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When our girls were teenagers and starting to think about their future, my husband and I realized one ineluctable fact: We were priced out of the college market. Living on the modest income of a woodcraft business, we knew paying tens of thousands of dollars a year in tuition for one or both children was a fiscal impossibility.

This left the prospect of our girls taking out student loans to finance their education. We urged them NOT to take this option. Starting their adult lives mired in staggering debt would bind their future with chains, and they would never be free.

In retrospect, this was one of the smartest things we ever did for our kids.

The careers our daughters chose are humble but satisfying. We sent our older daughter (currently 23) to a nanny school where she became a certified professional. Now with four years’ experience under her belt, she’s in high demand – and you’d be surprised what upscale families will pay an experienced nanny. Our younger daughter (currently 21) joined the Navy as an Advanced Electronics technician and enjoys her work so much she’s thinking on becoming a career sailor.

Both girls have enormous savings accounts and valuable trade skills. At the same age, most of their college-educated peers are in the reverse situation: enormous student-loan debt and no marketable degrees.

We were criticized – heavily – for our decision to encourage our girls to avoid college. They’ll never reach their full potential, we were told. They’ll be wasting their lives, we were told. They won’t earn as much as if they had a college degree, we were told. The dire predictions went on and on.

The “need” for college is a masterful example of social engineering and propaganda. Young people are told they MUST get a degree, or else. A college degree will translate into higher lifetime earnings. There are all kinds of facts and figures to back up these claims.

But if this is true, why are so many young people experiencing the opposite? Rather than settling into well-paying careers, paying back their student loans and hitting the normal milestones of life (marriage, home ownership, children), millions are living with their parents, avoiding marriage because they are too deeply in debt, and working at Starbucks or Walmart. Don’t get me wrong, those are fine places to work; but it’s not necessary to obtain $20K in debt and a history degree to apply for a job.

So is college worth it … or not?

This student loan crisis is not a trivial matter. It is affecting a generation of people who cannot transition into adulthood because they’re too busy working three minimum-wage jobs while living in their parents’ basements, eternally dependent. They have no option. They’re shackled by debt. It’s tragic beyond belief.

Compare these poor debt slaves with the career choices our daughters made. Both have a solid financial footing, complete independence from their parents, bright prospects for their future and skills constantly in demand.

This student loan crisis is transforming America’s political future by fueling socialism. “[W]hat pundits dismiss as the impulsive rage of young college students is actually an expression of powerlessness, as they anticipate a future defined by indebtedness,” notes this New Yorker article.

“College-educated Americans collectively owe an estimated $1.5 trillion in unpaid student loans,” states columnist Victor Davis Hanson. “Many of these debtors despair of ever paying back the huge sums. Cancelling debt is an ancient socialist rallying cry. Starting over with a clean slate appeals to those ‘oppressed’ with college loans. A force multiplier of debt is the realization that many students borrowed to focus on mostly irrelevant college majors. Such degrees usually offer few opportunities to find jobs high-paying enough to pay back staggering obligations.” [Emphasis added.]

Part of the problem is college tuition has, since the late 1980s, increased at a rate four times that of inflation and eight times that of household income. College is no longer affordable for middle-class families unless they borrow money. Some young people graduate with over $150K of debt – debt, moreover, that can never be discharged in bankruptcy.

And part of the problem is young people (and the older people who counsel them) have no concept of supply and demand, so the students study useless subjects. The only worthwhile majors in college are subjects in high demand (most often the STEM fields). This is why hundreds of thousands – possibly millions – of young adults graduate with fancy degrees but no marketable skills, and the only employers willing to hire them don’t pay enough to even make a dent in their student loan debt. Earlier this year, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, talked about the “mismatch” between the skills people were acquiring in college and the ones demanded by modern businesses. Yet students continue to major in Women’ Studies or Social Justice.

Tell me again why our daughters are at a disadvantage without a college degree.

What if, instead, parents sent their children to trade schools? Not only are these educational options far more affordable, but the trades are begging – literally begging – for workers. Trust me, our nanny-daughter will never, ever lack high-paying employment. Our younger daughter is working on the credentials necessary to become a journeyman electrician by the end of her first enlistment.

By encouraging our children to explore the trades, this not only launched our daughters into a secure economic future, but it eased our own (my husband’s and my) economic future as well. We’re approaching our senior years. We’re downsizing our lives. This process is immeasurably easier without the burden of supporting our now-adult children as they struggle under a crushing load of debt. Tell me again why our daughters are at a disadvantage without a college degree.

The left has worked for decades to convince people of the “need” for college. But think it through: You voluntarily send your children to re-education camps where they are indoctrinated into the liberal agenda; they study useless subjects with no market value; you pay through the nose for this privilege; and your children emerge in a position of perpetual economic slavery, after which they’ll vote for anyone who promises to “forgive” their debt. For progressives, it’s a win-win-win situation.

Tell me again why our daughters are at a disadvantage without a college degree.

Avoid college. For most people, it’s a trap.

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