This Economics Professor Thinks College Is Useless

Bryan Caplan may make his living in higher education – but for the most part, he believes that education is a useless experience.

On today’s show, the author of “The Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money” explained why college is about conforming, not learning.

“If you really think about all the classes … throughout your life, how many can you safely forget after the final exam?” Caplan asked. “And why do employers care?”

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

GLENN: So I personally think that the world is changing so fast, that -- that you're not going to recognize it in ten to 15 years. Your kids. If you have a five or 6-year-old, they probably will never have a driver's license.

Maybe that's a little early. But, you know, if they come of age at 2030 or so, they're probably not going to have a driver's license. They won't probably believe that you were ever allowed to drive a car, at some point.

Things are changing are just the car industry, with Uber. What's going to happen to the taxi jobs with Uber? What's going to happen with the Uber jobs, with self-driving cars, with self-driving trucks? That's 5 percent of the workforce. What do we do on education?

I have been reading a lot lately on -- on high-tech. And the book I'm currently working on is life 3.0. Being human in the age of artificial intelligence. And it is really good because of the questions half an hour in it.

But it talks a little bit about educating your kids. And there are three things for the future that, if you want your child to be successful, there are three things that you really need to focus on.

One, does their future job, the thing they want to do, does it require interacting with people and using social intelligence? Because robots are not going to be able to do that. Computers can't do that. They can be an accountant. They can be a driver. But they're not going to be -- they're not going to have social intelligence yet. And they're also not going to be great with interacting with people. So you don't want to be the person that takes the x-ray or is the x-ray tech that is getting it ready for the doctor. You want to be the doctor.

Does it involve creativity and coming up with clever solutions? And does it require working with an unpredictable environment.

Those three things are what your kids -- you should be preaching to your kids and talking to your kids about on their future career or your future career. Those three things.

I contend that the current education system is -- it does require -- it is teaching people how to socially interact and use social intelligence.

But it is putting you in a box on that. Because it's killing the other two things. Does it require creativity and coming up with clever solutions?

No. There's no clever solutions. They'll tell you exactly what the answer is, and you dare not disagree. And the third one is, does it require working in an unpredictable environment? No. Every college is a safe zone.

We are killing the opportunity for our kids by using this kind of educational system. Now, there is a -- there is an actual professor, that is part of this institution, who has just written a new book, the case against education.

STU: Yeah, The Case Against Education from a professor. I love that. Bryan Caplan, he's the author of the book. He's an economics professor at George Mason University. And he joins us now.

GLENN: Bryan, how are you?

BRYAN: Doing fantastic.

GLENN: Very good.

How do you respond to those three questions and the idea that the educational system is teaching us to live in a box that no longer exists or will no longer exist?

BRYAN: Well, I mean, the truth is that the economy is changing much more slowly than people realize. The high tech sectors that you're talking about are only a small part of the economy. The world is changing a lot more between 1945 in the '70s, than it has in the last 30 years.

GLENN: So I'm specifically talking about the thinking creatively and thinking out of the box, to be able to adapt to whatever comes.

BRYAN: Yeah. Let me put it this way. You know, if we could do something much less than that, it would be a big improvement of what we have. I mean, right now, just to get kids able to read and write and do basic math would be an improvement for a lot of them. I mean, creativity, most jobs are not creative. So -- meaning, like it would be great for tech people to be creative. But if you could just get basic skills up to a reasonable level, that would be a lot better than what we have.

GLENN: So if you had a -- you know, a 10-year-old that you were raising now, are they --

BRYAN: I have an 8-year-old.

GLENN: You have an 8-year-old?

BRYAN: Yep.

GLENN: Are you preparing them for college as it is now?

BRYAN: Basically. So a lot of what I say in my book is that, even though the world is changing dramatically, colleges have been locked in the same system for about 1,000 years. And here's the amazing thing: Modern employers keep rewarding people with fancy college degrees, even though it doesn't seem like they're adapting to the modern world very well. And my main story is that the point of college isn't really to train people for the future anyway. It's more to jump through a bunch of hoops and show off and say, "Hey, look at me, I can do a lot of what most people can't do."

STU: This is the difference in the book. The difference between signaling and capital. Can you explain what those things are and what the difference is?

BRYAN: Yeah, sure. So human capital story is basically the one that parents and teachers and propaganda say about education. Which is, you go into school, and they pour skills into you. You learn reading, writing, math, all this great stuff. And at the end, you are a transformed child. You know how to do all these things. And then you're suddenly employable.

And obviously, there's something to that. But if you really think about all the class of these things throughout your life, how many can you safely forget after the final exam?

I mean, I don't know about you. But I think 75, 80, 90 percent of classes, once you're done with the final exam, you never need to know this stuff again. But then why do employers care? And that's where signaling comes in. It says, you know, whenever you do anything impressive, when you go and get an A in your Aristotle class or complete four years of Latin, or any accomplishment that's irrelevant to virtually any job you'll ever do, still when you put that on your transcript, employers look and say, wow, look at what this kid did. I think he's worthy of being trained to be a secretary.

STU: That is -- essentially, the education system as -- what it's signaling, designed to do, not to actually teach people things. But to be able to signal to employers that in theory, you're smart enough to do something else.

BRYAN: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly.

