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Strange Things in the Precious Metals
Issue #531, July 17, 2018

Buying Years of Retirement
Issue #530, July 09, 2018

Rent-A-Kid for Retirement
Issue #529, July 02, 2018

The Dark Side of Student Loans
Issue #528, June 25, 2018

The Cost of Out-sourcing Convenience
Issue #527, June 18, 2018

Social Security: 66 or 70?
Issue #526, June 11, 2018

Student Loans: There’s (Unfortunately) a Lot More!
Issue #525, June 04, 2018

Co-signing a Note
Issue #524A, May 31, 2018

The Knight Frank Luxury Index and Collectables
Issue #524, May 28, 2018

The Importance of Diversification: The Myth of Diversification
Issue #523, May 21, 2018

How to Save Thousands on Your Food Bill
Issue #522, May 14, 2018

MoviePass and Other Things
Issue #521A, May 10, 2018

Degree Inflation, Long Training Periods, and “Certification”  Part III
Issue #521, May 07, 2018

Degree Inflation, Long Training Periods, and Certification” Part II of III
Issue #520, April 30, 2018

Follow-up on Several Things
Issue #519A, April 25, 2018

Degree Inflation, Long Training Periods, and “Certification”: Part I of II
Issue #519, April 23, 2018

The Kids Birthday Party Hustle
Issue #518A, April 18, 2018

A Pension Question: Part II of II
Issue #518, April 16, 2018

A Physician is an Executive
Issue #517A, April 11, 2018

A Pension Question: Part I of II
Issue #517, April 09, 2018

Is the Correction Over?
Issue #516A, April 05, 2018

Used Car Dealers, Student Loans, the Chinese, and Uncle George’s Rule
Issue #516, April 02, 2018

Starter Homes
Issue #515, March 26, 2018

Redecorating: Beware!
Issue #514, March 19, 2018

NASDAQ Closes at Record High
Issue #513, March 12, 2018

A 40% Chance
Issue #512, March 05, 2018

Several Things
Issue #511, February 27, 2018

Human Capital, Education and Wealth
Issue #510, February 19, 2018

Another Stock Market Update
Issue #509A, February 18, 2018

Some Thoughts on Savings
Issue #509, February 12, 2018

A Stock Market Upfate
Issue #508S, February 10, 2018

Who Can You Trust? Part II of II
Issue #508, February 05, 2018

The Christmas Decoration Pre-worn Jeans Hustle
Issue #Interim Bulletin #507A, February 03, 2018

2018 Outlook for Financial Markets
Issue #507, January 29, 2018

Who Can You Trust? Part I of II
Issue #506, January 22, 2018

Life Insurance Settlements
Issue #505, January 15, 2018

Commodities and Buying the Breakout
Issue #504, January 08, 2018

Buffett Wins His Bet
Issue #503A, January 04, 2018

Practice Real Estate and Free Agency
Issue #503, January 01, 2018

Outlook for 2018: Part III: Stocks and Bonds
Issue #502, December 25, 2017

My Outlook for 2018: Part Ii: Precious Metals
Issue #501A, December 21, 2017

Outlook for 2018: Hard Assets: Part I of III
Issue #501, December 18, 2017

More Thoughts on Bitcoin
Issue #500A, December 14, 2017

Fees and Good Relations with Bankers
Issue #500, December 11, 2017

Salvator Mundi
Issue #499A, December 07, 2017

Should You Rent or Own a Home?
Issue #499, December 04, 2017

A Gift Subscription
Issue #Interim Bulletin #498A, December 02, 2017

Stocks vs Real Estate: Asset Allocation: Part II of II
Issue #498, November 27, 2017

When Good Enough is Fine
Issue #497A, November 22, 2017

Stocks vs Real Estate: Asset Allocation. Part I of II
Issue #497, November 20, 2017

The Saudi Arrests and the Perils of Foreign Investing
Issue #496, November 13, 2017

Gambling and Las Vegas
Issue #495, November 06, 2017

Some Tips on Auto Insurance
Issue #494, October 31, 2017

Bitcoin and the Digital (Crypto) Currencies
Issue #493, October 23, 2017

The Coming Bear Market: Part II How to Prepare
Issue #492, October 16, 2017

Some Observations on Cemeteries
Issue #Interim Bulletin #491A, October 12, 2017

The Coming Bear Market: Part I: The Myth of Buy and Hold Forever
Issue #491, October 09, 2017

