I think there's truth in both these points. That is, some of the vast difference in unemployment between college graduates and those without right now is just due to hiring managers (who are largely college graduates) being more comfortable with the sort of person who has gone to college. Part is due to the more advanced skills required in the modern American economy.
Regardless, this bad recession has dramatically underscored the value of college experience as an important thing for someone who places even a mild value on lifestyle security. Or to put it another way, it is a huge risk to bet that in the future, college experience will stop being seen as important. You might be right. But if you aren't, and you experience misfortune, your expectations are going to be much better with a college degree to wave around than without.