You start getting sorted. So think about this, there's two ways you can raise the value of a diamond. One is to be an expert gem smith who cuts it perfectly to make it great. The other one is to be the guy with that monocle on his eye. And he looks at it, and he goes, oh, look at this. This thing is a wonderful diamond. Yes, I'll put a Grade A sticker on it. A lot of what the education system does, is the second thing. They're not really cutting you and making you great. They're looking at you and putting a sticker on you and saying, see, this is worthy of being hired for certain kinds of jobs. And if you don't get the sticker, it's like, no, not good enough.

STU: Hmm.

GLENN: So there's -- there's another theory out there that has been popular. Called Common Core. Which this is, in my opinion, what Bill Gates was trying to solve. He was trying to put that sticker on you really early. By, you know, really watching you closely and then sorting you out for the right job.

I don't think that education is -- for me, education -- good education is not teaching me what to think, it's -- it's teaching me how to think. It's teaching me how to find answers.

And that's not what we're doing now. We're teaching answers. You learn them. You test them. You forget. And then you go and be a little worker bee.

That's not the future.

BRYAN: So, Glenn, you're being an optimist there. Even the idea that kids are learning a lot of stuff is really optimistic. So if you especially just look at what adults know about any of the substance they learned in school, they've forgotten almost all of it. So if you get an education system that actually durable taught them even a bunch of facts, that would be better than what we have. Sure, it would be great if we teach them how to think. But that's really a moon shot.

GLENN: So let's go there. I'll take a quick break. And then we'll come back. And tell me how bad the education system is. And then, what do we do about it? And I'm looking for much more simple answers. What do I do about it as a parent?

(music)

STU: You may have witnessed the first time anyone has ever come on the program and accused Glenn of being an optimist. We'll get back to that in a minute. It's Bryan Caplan. It's The Case Against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money.

GLENN: We have Bryan Caplan on. He is the author of the book The Case Against Education: Why the Education System is A Waste of Time and Money.

It's interesting to me or ironic that he is a university professor, and the book is published by Princeton Press. And he is saying, there's real problems here, and we need to have a discussion.

So let's talk a little bit about -- quickly, the problems of education and how bad they are.

BRYAN: All right. Well, I mean, if you just go and measure the literacy and numeracy of adults, say about a third to a half, are -- are -- their skills are so bad, you would almost call them illiterate enumerate. On the other hand, if you go over to college graduates, I would say that basically their literacy and numeracy, kind of what you would look for in high school graduates.

STU: That's a problem. That seems like that would be a problem.

GLENN: So --

BRYAN: Yeah. I mean, like the amazing thing is, I look out my window here in Philadelphia and see this amazing society. You know, how is it that we're able to get it done when people's skills are so poor?

And the truth is, most of the time, people learn on the job by practice. And most of what you fail to learn in school never comes up again anyway. So thank God for that.

GLENN: So MIT, for instance, you can audit every single class online for free.

BRYAN: Oh, yeah.

GLENN: If you did that, you make the case, that really wouldn't be -- that would be very useful in the current system because there's no little stamp of approval that says, MIT loves you. Right?

BRYAN: Yeah, that's exactly right. You didn't even have to wait for this. I never heard a professor that kicks out visitors. Professors love it when someone comes to their class. Someone actually wants to learn what I have to teach. This has never happened before. They get a tear in their eyes. But almost no one takes you up on this offer, because people don't really want the learning so much as that sticker.

STU: That is amazing. Because you talk about this with -- with graduation years, versus intermediate years. In your first and second year in college, is not as valuable as your graduate year.

But it's not like they're waiting until your last year of college, until they start teaching you things of value. It really does explain that the stamp of approval is really what we're looking for when we get into the system.

BRYAN: Yeah, exactly. This is true for high school. True for college. True for graduate school. It's crossing the finish line that has most of the reward. If you do 3.9 years of college and then give up, the labor market barely gives you anything. Your application still goes in the trash with the other applications of people who didn't finish college. But you just get right over that finish line, and then a lot of doors open up for you.

Which, again, would be very puzzling if the main thing that you were learning in school were your job skills. But if you're trying to show, hey, look at me. If you say -- want four years, I do what you say. When you say jump, I say how high, not how can I weasel out of this.

If you're that kind of person, then employers take you seriously. And, you know, striking if you go to countries where college lasts three years. Then, of course, it's the third year that really counts a lot. It's all just about what is the social expectation, and if the people who fulfill it, they look good, the world likes them, and employers like them -- and if you fall short, then, oh, no, you're not good enough.

GLENN: You, in fact, in the book said we need a lot less education. What do you mean by that?

BRYAN: Right. So if you just go back to 1945, back then maybe 25 percent of American adults finished high school, and yet back in those days, with a high school degree, you could become a manager. You could get all kinds of high status jobs. Now, of course, you can't. There's been quite a bit of research just looking at what's happened to the labor market over these last 70 years or so, is the main thing that's happened, is that jobs become more cognitively demanding. And now you need to have these college degrees to do the kind of work that we do today.

Whereas, the main thing that's happened, that for one in the same job, you need extra degrees in order to even get your foot in the door. And both stories are somewhat true. But the second story is the main story.

You know, now we have lots of waiters with college degrees. Bartenders with college degrees. Cashiers with college degrees. Parking lot attendants with college degrees.

And, you know, this is pretty bizarre if you think about it. It's like, do you really need these degrees to do the job? No, but if you want to go and get a job at a good restaurant now, for example, a college degree really helps.

GLENN: That's unbelievable. We'll come back and I'll start to apply this to our lives and our children, and what do we do about it?

