Yeah, it seems to me that we have done a few things that make young people's lives a bit worse:
First, we have this credential inflation going on, where businesses are requiring four-year degrees for jobs that might have only needed two-year degrees or even just high school just a few decades ago. Being a secretary or file clerk or whatever hasn't become more difficult, but for some reason we now expect applicants to have a degree?
Second, the cost of college has blasted off way above the rate of inflation. Some people say that's because of the availability of education loans, and maybe that's right; I don't know. But the value proposition changes as college becomes more and more ridiculously expensive.
Third, we seem to like to tell kids that they can do whatever they want, be whatever they want to be, and everything in their lives will work out. Realistically, why does my university even offer a BA degree in theatre? It's not a well-known program; there are no well-known professors; there are very few famous graduates. I doubt if 10% of the program's graduates wind up working in theatre.
It is a disservice to our undergrads to represent programs like this as good preparation for a job in their chosen field. But I'd say that as long as we make that clear, that what those students are really getting is bit of socialization and practice at working and managing their lives, combined with a BA degree that may get them past the first cut at HR for a somewhat menial job, then we have warned them enough.
What I'd really like to see is a significant paring down of the diversity of undergraduate degrees. I think there's too much specialization, especially in liberal arts and social sciences (of what practical use is an undergraduate degree in, say, psychology, if one doesn't plan on going to grad school?).