Friday, March 12, 2010

Insanity in Education--Law School Tuition Skyrockets as Employment Propsects Dwindle

While browsing over my alma mater's webpage I looked at how much it wanted for law school tuition and thought to myself, "That's not much more than what I paid a couple years ago."  Then I realized that that rate was not per year, but per semester!

This is another instance of Insanity in Education.  While employment prospects for lawyers have decreased precipitously in the past two decades, the cost of becoming a lawyer has increased dramatically with tuition seeming to have skyrocketed by about 80% in the past ten years.

According to the law school rankings page at U.S. News & World Report, the sticker price to attend a top law school is now around $43,000/year.  If you add in $15,000 for living expenses, the total cost is about $58,000/year or about $174,000 round trip.  At least JDs from the top ten law schools have some employment value and many of the students will earn some money doing summer associateships.

What is even more sickening is that the prices have also increased at many no-name third tier toilet schools as well, some of which want as much as $40,000/year ($165,000 total cost) with many asking for $30,000/year ($135,000 total cost).

How their unemployed, underemployed, and mostly unemployable graduates are supposed to pay back those amounts in addition to whatever undergraduate student loan debt they have is beyond me.  In the meantime, naive students continue to bust down schools' doors hoping to gain admission to these institutions of higher debt.

Blogger Esq. Never has an amusing take on what the Federal government's new Income-Based Repayment plan portends for law school loans--the taxpayers will end up footing the bill.  I suspect that taxpayers would probably end up footing the bill anyway even without IBR because the Education Bubble will have to burst at some point.

Don't be shy!  Please leave a comment!

Welcome Barbara Ehrenreich forum readers.

Are there any other forums where people seriously question the Education Arms Race?

I have been posting on author Barbara Ehrenreich's forum for years, anonymously, and today I spammed out some advertisements there for my new blog (in the course of posting).

Other than JD Underground, that forum is the only one I know of that caters to angry, disenchanted college-educated people who "get it"; which is exactly the kind of fan base that I am hoping to attract.  The dogmatic notion that college education will magically solve individuals' employment problems is heavily ingrained and entrenched in the public's mind, and that is one of the dogmas that I hope to rattle with this blog.  In the future I will probably write a post and provide links about the career graveyard that is the science profession.

If you just came here from Barbara Ehrenreich's forum (or not), please bookmark this blog and say hello in the comments.

Also, if anyone knows of any other forums where malcontents question the value of college education and graduate degrees, please post a link.

Don't be shy!  Please leave a comment!

U.S. suffers loss of 36,000 jobs (actually more like 186,000 jobs) in February 2010.

The Associated Press is reporting that the nation suffered a loss of 36,000 jobs for February, 2010.  Paradoxically(?) stock prices actually increased since some economists had previously predicted a loss of 50,000 jobs.  When you factor in our nation's explosive rate of population growth (about 3+ million new people/year) we actually lost about 186,000 jobs relative to population growth.  Thus, it's possible for the nation to gain jobs while the percentage of working-aged people who are employed decreases.

In the meantime our politicians, our economists, and our pundits are still optimistic about an economic recovery.  A recovery based on--what?  Since we offshored millions of manufacturing jobs and a great many knowledge-based jobs while also importing foreign workers on H-1B and L-1 visas to take domestic knowledge-based jobs, our economy no longer has the economic foundation it needs for a recovery.  Besides, global labor arbitrage played a role in our entering the recession in the first place, and it has only continued to prolong it.

The good news is that the economy will recover--in China.

Don't be shy!  Please leave a comment! 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

List of Law School scam busting blogs added.

I'd like to take this moment to warn anyone thinking about going to law school as a means of avoiding the rising tide of misery that has engulfed the lower and middle classes NOT to go! Sadly, the legal profession is horribly glutted and has not served as a ladder of upward mobility for most graduates for decades. What is even worse is that most law students graduate with mountains of student loan debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. They end up jobless, indebted, and pretty much unemployable in other fields. (Employers in other fields will wonder why the hell they aren't working in the legal profession because most non-lawyers mistakenly believe that all lawyers are rich.)

Unsurprisingly, the American Bar Association and the nation's law schools have done almost nothing to address or even acknowledge the problem of lawyer overproduction. They are, after all, in essence, self-interested businesses whose stakeholders are professors, deans, and administrators. In the meantime, the cost of one year's tuition at many law schools has skyrocketed to an almost unbelievable $45,000/year!

If you cannot gain admission to a top ten law school, don't go! Heck, even if you can gain admission to a top law school you really need to give the matter very serious thought. Recent articles have reported that even students at the top law schools have been having difficulty finding positions.

