Paul Krugman: "Education Isn't the Answer" for American Prosperity

Ashley Thorne

Today both Peter Wood and Jason Fertig observed that Paul Krugman, whom Peter calls one of the "stalwarts of the left,"  has gone on record to doubt the value of the college degree as the best path to prosperity for the majority of Americans. Krugman began his recent op-ed:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that education is the key to economic success. Everyone knows that the jobs of the future will require ever higher levels of skill. That’s why, in an appearance Friday with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, President Obama declared that “If we want more good news on the jobs front then we’ve got to make more investments in education.”
 
But what everyone knows is wrong.

Krugman goes on to argue that more education does not necessarily lead to a stronger national economy, an argument that NAS and our friends at the Pope Center and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity have been making for some time. Peter and Jason note that when someone as prominently on the left as Krugman acknowledges that the value of the college degree is weaker than it's cracked up to be, we must be nearing some broader consensus about higher education's worth.

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