We need a return to the way things were. The truth is that things are opposite now - back then, when degrees were scarce, you could waltz into a job in your field (specifically white-collar). Nowadays, I would honestly tell new high school grads not to go to college. Enter the workplace right now, especially in a high-demand field. Find something that you can work up to. Preferably something that offers a paid internship if possible, and do that full time.
Employers today are not the same as they once were. If two people walk into an office trying for the same job - one with a high school diploma and four years experience, and one with a bachelor's degree with no experience - the guy with 4 years working experience will get hired every single time out of the gate. Smart money these days go to those who graduate, get vocational experience, get a name for themselves in the working world, then perhaps go to school part-time on their own time while they continue to work - even if this means taking 6 or 7 years for a 4 year degree. They will be infinitely better off to climb the ladder than the wet-behind-the-ears college grad looking to cash in on an education most employers don't value, demanding a higher salary because they have 50 or 75 grand worth of loans to pay off.
It's a frustrating time we live in.