Over 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees (over 8,000 of them have doctoral or professional degrees), along with over 80,000 bartenders, and over 18,000 parking lot attendants. All told, some 17,000,000 Americans with college degrees are doing jobs that the BLS says require less than the skill levels associated with a bachelor’s degree.I would make two caveats. One is that many of those college-educated bartenders and waitresses are recent graduates who may one day have managerial jobs. Many Americans in their twenties have trouble finding jobs that put their educations to use, and they hold menial jobs for a while before going to professional school or moving into professional work. And, you know, there are lots of managerial jobs in the restaurant, hospitality and retail industries, and some of my acquaintances who went to work in stores or restaurants found that they were soon promoted into management, no doubt in part because of their degrees.
Second, Vedder seems to assume that the only reason to go to college is to get a professional job. Certainly this is why many or even most students go to college, but there are still a few people out there who want to learn about the world regardless of whether the knowledge ever serves any professional purpose.
As a matter of national economic policy, we may be over-investing in higher education, but as human beings I don't think we can ever learn too much.