I agree with most of what you say. Based upon my observations, it's natural intelligence, and a desire to be correct,that is more important than a degree. I would say that 90% of all jobs only need an 8th grade level of education( basic reading writing and arithmetic). Sh*t, in nearby Detroit where only 25% of students graduate high school, they can fill all the jobs they need because the kids have a natural intelligence, and can be trained in a few weeks to pickup things. For instance, on a tool setting control, they don't need to know what cm means, just put marks on the scale with a marker pen and tell them " put it on marker 1 for this task and marker 2 for that task".
The other 10% of jobs go to the people who know how to make the marks, or design and develop the tools. But how many of those people do you really need? We are graduating so many useless college graduates( who all expect cushy high paid jobs), that the old saying is now true...."too many chiefs and not enough indians". This is creating a corporate welfare class, where they are hired into meaningless positions, and do not earn their high salaries.
It reminds me of what happened in France about 20 years ago, IIRC. They said they were going to limit the number of Phd candidates admitted each year, because there were too many already.