Economics professor, George Mason. University. Author of the book, the case against education. Bryan Caplan, when we come back.

GLENN: Hello, America. Welcome to the program. So glad that you are here. We're spending a few minutes with Bryan Caplan. He's an economics professor. George Mason University. He's the author of The Case Against Education. And he's also going to be speaking today at the public library of Philadelphia. It's free. If you would like to, you know, get a free education. Today at 7:30.

So, Bryan, let me just speak for, I think, the average person in America, whether it is a parent, a person going to college or thinking about going to college -- we know the -- we don't know it like you do.

I mean, the stats that you lay out are -- are pretty frightening, of what -- of how bad education is right now. However, I think most people kind of know. Especially conservatives.

I think they send their kids saying, they're going to have all this debt. They're building water parks at universities now. They're not really getting a real education. In fact, I'm sending them almost against my will, because I'm afraid of what those professors and what these universities are going to teach my kids on social justice and all this nonsense. But every parent -- most of them will say the same thing -- but they've got to have a degree.

So what do we do right now? There's two questions: One, what do we do as a society? But let's start with, what do we do right now as a parent or somebody that has to go to college?

BRYAN: Right. Well, the first thing to ask yourself is, how good was your kid in high school?

The idea that every kid should go to college is -- makes sense if you can know for sure your kid can finish. But completion rates are shockingly low. So only about 40 percent of full-time students will finish a bachelor's degree in four years.

After five years, it's up to 55 percent to finish. But there's a really big chunk that just don't finish.

And as I was saying, if you don't finish and you don't get that diploma, then the payoff is really crummy. So I would say the very first thing is, was my kid good enough in high school, to think he's going to finish? Right now, I'd say for maybe a third to a half of students going to college, you know, the right answer is no.

In a way, you might say, well, thank goodness we don't have to pay for this stuff now. And then we need to look for something else for my kid to do, at least until he gets serious enough to start studying.

GLENN: I'm friends with Mike Rowe. And this is something that he has been fighting.

BRYAN: Oh, yeah.

GLENN: And that is this instinct. This knee-jerk answer. Well, it doesn't matter. They have to go to college. What, do you want them to be a janitor the rest of their life?

BRYAN: Oh, yeah. And, of course, there are tons of other jobs. Many of them high-paying that don't -- that, still, to this day, don't require college. Plumber, electrician. If you just go -- like you say, if you go through government statistics, what are high-paying jobs that don't require college? You know, there are still a lot of them. There are ones where especially upper middle-class families, they don't really know anyone who does these jobs anymore, so it's kind of hard for them to really visualize it. But they're out there.

If your kid is super bored sitting listening to some windbag go and talk about some abstract stuff, then, yeah, really you should look into getting your kid vocational education. And instead of pressuring him to do something that he's probably just has no interest in, find something that he has -- that actually engages him. And, of course, that doesn't require you to have four years of college debt, which is pretty crazy if your kid is going to drop out anyway.

STU: You break this into kind of the selfish return and the social return. Which is an interesting way of looking at it. Because you go through really the numbers of the selfish return on education, which a lot of times can turn out better, even financially for a lot of kids to not go to college. Because they don't have all that debt.

But can you talk a little bit about the social return? What's the actual path forward for us, when you're talking about policy and how to design an education system that actually works for the country.

BRYAN: Sure. So if you remember I was talking about human capital versus signaling. So there's the optimistic view that college is actually transforming you into a skilled and able adult. And then there's the not-so-optimistic view that I'm pushing, that most of it is just about putting a stamp on your forehead and saying, good enough to be trained. All right?

Now, selfishly speaking, it doesn't really matter why employers will reward you for getting your degree. Who really cares why they're doing it. But from the point of view of society, from the point of view of taxpayers, it makes a huge difference. Because if school is really actually remolding our youth into the skilled workers of the future, then it's making our whole society richer. But if the main thing you're doing is putting stickers on people's foreheads, you can't get rich by putting a bunch of stickers on people's heads. So there's really a saying, you're in the top 25 percent of the distribution. Then when you go and you encourage education, the main thing you do isn't get skilled workers. It just means you have to spend more and more years in school, just to get on to first base, just to go and start learning the job.

GLENN: Yeah. I will tell you, there's a lot of people that I have met -- and I'm in media. So it's slightly different. But nobody takes the college person seriously. Like, oh, you have some latest information. You've got some new. Okay. That's great. Watch. Because they usually don't walk into a job. They've got that great degree.

But they don't have any practical experience. They don't really have practical understanding, many times of what we're doing. It really is, okay. You're smart. So we'll train you from the beginning on how to do things.

BRYAN: Yeah. This really is one of the greatest frauds on campus. The communications major is enormous. And yet, every year, they graduate more communications majors than the total number of jobs in every kind of media that exists. So, you know, it's a major that you're preparing them through your job, Glenn. And yet, of course, you can't have a million kids get to be Glenn Beck.

STU: Nor do we want them, by the way. We don't want a million Glenn Becks, believe me.

GLENN: That's a really bad thing. Yeah. One is enough.

Nor do I know the people that really excel in media, really excel, you know, were the top of their class and the one that we just had to have from Harvard. That's generally not them.

BRYAN: Right. The nice thing about that entertainment is that there is a very clear market test, which is, do people actually watch you? Whereas, for a lot of jobs, being on a team, it's like, well, is this person really pulling their weight or not? So there's some confusion there.