Lawyer overproduction might be good for the education and student loan cartels, but it isn't good for our society nor our economy. When a college graduate cannot find employment in his field or at least in a field that would utilize the knowledge he acquired, the time and money he spent on education constitutes economic waste. Sadly, this problem is not unique to law school. We are also producing too many MBAs, too many Ph.D. scientists, and probably too many degree holders in just about every other field as desperate students engage in what amounts to an education arms race.

Limiting the number of people who can obtain college and graduate education is not merely economically sensible, but also humane. The unseen tragedy is that tens of thousands of well-meaning, hard working, often highly intelligent people have had their lives destroyed by student loan debt and the inevitable feelings of anguish and humiliation that must come from having invested years of effort and gobs of money on college education only to discover that they cannot find positions in their fields. My heart goes out to them.

However, there are a couple people fighting the good fight. In the past few years a number of excellent blogs have sprung up to "expose the law school scam." (Aside from providing devastating satire, I think they are claiming that the law schools provide prospective students with very misleading employment statistics.)

Here are some of the blogs that I like to visit in no particular order. The first one is a discussion forum for angry, disenchanted lawyers.

JD Underground -- discussion forum
Exposing the Law School Scam
Esq. Never
But I Did Everything Right!
Third Tier Reality
Temporary Attorney: The Sweatshop Edition
The Jobless Jurisdoctor
The Last Ship to Leave Middle Earth
Children of Debt
JD Underdog
Big Debt Small Law

I guess I'm a law school scambuster too, but the focus of my blog is less about the value of a jurisdoctorate and more about the economic and societal irrationality that has plagued our country, including the spectacle of our society's educating people for non-existent job positions.

Our nation's myriad problems feed on one another. Global labor arbitrage has destroyed American manufacturing and cost us a great many knowledge-based jobs that require college education, which compels even more people to rush into the colleges, resulting in a large oversupply of people with bachelors degrees. That large oversupply drives people into graduate and professional school as they seek to outdo everyone else. In the meantime, many people are returning to college for second or third degrees and often for professional degrees. It's all connected.

Don't be shy!  Please leave a comment! 

Talk Radio -- Tom Ashbrook interviews the guy who investigated the Madoff Scam

One of my favorite talk radio shows is Tom Ashbrook's On Point.  Today he talked to Harry Markopolos about his new book, No One Would Listen.  Markopolos and some associate brokers took it upon themselves to investigate Madoff's operation and warned the SEC about it to no avail.  It is an interesting story and one of the best On Point shows that I have listened to recently.  I was intrigued by Markopolos's story about how he feared for his life and even contemplated killing Madoff himself in order to keep Madoff from ordering a hit on him.  You can find the show here:

Franky Goes to Bloggywood

This morning it occurred to me that if I took all of the content I have contributed to the Internet over the years, content that is easily lost and forgotten, I could turn it into a political commentary blog.

I have been debating politics and ideas since the Seventh Grade.  My first posts were to computer bulletin board systems (BBSes) back in the late Eighties, before the Internet, when people would dial into BBSes with their 2400 Baud modems on their Tandy 1000s.  It was all simple text back then.  We've come a long way.  I absolutely love the Internet and the freedom of expression it offers us.  Forty years from now I'll be able to tell my niece's and my nephew's children about a time before the Internet and how I was able to experience the birth of the computer age.

Throughout the years many people have admired my posts and my take on the issues.  I used to be an adherent of Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy, but I have since recovered and (hopefully) repented.  While I still believe in the basic Objectivist metaphysics, epistemology, and much of the ethics, over time my ethical and political views diverged.  Today I no longer pay much attention to nor spend much time thinking about Objectivism, which I now regard as a dogma.  Now I have my own individuated and independent philosophy.

With this blog I want to share some of my better forum posts and to discuss current events and news talk radio clips.  I am a proud American, or at least I used to be.  In the past decade I have come to conclude that our once prosperous nation is transforming into an overpopulated, impoverished third world country for a variety of reasons, both political and cultural.  It is a real cluster fuck, and I want to chronicle America's race to the bottom and rant about what ails us.  I am specifically interested in these issues:

  • The U.S. Economy
  • Global Labor Arbitrage--Foreign Outsourcing, H-1B and L-1 visas, Mass Immigration
  • Health Care
  • The Education Bubble or Education Arms Race
  • The Value of Going to Law School
  • Population Explosion and Environmental Degradation
  • The nation's "Rationality Factor" (more about that in a future post)
This isn't a discussion forum, but I welcome comments and reasonable, polite debate.  Enjoy my posts, visit my links, and have at it.

Frank the Underemployed Professional

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