Pushing for more college education won't reduce unemployment or cure the country's income inequality, Dan Indiviglio wrote in summarizing this paper by Lawrence Mishel of the Economics Policy Institute.
They're mostly right. The most important thing raising unemployment is soft demand, and the most important thing raising income inequality is massive wealth accumulation at the top, which is best illustrated by this graph showing the rise in earnings among the top tenth of a percent outstripping the 99th percentile by a factor of six:
But I don't want you to walk away from Larry's good research thinking that college is losing its luster. Far from it: The recession has magnified the primacy of a college education.
If you want to understand the education premium in one image, it might be this chart that breaks down unemployment and salary in 2009 by education level. The implication is crystal clear: Learn more, earn more. The more education you have attained, the more likely you are to be employed and earn a higher salary. (Of course, there are underlying variables. It's also true that the more money your family makes, the more likely you are to finish college, earn more money, find employment..)