The Market makes New Highs
Issue #490, October 02, 2017

The Importance of a New High
Issue #489, September 25, 2017

A Little Insurance: Wealth, War and Wisdom
Issue #488, September 18, 2017

Some Observations
Issue #487, September 11, 2017

How to be Successful in Your Career
Issue #486A, September 07, 2017

How NOT to Buy a Home
Issue #486, September 04, 2017

This Week in the Market
Issue #485, August 28, 2017

Is the “Trump Bump” Running Out of Gas?
Issue #484, August 21, 2017

Gold is on the Move
Issue #483, August 14, 2017

The Importance of Estimation
Issue #482, August 07, 2017

Buying Art and Collecting: Part II of II
Issue #481, July 31, 2017

Buying Art and Collecting in General, Part I of II
Issue #480, July 24, 2017

Physicians need to be More Forceful: Follow-up
Issue #479, July 17, 2017

Physicians need to be More Forceful
Issue #478, July 10, 2017

Your First “Real” Investment
Issue #477, July 03, 2017

Leasing a Watch: Don’t
Issue #476, June 26, 2017

The Importance of Your Children having a Job
Issue #475, June 16, 2017

The Problem with Medical Student Debt is—the Med Schools
Issue #474, June 12, 2017

Critters and Varmints in your Home and Yard
Issue #473A, June 07, 2017

Leveraged ETFs
Issue #472, May 29, 2017

Leasing a Vehicle: Don’t!
Issue #471, May 22, 2017

Issue #470, May 15, 2017

More on Buying Jewelry
Issue #469, May 08, 2017

Buying Jewelry: Gold, Diamonds and Pearls
Issue #468, April 30, 2017

Thomas Sowell: Part III of III
Issue #467, April 24, 2017

Thomas Sowell: Pat II of III
Issue #466, April 17, 2017

Live Close to Where You Work
Issue #465, April 10, 2017

Medtronic in Hospital Management
Issue #Interim Bulletin #464A, April 07, 2017

Thomas Sowell: Part I of II
Issue #464, April 03, 2017

A Political Contribution a an Investment: Part II of II
Issue #463, March 27, 2017

A Political Contribution as an Investment: Part I of II
Issue #462, March 20, 2017

Buffett Selling Vacation Home
Issue #461, March 13, 2017

Advanced Placement (AP) ourses
Issue #460, March 06, 2017

The Importance of a Credit History
Issue #459A, March 02, 2017

A Credit Card Scam
Issue #459, February 27, 2017

The Electronic Health Reord
Issue #458, February 20, 2017

Issue #457, February 13, 2017

Platinum and Palladium
Issue #456, February 06, 2017

Economic Outlook for 2017: Part II of II
Issue #455A, February 02, 2017

Economic Outlook for 2017: Part I of II
Issue #455, January 30, 2017

A Story From Vegas
Issue #454A, January 25, 2017

Land Donation Deals and the IRS
Issue #454, January 23, 2017

The Theory of Gambler’s Ruin
Issue #453, January 16, 2017


By Robert M. Doroghazi, M.D., F.A.C.C.