And then -- you know, say you're not going to -- you're not going to keep someone employed just because you hired them and they're on the team, if you -- if they're on the radio. Whereas, for a lot of jobs, once you get hired, people will keep you there, at least until the next recession comes along. And they just, well, we got to get rid of somebody. So how about the person who is a huge disappointment?

STU: We're talking to Bryan Caplan, author of The Case Against Education: Why the Education System is a Waste of Time and Money.

Bryan, the way we've moved toward signaling, when it comes to universities, does that explain great inflation at some level, where we've seen back in the day, it used to be 10 or 15 percent of kids got A's in classes. And now it's sometimes 60 and 70 percent.

BRYAN: Yeah, that's a great question. So it's actually pretty weird when you think about it. Because if the main thing that college is doing is signaling, you might think that there would be a lot of pressure on us to really separate the great students from the good ones, from the not so good one.

GLENN: Hello. Oh, my gosh.

STU: Lost him there.

GLENN: There he is.

BRYAN: Professor to give out better grades.

STU: We lost you in the middle there. Can you give that to us one more time?

BRYAN: Right. So it has a lot more to do with universities are nonprofits, and the professors are regarded as basically artists. You can't tell them what to do.

And so, you know, if we really wanted to maintain the purity of the signal, we would have kept the high standards. But it's just so much easier for a professor to go and give high grades to everyone. And then the students don't complain. Since it's nonprofit, there's no one at the top saying, we must maintain our brand at all costs. You professors get in line. So I think that's more of what's going on.

STU: Because it seems like there's a series of incentives. Because if I'm now sending my kid to college because I want them to get that piece of paper, if at the end of this, where I've spent all of this money, I don't get that piece of paper, there's -- I'm not going to want to continue that process with the next kid. And it feels like there's an incentive for colleges to be able to push these people through and give them the piece of paper whether they want it or not, because that's all I'm really asking them for in the first place.

BRYAN: Yeah. I mean, that sounds right, until you take a look at the low graduation rates. If colleges really wanted to just pass people along, they would just cut standards even more than they already have. Which, it's a little scary to think about.

But, I mean, there is a point, where you say, how low can we have the standards, before the students -- before everyone will get over them? A lot of it is honestly just to get the students to even bother to show up in class. Typical college class has maybe 60 percent attendance on an average day. Forty percent, a lot of those kids are the ones that are not going to get it through. A reasonably good student can still squeak by, even not attending all that often. Standards are strangely low. And yet, there are many standard students that fall below even those low standards.

GLENN: If I could reflect what I think people feel for a second, Bryan, we -- we are concerned about the standards, obviously. We're concerned about the price. Because how do we or our kids afford this.

But we are also -- growing concern. And I hear this from the left as well. They are very concerned about the things like the freedom of speech and thought on campus. And it is becoming -- it feels as though it is becoming dangerous to the republic, to get this indoctrination sometimes. And when you're talking about all these problems, you're saying, we need to fix this.

From the inside of these powerful institutions, you're a freak. Aren't you? Or do others -- is there a movement inside to say, we have real problems, and we've got to change this.

BRYAN: So here's the thing. You know, professors vary very widely amongst themselves. Different departments are very different. So, here's the main thing I would say just to help people calm down a bit. Most professors are so boring, that the brainwashing doesn't work.

And most -- and attendance is so low, that a lot of the students are not hearing the stuff that you don't want them to hear. So, I mean, it's important to keep in mind, that, you know, when students -- even when they're getting a grade for the class and everything else, a lot of them just stay in the room and play video games. And -- and, like, even when they're in the classroom, their minds are wandering. They're not paying that much attention. So I agree that if you just look at the syllabi or if you just listen to a recording of many lectures, then you say, this is horrible. Kids are being taught this stuff. But the reasons to feel at least somewhat less bad about it, is if you were to go and turn the camera around and look at the face of the students and see how they're sleeping and not paying that much attention, and bored out of their minds. There is actual like empirical research where they try to see how much does college change students minds. And, you know, it doesn't seem to change them that much. Again, the kids you see on the news, those are the ones that -- it's a small minority of kids that really love this stuff and want to be activists. But most kids don't want to be activists. They want to play video games.

GLENN: I have a friend who is in college, and they sent a screenshot of one of their tests that happened in science, just last week.

Which of the following answers do you think characterizes the political views of the person to your right? He or she is the founder of the alt-left, leaning liberal, middle of the road, leaning conservative, founder of the alt-right. Your answer. The next one was: Which of the following answers characterize your political views?

I'm a founder of the alt-left, leaning liberal, middle of the road, leaning conservative, founder of the alt-right.

Can you, for the life of you, figure out what that has to do with science?

BRYAN: I mean, if I were in that class, I would be curious if the professor is trying to get on your show. You know, maybe they're saying, hey, I want to go and show how brainwashed these kids are. I mean, if you're brainwashing people, the last thing you want to do is call attention to the brainwashing. You just want to act, I'm not brainwashing them. It's just oxygen we're breathing here. It's not anything anyone someone should be paying attention to. So maybe it was an effort to politicize science. Although, maybe it was just the professor was curious about what kinds of kids he's teaching. I don't know.

GLENN: Bryan Caplan. He is the author of The Case Against Education: Why the Education System is a Waste of Time and Money.

And he is going to be speaking again tonight. The public library of Philadelphia. Tonight at 7:30. Thank you so much, Bryan. Good to talk to you.

BRYAN: All right. Fantastic to talk to you.

