FANTASTIC article by Adam Davidson, who I became familiar with mainly from his contributions to the NPR podcast, PLANET MONEY. Like a lot of the most accessible information out there about economics, reading critically is necessary to avoid getting hoodwinked by free market capitalist or consumerist or neo-liberal bias. But here as in his reporting elsewhere, Davidson manages to lay out a LOT of very useful economics facts and analysis with minimal apparent bias. Great read.
I found the historical bits about why public university systems are generally stronger in the southeast and west compared to the northeast (where all the Ivies are) particularly enlightening. SPOILER ALERT: private schools apparently lobbied against state support for higher education back when these systems were being set up in the Northeast.