Economics We Can All Understand

In the fall of 1985, I was a college freshman at a no-name state school in the Pacific Northwest. Tuition was $404 a quarter, or $1,212 a year (fall, winter, and spring). I could—and did—earn enough money in one summer to pay for tuition, room and board (around $2,500 annually at the time), and books for an entire year.

I just looked up the tuition rates at my alma mater: $2,457 a quarter. That’s $7,371 a year. Add the current room and board rate—$9,342—plus about $1,000 for books, and…

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