STU: Once again, he's going to be speaking at the free public library in the city of the Super Bowl champion, Philadelphia Eagles.

GLENN: At least according to Amazon --

STU: Alexa, that's right. Yeah. BCaplan.com. Or @Bryan_Caplan. I mean, really, if you want to dive in and really see what's happening to our education system, there's a lot of material. We only scratched the surface about.

GLENN: Really -- page 41 is terrifying. Absolutely terrifying.

STU: Yeah.

4 signs that PROVE Americans are hitting rock bottom

Spencer Platt / Staff | Getty Images

As we approach the presidential election in November, many Americans are facing dire economic straits.

Glenn has shown time and time again that Bidenomics is a sham, and more Americans than ever are suffering as a result. Still, Biden and his cronies continue to insist that the economy is booming despite the mounting evidence to the contrary. But who is Biden fooling? Since the beginning of the year, gas has gone up an average of 40 cents a gallon nationwide, with some states seeing as much as a 60-cent per gallon increase. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Foreclosures and bankruptcies are on the rise, evictions are surging, and America is experiencing a record amount of homelessness. We can't survive another Biden term.

Americans across the country are hitting rock bottom, and here are four stats that PROVE it:

Evictions

John Moore / Staff | Getty Images

Across the country, people are being evicted from their homes and apartments. Between 2021 and 2023, evictions increased by 78.6 percent. With inflation driving up prices and employers struggling to raise wages to compensate, rent is taking up an increasingly larger percentage of people's paychecks. Many Americans are having to choose between buying groceries and paying rent.

Foreclosures

Justin Sullivan / Staff | Getty Images

Renters aren't the only ones struggling to make their monthly payments, foreclosures are on the rise. This February saw a 5 percent increase in foreclosures from last year and a 10 percent increase from January. More and more Americans are losing their homes and businesses.

Bankruptcies

Chris Hondros / Staff | Getty Images

High interest rates and inflation have driven bankruptcies through the roof. Total filings have risen 13 percent and business bankruptcies rose 30 percent in 2023. It's getting harder and harder for businesses to stay afloat, and with California's new law requiring most restaurants to pay all employees a minimum of $20 an hour, you can expect that number to keep climbing.

Homelessness

FREDERIC J. BROWN / Contributor | Getty Images

The result of all of these issues is that it is getting harder and harder for Americans to afford the basic necessities. January of 2023 saw a record-breaking 650,000+ homeless Americans, a 12 percent jump from the previous year. More Americans have hit rock bottom than ever before.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on TheBlaze.com.

I want to talk to Generation Z. I’ve seen some clips of you complaining about your 9-to-5 jobs on social media and how life is really hard right now. To be honest, my first reaction was, “Suck it up, buttercup. This is what life is really like.” In a sense, that’s true. But in another sense, I think you’re getting a bad rap. You are facing unique problems that my generation didn’t face — problems that my generation had a hand in creating.

But I also think you don’t understand the cause of these problems.

I would hate to be in your position. When I was your age, we didn’t have to deal with any of the challenges you’re facing. In one sense, your life has been tough. At the same time, compared to previous generations, your life has been very easy. Everybody was rushing to save you, to protect you. You were coddled, which makes your life harder now.

You’ve grown up with social media and the definition of narcissism: somebody gazing into the pond looking at themselves all the time. I don't mean this as an offense, and I am not just including you in this. We’ve become a culture of narcissists. It’s all about “me, me, me, me.”

If you end up thinking more collectivism is the solution, then you haven't done enough homework.

You’ve been in territory that my generation never had to enter. You’ve already navigated a landscape that we didn't have to, where nothing is true, and you can’t trust anybody. I wouldn’t trust anybody either if I were in your position. But I do know a few things to be true and a couple of things I can trust.

First, life is worth it. Life is tough, but it is worth it in the end.

Second, life is not about stuff. As a guy who is kind of a pack rat, I can tell you that none of that stuff will create happiness in your life. In fact, I think your generation has a better handle on happiness in some ways than anybody in mine. You’re starting to realize that pharmaceuticals may not be as good as natural solutions in a lot of situations, that the huge house may not be as satisfying as just having a smaller house, that living your life instead of having to work all the time may be a better way to live.

I want to talk to those of you who feel like it’s not worth even trying to go to work because you’ll never get anywhere. You work 40 hours a week or more, and you still can't afford a place to live. You’re still living with your parents. You can’t afford food. I think you're right to feel frustrated because the problems you're facing weren't always the case.

I blame a lot of the current problems we’re facing today on the hippies. That may be wrong, but I hate hippies. Hippies have been screwing things up since the 1960s. While on their socialist march, they have become everything that they said they were against: lying, greedy politicians. They just won’t let go of their power even though their time has passed.

These are the people who have come up with policies that make you feel like this is the way the world is. I hope I can convince you that it doesn’t have to be this way. This isn’t the way our country has always been. We don’t have to keep these people in power. Actions have consequences. Votes have consequences. These people allow crime, looters, squatters, riots, and somebody needs to pay for that.

You say you can’t afford health care. I understand. Since Obamacare passed, the cost of individual health insurance has doubled. You need to remember that politicians promised that if we passed this massive health care overhaul, it would mean a savings of $2,500 per family. You're in school. You must know that $2,500 savings is not the same as an 80% increase. Moreover, the cost of hospital stays is up 210%. I understand when you say you can't afford health care at these costs. Who could afford health care? Who could afford insurance?

