts degree. Though, back in the day, my great grandfather (a WWI & WWII vet...poor guy) became a successful engineer through an apprenticeship instead. I wish apprenticeships would make a comeback.

First degree: $2000 Second

First degree: $2000
Second degree: $20,000
Third degree: $50,000
Fourth degree: $50,000+

Job market, almost none.

Think twice before going to college.


I'm 23 years old and have no intention of going to college at the moment. My family, especially the elders, keep telling me that I should get a degree, blah blah. I try to explain these things to them and the only response I get is disappointment. I see no point in getting myself in a debt-ridden hole and go to some indoctrination camp, when I can just open up a good non-fiction book and teach myself. I've learned so much by just educating myself than I ever did in K-12. Shoot, I even had to UNLEARN the propaganda force-fed to me as a student.

Nope, no degree here. I'm debt-free and college-free, and I bet I'm still smarter than the majority of my peers (except maybe my fellow rEVOLutionaries) who slave themselves over term papers and final exams...

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I couldn't agree more and you should feel good to not have that burden. Plus, you're a Ron Paul supporter so we know you're at least fairly intelligent, haha!

And learning what you want on your own time is so much more beneficial and enriching.

Same here

I'm 23 too, and I have my associates in business. The only reason I even have my degree was scholarships. I was just so turned off by the idea of that much debt for a 4 year degree. After I got my associates I managed to find a job, and in my job I try to help modify mortgages for Bank of America (HAMP). I see how bad some people are in with their student debt, and it just makes my desire to go back less and less.

haven't been back to school

haven't been back to school yet. can't afford it. i'd rather travel to other countries, where my money gets me more.