What we are trying to achieve is a page-level grid system ("guides" in Publisher) that is independent of specific text or graphic objects placed on the page.
The problem with a text-frame based guide model is that in many instances you need to align non-text items to the grid system. Images, graphic elements, marginalia, etc.
As with Indesign, there are some instances where a multi-column text box is useful. But there should 100% be a page-level grid/guide setting that allows the configuration of a user-defined number of columns with a user-defined gutter width, set within the margins of the page. Otherwise something as simple as a standard 12-column magazine grid becomes incredibly inefficient to set up or alter.