The generation coming of age is right to feel frustrated.This mess — with high costs and a massive debt burden — was not of their making.

Iwant to talk to Generation Z. I’ve seen some clips of you complaining about your 9-to-5 jobs on social media and how life is really hard right now. To be honest, my first reaction was, “Suck it up, buttercup. This is what life is really like.” In a sense, that’s true. But in another sense, I think you’re getting a bad rap. You are facing unique problems that my generation didn’t face — problems that my generation had a hand in creating.

But I also think you don’t understand the cause of these problems.

If you end up thinking more collectivism is the solution, then you haven't done enough homework.

I would hate to be in your position. When I was your age, we didn’t have to deal with any of the challenges you’re facing. In one sense, your life has been tough. At the same time, compared to previous generations, your life has been very easy. Everybody was rushing to save you, to protect you. You were coddled, which makes your life harder now.

You’ve grown up with social media and the definition of narcissism: somebody gazing into the pond looking at themselves all the time. I don't mean this as an offense, and I am not just including you in this. We’ve become a culture of narcissists. It’s all about “me, me, me, me.”

You’ve been in territory that my generation never had to enter. You’ve already navigated a landscape that we didn't have to, where nothing is true, and you can’t trust anybody. I wouldn’t trust anybody either if I were in your position. But I do know a few things to be true and a couple of things I can trust.

First, life is worth it. ≈

Second, life is not about stuff. As a guy who is kind of a pack rat, I can tell you that none of that stuff will create happiness in your life. In fact, I think your generation has a better handle on happiness in some ways than anybody in mine. You’re starting to realize that pharmaceuticals may not be as good as natural solutions in a lot of situations, that the huge house may not be as satisfying as just having a smaller house, that living your life instead of having to work all the time may be a better way to live.

I want to talk to those of you who feel like it’s not worth even trying to go to work because you’ll never get anywhere. You work 40 hours a week or more, and you still can't afford a place to live. You’re still living with your parents. You can’t afford food. I think you're right to feel frustrated because the problems you're facing weren't always the case.

I blame a lot of the current problems we’re facing today on the hippies. That may be wrong, but I hate hippies. Hippies have been screwing things up since the 1960s. While on their socialist march, they have become everything that they said they were against: lying, greedy politicians. ≈

These are the people who have come up with policies that make you feel like this is the way the world is. I hope I can convince you that it doesn’t have to be this way. This isn’t the way our country has always been. We don’t have to keep these people in power. Actions have consequences. Votes have consequences. These people allow crime, looters, squatters, riots, and somebody needs to pay for that.

If you end up thinking more collectivism is the solution, then you haven't done enough homework.

You say you can’t afford health care. I understand. Since Obamacare passed, the cost of individual health insurance has doubled. You need to remember that politicians promised that if we passed this massive health care overhaul, it would mean a savings of $2,500 per family. You're in school. You must know that $2,500 savings is not the same as an 80% increase. Moreover, the cost of hospital stays is up 210%. I understand when you say you can't afford health care at these costs. Who could afford health care? Who could afford insurance?

You are also starting your life with thousands of dollars in debt. Your parents didn't have that burden. People used to be able to work their way through college and graduate debt-free. Others were able to get jobs that quickly paid off their debt. You can't do that now. Once the government said that they were going to guarantee all student loans, university costs skyrocketed, and it hasn't stopped. You can thank the progressive President Lyndon B. Johnson for that.

The people who created this mess cannot fix it. But it can be fixed.

You are also starting your life with thousands of dollars in debt. Your parents didn't have that burden. People used to be able to work their way through college and graduate debt-free. Others were able to get jobs that quickly paid off their debt. You can't do that now. Once the government said that they were going to guarantee all student loans, university costs skyrocketed, and it hasn't stopped. You can thank the progressive President Lyndon B. Johnson for that.

Once the government said that they were going to guarantee everybody’s college tuition, universities found out that they could just charge more because the government would give you virtually any amount in your loan. And they have been charging more and more ever since. In 1965, the average college tuition was $450 a year. Adjusted to inflation, that's $4,000 a year. You're currently paying an average of $26,000 a year as opposed to the inflation-adjusted $4,000.

What happened? The answer is always the same: government regulations. Gas is up. Why? Government regulations. Can't afford a house? Well, that's due to several things. Many of them revolve around the fed and our national debt. But the simple answer is the same: government regulations.

Moreover, the U.S. government has run a staggering national debt. We have been concerned about it forever, but the people in power haven't been listening to your mom and dad and people like me. A lot of other people just thought, "Oh, well. We could get away with it. We're the United States of America, after all. Somehow or another, it will all work out."

People like me have been saying, "No. We can't pass this on to our children." You're now seeing what we have passed on. When you say that the adults are responsible for creating this world of problems, in some ways, you’re right. We were lied to, and as many people do, they want to believe the lie because it makes them feel better.

There are big lies being pushed in your generation as well. You're being told that a man is a woman and a woman is a man. At the same time, you’re being told that gender doesn't even exist at all. It makes us feel better to go along with the lie because we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

My generation believed the same kind of lie about our national debt. We were told that we could spend all this money on subsidized programs because it would provide you, our children, with a better life. Some people warned, "Wait, how will they pay this off? This will cost them." We didn't want to believe them. The lie sounded better, and it was easier to believe that than the truth. We never saw the consequences, and even if we did, they were always way out in the future. Nobody wanted to listen to the doomsday people saying, "No. It's going to come faster than you think."

