We are applauding the ‘gift’ of an affordable education. Something has gone wrong.
Around the turn of the last century, the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie paid to build 1,689 libraries across the United States. Many are still in use, celebrated as monumental works of philanthropy.
They should be seen as monuments to the failure of public policy. The United States could have built a lot more libraries by taxing the incomes of Carnegie and his fellow Gilded Age plutocrats, but, at the turn of the last century, there was no federal income tax.