Add to that a crappy market where even secretary positions ask for college educations. Schools know how valuable their diplomas are, so they dangle them over our heads on a platinum barb.
The value of a college degree is decreasing as your two statements show. As more jobs require them, justified or not, more people will get the degree just to satisfy that job requirement. As more people do get it, the higher the degree level requirement will become since having say an undergraduate degree will no longer distinguish individual achievement. The cost will go even higher as higher levels of degree become the norm.