Degree Inflation, Long Training Periods, and “Certification”: Part I of II

Issue #519, April 23, 2018

    These are two of the most important Newsletters of the year. They start a little slowly, but finish with a bang, more like Tchaikovsky’s “Marche Slave” than von Weber’s “Invitation to the Dance”.
    There was an Op/Ed in The Wall Street Journal (4/3/18) entitled “Degree Inflation and Discrimination”.  It notes employers are now demanding higher level degrees for jobs that previously didn’t require them, and employees without the degrees are currently performing the jobs quite well, but wouldn’t qualify for the job if they had to reapply. 
    There was subsequently an interview in the WSJ (4/14-15) entitled “School is Expensive. Is It Worth It?” with Bryan Caplan, author of The Case Against Education: Why the Educational System Is a Waste of Time and Money. Caplan notes that, in general, the more education, the higher earnings power. But! There are different payoffs. Specialized skills, like an engineering degree, are worth more than one in philosophy or the fine arts. He makes an analogy to a diamond. A rough stone is cut by an expert gem smith: Through their expertise, value has been added. Another man then certifies it as AAA. No value has been added, the gem is the same. But now it’s certified!
    That is the point I will discuss: employers are requiring more “certification”, letters behind your name, Board certification, courses to maintain certification, but is value really being added?  Let’s look at how this has affected the two areas we are most familiar with: Nursing and Medicine.
    In bygone times, the vast majority of RNs were the product of Diploma programs. The nursing schools were typically associated with a large hospital, such as Deaconess in St Louis or the Peter Bent Brigham in Boston. Diploma programs were generally 3 years in duration and turned out quality nurses, who provided the best of patient care. In the 70s and 80s, there was a move that RNs become Degree graduates of colleges and universities. The result is that it now requires a minimum of 4 years to educate an RN (with the accompanying student debt, and loss of a year of earning power, a swing of at least $60K). A very few Diploma programs, such as Bishop Clarkson School of Nursing in Omaha, recognized the trend, and converted to a college with Degree grads, or affiliated with a university. The rest of the Diploma schools are history.
    During the extra year in school, the Degree RNs take regular college courses such as Algebra, American History, Psychology, Music Appreciation, Computer Science and English Composition. They now have a BSN—they are “certified”—but does this make them better Nurses?  Remember Father Guido Sarducci on SNL? He proposed the “Five Minute University”, because 5 minutes of knowledge is all the average college grad remembers 5 years later.
    Let’s look at a specific situation. I know a Diploma RN in her late 50s. She has worked on a cardiology floor, in the Intensive Care Unit, was a supervisor in the cardiac cath lab, did a stint with a pacemaker company, and now holds a non-patient care position that requires considerable expertise. Say her current employer goes out of business and she is thrown back into the job market. Although she has more than 35 years of experience in many branches of nursing and, in my opinion, is smarter than more than a few physicians I know, she would no longer qualify for at least half of her previous positions. In fact, it is questionable that she would qualify for her current position.
    A whimsical example: Say the last Diploma nursing supervisor at a large hospital retires after 42 years of outstanding service. The next day the hospital puts out a press release. “All of our nursing supervisors have a BSN, and most have an MSN”.
    RMD comment: Well la-dee-da. They aren’t any smarter than they were the day before, but now they’re all “certified”.
    In the next Newsletter, I’ll discuss why this trend has occurred, the results of how this obsession with “certification” has changed the Medical profession, and how it has contributed to the explosion in student debt and is turning our young men and women intro professional students.     
    In my sci-fi, alternate history thriller The Alien’s Secret: Aliens have Changed Our History in Ways You Could Never Imagine, I have a piece where Moses tries to find a publisher for the Bible. Imagine Abe Lincoln applying for a mid-level managerial position at Acme Industrial Enterprises.
    Human Resources “Suit”: “Lincoln, how did you even get this interview? The post clearly says a Master’s Degree is required”.
    Lincoln: “Some friends lined it up for me”.
    HRS: “OK, yeah. I see your references here. Grant and Sherman. I heard of ‘em. But you only went to 2nd grade”.
    Lincoln: “I do have some previous executive experience”.
    HRS (looking over CV): “Yeah, President. Not bad. But you’re in office barely a month and war breaks out. You proud of that? We got a lot of Crimson Tide, Ole Miss, Seminole and Bulldog fans here. They’re not gonna’ be too happy about that”.
    Not helping Lincoln’s chances is that during the entire interview, HRS is humming Shirley Ellis 1964 song “The Name Game”.
    “Lincoln, Lincoln, bo-bincoln,
    Bonana-fanna fo-fincoln,
    Fee fi mo-mincoln,
    HRS repeats: “2nd grade?!”
    Lincoln: “It was a small school, but quite rigorous, and I read at least two to three hours a day on my own”.
    HRS: “Yeah, and I’ll bet you walked 5 miles barefoot through the snow to school, and both ways were up hill. And don’t tell me you split rales to make extra money”
    Lincoln: “Yes Sir, that’s correct”.
    HRS: “Honest Abe?? C’mon, I’ve heard that story before…pause…You look familiar. Have I seen you on ESPN? You’re pretty tall. Did you play basketball? Or did I see you on Facebook or LinkedIn?
    Lincoln reaches into his wallet, pulls out a crumpled $5 bill, and hands it to HRS.
    HRS: “Yeah, that’s it. I admit, that’s pretty cool” as he brushes a yellow magic marker across the bill to insure its authenticity, handing it back to Lincoln with a smile.
    HRS gets serious. “Look Lincoln. You’ve done some interesting things, and I do think you have potential, but you just got to get some letters behind your name. Sign up for some on-line courses. I suggest Public Speaking, American History, and especially English Composition. ‘Four score and seven years ago’. You’re gonna’ lose a lot of people real fast with that kind of mumbo-jumbo. Just say 87. And make sure you get some diversity training. Come back in 6 months and we’ll talk, OK?”
    There are a lot more things I want to mention, but I’ll put them in an Interim Bulletin to come out mid-week.

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