And that time is right now. Our government now is printing $1 trillion every 100 days. That's never been done before. We have more debt than any country has ever had in the history of the world. But we’re not alone. Every country is doing this. They’re going into debt like we’ve never seen before, and we’re all about to pay for that. It’s going to make your life even harder.

There are Democrats and Republicans who still believe in spending all kinds of money and getting us involved in every global conflict. Then there are constitutional conservatives who believe that we should conserve the things that have worked and throw out the things that don’t and follow our Constitution and Bill of Rights. You haven't really learned about those most likely. But you should. All of our problems are caused by the government and the people who feel they can bypass the Constitution. That's what this election is really all about.

You might say, “I don’t really care. I don’t like either of the political parties.” I know a lot of people who don’t like either of them, but one is going to try to cut the size of this government and one is going to spend us into collapse.

The people who created this mess cannot fix it. But it can be fixed. You need to learn enough about the truth, about why this has happened to us, and about how our Constitution lasted longer than any other Constitution in the world. The average is 17 years. This thing has lasted hundreds of years. Why? How? And why is it falling apart today? That's what you should dedicate some of your time to figuring out today.

You can complain about the way things are. I complain. Everybody complains. But don't wallow there. Learn what caused this. And if you end up thinking more collectivism is the solution, then you haven't done enough homework. They always end the same way, and that's exactly where we're headed right now. We can either repeat the dreadful past of nations that have tried it before us, or we can choose freedom, liberty, and prosperity. The ball is in our court.

Glenn recently had Representative Thomas Massie on his show to sound the alarm about an important yet often overlooked issue affecting what we eat. Whether you're trying to be prepared to weather a catastrophe or just trying to keep food on the table without resorting to eating bugs, it's more important now than ever to source local food. Unnoticed by most, our right to eat home-grown or locally-sourced foods is under attack. The government doesn't just want a say in what you eat; they want you vulnerable and dependent on their system, and they are massively overstepping their bounds to ensure your compliance with their goals.

How did the attack on your food begin?

Government overreach on food can be traced back to 1938 under the autocratic eye of FDR with the Supreme Court case "Wickard v. Filburn." The case was pretty straightforward, but the results were devastating. The case began with the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, which sought to control national food prices by placing limitations on how many crops farmers could grow in a season.

Filburn was one such farmer, who was allotted 11.1 acres of wheat to plant and harvest annually. Filburn planted and harvested 23 acres, arguing that the extra acres were not headed for the market, but were used for personal consumption. After being penalized for over-harvesting, he fought his case all the way up to the Supreme Court, arguing that Congress did not have the authority to regulate crops that never left his farm.

Unfortunately for Filburn (and the rest of us), the Supreme Court didn't agree. They ruled that the mere existence of that extra wheat—whether it left Filburn's farm or not—had an effect on the national value of wheat. Congress assumed the power to regulate just about anything that could be roped under the umbrella of "interstate commerce."

Under the precedent set by Wickard v. Filburn, Congress might bar you from growing tomatoes in your backyard, because it could affect national tomato prices. This was a major blow to our right to feed ourselves, and that right has been eroding ever since.

How is our right to feed ourselves under attack today?

Last June, the Virginia Department of Agriculture shut down Golden Valley Farms, a small Amish farm owned and operated by Samuel B. Fisher in Farmville, Virginia. Golden Valley Farms had started out selling dairy products, primarily, and processed some meat for personal consumption. However, by popular demand, Fisher began selling meat.

Fisher initially hauled his animals to a USDA processing plant, paid to have them processed, and then hauled them back. This process was time-consuming and costly, and Fisher's customers didn't want the meat processed by the plant. A survey done on Golden Valley Farms customers found that an overwhelming 92 percent preferred meat processed by Fisher. So naturally, Fisher began to process more and more meat for his customers.

Moreover, COVID shut down the USDA plant, which made it impossible for Fisher to process the animals by the USDA anyway, though the demand for meat was greater than ever. Fisher made the call to process 100 percent of his animals himself and didn't look back. That was until June when the Virginia Department of Agriculture caught wind of Fisher's operation and shut it down. The VDA seized all of Fisher's products, and he wasn't allowed to process, sell, or even eat his meat. Then they loaded it up in a truck and left it at the dump to rot.

Nobody ever got sick from eating meat from Golden Valley Farms. This was NOT about "health and safety." This was about control. The fact is that informed adults were not allowed to make a simple transaction without the government sticking its slimy fingers into Fisher's business and claiming it was somehow for "our benefit." But it's not for "our benefit." It's so they can regulate and control what we buy and what we eat, and they cannot stand it when we operate outside of their influence.

What comes next?

Where does this end? With so much of our ability to feed ourselves already eroded, is it too late? Is it going to get worse? Before long, will it be illegal to eat eggs from your chickens or pick vegetables from your garden without getting government clearance first? Fortunately, a solution is already in the works.

Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie recently told Glenn about a new constitutional amendment designed to limit government overreach regarding food production. The proposed amendment reads as follows:

And Congress shall make no law, regulating the production and distribution of food products, which do not move across state lines.

The amendment is still on the drawing board and has not been formally introduced to Congress yet. But this is where you come in. Call your representative and tell them to support Massie's amendment and take a stand for your right to provide sustenance for you and your family.

