U.S. Markets open in 1 hr 29 mins

Liberal Arts Majors Didn't Kill the Economy

Matthew O'Brien

Rarely is the question not asked nowadays. Graduates now face a tough labor market and even tougher debt burdens, which has left many struggling to find work that pays enough to pay back what they owe. Today, as my colleague Jordan Weissmann points out, young alums aren't stuck in dead-end jobs much more than usual (despite the  scare stories you may have heard). But that's a cold comfort for grads who borrowed a lot to cover the high cost of their degrees.

Election 2012 bug

President Obama lays out his second-term vision for America. See full coverage

There are two, well, schools of thought about why freshly-minted grads have had such a tough time recently. You can blame the smarty-pants majors or blame the economy. In other words, students can't get good jobs either because they aren't learning (at least not the right things) in college, or because there aren't enough good jobs, period.

In other words, too much demand for liberal arts didn't kill the job market. Too little aggregate demand did. Now, if our policymakers could just learn that....

More From The Atlantic