Pouring Hard Earned Dollars Down a Rathole

“I am sickened by the vast sums I see households squandering on hopelessly marginal “investments” in expensive higher education, healthcare and housing. I too am caught in the crony-capitalist/State cartel web of waste, skimming and fraud: we have paid tens of thousands of dollars on no-frills healthcare insurance (no eyewear, no dental, no meds, $50 co-pay) in the past decade, and received perhaps 3% of this sum in care.” – Charles Hugh Smith

Healthcare, education, housing we spend enormous amounts of our hard earned money on them. But according to Smith, these “investments” are going to result in catastrophic losses, because their costs have been artificially inflated by the “cartels” that run our country:

The average American household has been persuaded that pouring money into costly higher education, healthcare and housing are all “investments” that offer high yields.

In essence, a college degree has lost its scarcity value, and in an era of labor arbitrage (a.k.a. offshoring and international competition), automation and relentless pressure to lower costs, even advanced degrees in law, science and business management that once were perceived as guarantees of secure high-paying employment no longer have scarcity value: the number of people with advanced degrees far exceeds the number of open positions.

Meanwhile, the education cartel has raised prices at a rate that is three times the rate of inflation.

Remember the days when you could work part time, pay your way through college, graduate with zero student loans and get a good job after you graduated? Well don’t forget them because those days are long gone:

Simply put, minting 10,000 PhD chemists (for example) does not magically create 10,000 jobs for PhD chemists.

I see family after family making enormous sacrifices to send their children to costly colleges or make bloated mortgage payments with little hope of positive return; I see families who did not have health insurance struggling to pay off crushing bills for hospital care. I personally know people with science PhDs and post-doctoral experience at top universities competing for scarce academic/research jobs against fields of 60 or more other qualified candidates.

Yes, education and healthcare are necessary, but cartels have leveraged this necessity into vast skimming operations that yield marginal returns even as their costs balloon without limit.