If we can build skyscrapers, we can rebuild bridges

Kevin Dietsch / Staff | Getty Images

Editor's note: This article was originally published on TheBlaze.com.

I am sick and tired of hearing about our limitations. The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge this week is an amazing hero story of the cops and first responders who saved an untold number of lives by doing exactly the right thing quickly. But I’m really tired of hearing about how long it’s going to take us to recover from this catastrophe and how bad it’s going to be.


The immediate impact for Americans regarding this bridge collapse seems dire. If you're waiting for a new car to come in from overseas, prepare to wait longer. The Port of Baltimore stands as the nation’s leading import-export site for cars and trucks. It’s also the leading nexus for sugar and gypsum, which is used in fertilizer, drywall, and plaster. A record 52.3 million tons of foreign cargo was transported through Baltimore just last year.

To expect more from our leaders is rational. But to expect the most from ourselves is essential.

The bustling port is now cut off after the 1.6-mile-long bridge crumbled and fell into the river early Tuesday, blocking the only shipping lane into the port.

The officials have said the timeline for rebuilding the bridge will be years. The Port of Baltimore creates more than 15,300 jobs, with another 140,000 jobs linked to the activity at the port. This is a major disaster and will continue to cause significant problems on the East Coast for U.S. importers and exporters.

The bridge collapse means it will not be possible to get to the container terminals or a range of the other port terminals in Baltimore. Maryland Secretary of Transportation Paul J. Wiedefeld told reporters on Tuesday that vessel traffic in the port would be suspended until further notice but noted the port is still open to trucks.

Michael Mezzacappa, an attorney and expert on property damage cases in the shipping industry, told the New York Post that the collapse will have a major impact on shipping and traffic routes in the East Coast for the foreseeable future. “It’s not going to get fixed any time soon,” Mezzacappa said. “It’s going to take a lot longer than anyone expects. This is going to be a major problem for the Northeast.”

Remember the American spirit

I am absolutely sick to death of all of these stories that say things like that. Have we forgotten who we are? Have we forgotten what we’ve done?

Let me remind you of the American spirit, a spirit so potent and so vibrant that it has scaled towering mountains, mountains nobody thought they could cross.

It’s the spirit that constructed marvels of engineering. Have you ever been to the Hoover Dam? Have you seen the New York City skyline? The skyscraper was invented here for a reason. Here we are on the threshold of tomorrow, and none of us knows what is going to happen. But I'm getting the impression that we’ve been so beaten down that we believe we’re not going to make it tomorrow.

Have we forgotten who our ancestors are and what they did? If you look through our history even briefly, you will see a group of people who never take no for an answer. You will see a people who can do anything.


I want to stop just briefly in 1930. The Great Depression had its icy grip on us. It was a time that felt like a flickering candle in the vast darkness just barely holding on. Yet, it was in this crucible of adversity that Americans did great things.

The Empire State Building rose. It wasn’t just a structure of steel and stone. It was a beacon, a beacon of hope and American resilience and ingenuity. The way that thing was built — no one has ever seen anything like it before and since. In a record-shattering one year and 45 days, an army of workers, as many as 3,400 men on certain days, transformed this audacious vision into a cowering reality.

If you look through our history even briefly, you will see a group of people who never take no for an answer.

The Empire State Building wasn’t constructed. It was conjured into existence with a symphony of clanging metal and roaring machines and the inexhaustible spirit of its builders. The men perched on steel girders that were being flown in by giant cranes whispered tales about how they could still feel the warmth of the freshly poured metal beneath them. That beam was still warm, even though it was poured in Pittsburgh, put on a train, then put on a boat, then on a truck, then hauled up into the air.

They could fill the warmth because we moved that fast. It was a feverish pace of construction. It seemed to defy the laws of time and physics.

For a long time, it was the tallest building in the world — an architectural achievement. It was also a declaration to the world that America was a land where the impossible became possible, that we are a people of determination, innovation, with a relentless will to succeed.

These aren't merely historical footnotes. They are blazing torches illuminating our path forward. They remind us that when we're faced with adversity, we don't just endure it. We overcome it. We don’t wait for history to chart our course. We write it with the sweat of our brow and the strength of our backs. That’s who we are. Have we forgotten that?

What are we waiting for?

We find ourselves at another crossroads faced with the challenges that threaten to dim the bright future that we all dream for our nation, for our children. The spirit that built the Empire State Building, laid down miles of railroads, cut through the Rocky Mountains, and sent astronauts to the moon is still inside of every heart of every American, somewhere.

Awaken that spirit. Scale new mountains. It's not just rock and earth. Scale the mountains of innovation. Build. Not just physical structures but a future that upholds the spirit of adventure, hard work, and ingenuity. Stop tearing everything down. Let's start building.

Why are we waiting? If this isn't a national emergency, I don't know what it is.

And I don't just mean the bridge. I mean all of it. You might say, “Well, our government has to lead.” Really? Does it? Maybe that’s our problem. America is led by its values and principles that are found in the souls of those who still remember who we are and who we serve. Americans lead the way. The government always follows.

You might say again, "Well, we can’t act without the government." Nonsense! Where are the bridge builders who will stand up today and say, “I'll get it done!” As soon as that happens, you’ll see who is leading and who is stalling. The government is the one that stalls the engine out. To expect more from our leaders is rational. But to expect the most from ourselves is essential.

There is nothing we can't achieve when we all stand together, united by our dreams, and driven by the will to see them fulfilled. Don't listen to anybody else who tells you differently.