In 1943, Vice President Henry Wallace published a book celebrating the coming "century of the common man." That century did not last very long. We have transitioned instead into the era of the clever man and clever woman. We have revised our institutions, our programs, our rules in ways that offer profitable new chances to those with cultural know-how — and that inflict disastrous consequences on those who are overwhelmed by a world of ever-more-abundant and ever-more-risky choices.
We're not going to uninvent the no-money-down loan. Universities that receive applications from all over the planet cannot finance themselves like an old-fashioned state land-grant college. But we need to recognize that modern life is becoming steadily more dangerous for people prone to make bad choices.