Magazine | August 15, 2011, Issue


Hazardous to Your Freedom

Regarding Daniel Foster’s “Smoke Alarm” (July 18): If the nanny state’s real objective is to scare a significant number of smokers into stopping puffing, let me suggest a warning for the cigarette package that will truly terrorize: “As much as half of the money you paid for these cigarettes will fund the salaries of people who know what is best for you, and will devise ways to make you do it for your own good.”

David K. Hackley

Minneapolis, Minn.

Tax Breaks for Rich Liberals

Regarding Kevin A. Hassett’s “Tax Breaks for the (Democratic) Rich” (July 18), I’m surprised National Review would publish a report on such a shoddy analysis. Would anyone dispute that homes in Maryland, California, Connecticut, Virginia, and New Jersey are more costly than homes in Arkansas, Mississippi, West Virginia, and the Dakotas? It stands to reason that a greater mortgage value at an identical interest rate would result in a greater dollar benefit.

In the interest of a fair analysis, percentages should have been used, as in analyzing tax-rate reductions.

Alan R. Fedele

Via e-mail

Kevin A. Hassett Replies: This letter seems to miss the point, so let me humbly restate it.

The benefits of tax reform are beyond dispute. Yet while Democrats often talk a good game, advocating a broader base and lower tax rates in the abstract, they always seem to abandon ship when reform is sighted. The fact that two of the largest base-narrowing measures (the mortgage-interest deduction and the state-and-local-income-tax deduction) disproportionately benefit Democrats is probably the best explanation available for this behavior.

Yes, liberals tend to live in areas that are more densely populated and have higher property values. That’s why they defend the mortgage-interest deduction to the death.


Maggie Gallagher’s “Gay Old Party?” (August 1) asserted that conservative donor Paul Singer funds The Weekly Standard. He does not.

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

In This Issue



Politics & Policy

Obama’s Nemesis

Washington, D.C. — Across the rotunda, Sen. Harry Reid, a 71-year-old Democrat, is grumbling about Rep. Eric Cantor, the House majority leader. The previous evening, Cantor, a boyish Virginia Republican, ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Faraway, So Close

Whether or not the late Mexican military ruler Porfirio Díaz (1830–1915) ever actually said, “Poor Mexico! So far from God and so close to the United States,” his alleged quip ...
Politics & Policy

Songs and Tanks

Last month, a singer named Ibrahim Kashush was leading crowds in Syria. They were demonstrating against the dictatorship and for democracy and freedom. Kashush entertained, inspired, and delighted them with ...


Politics & Policy


  ON A THEME OF D’ALIBRAY Such a fine day rides on the soft air, Laura, please pay heed to the new season, That laughs at the clear sky and sings of love: Spring is ...
Happy Warrior

How Weird How Soon?

From London’s Daily Mail: “Scientists have created more than 150 human-animal hybrid embryos in British laboratories.”     You don’t say. Now why would they do that? Don’t worry, it’s all perfectly legit, ...
Politics & Policy


Hazardous to Your Freedom Regarding Daniel Foster’s “Smoke Alarm” (July 18): If the nanny state’s real objective is to scare a significant number of smokers into stopping puffing, let me suggest ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Mr. Strauss-Kahn seems quite well qualified to be prime minister — of Italy.  ‐ Rep. Michele Bachmann and former governor Tim Pawlenty, both Minnesotans, have been trading jabs as they ...
The Long View

TO: Studio Personnel

TO: Studio Personnel FROM: Production RE: Captain America This weekend’s excellent box-office grosses for Captain America have been incredibly gratifying. The movie is performing very well nationally, and we’re on track for another ...

Statism Down Our Throats

People who see everything as a problem to be solved by the application of exquisitely calibrated governmental force remind you of the maxim: When all you have is a hammer, ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Hillary Ruins the Plan

Editor’s note: Andrew C. McCarthy’s new book is Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency. This is the first in a series of excerpts.  There really was a collusion plot. It really did target our election system. It absolutely sought to usurp our capacity for ... Read More
Economy & Business

The Great Mystery

Kevin Williamson disputes my characterization of his riposte. He writes: I wrote that people can choose what kind of work they want to do, and what kind of services they want to consume, without any help from Michael. Kevin then accuses me of being a stouthearted defender of the “Real America.” If ... Read More

Another Pop-Culture Christian Loses His Faith

It’s happened again. For the second time in three weeks, a prominent (at least in Evangelical circles) Christian has renounced his faith. In July, it was Josh Harris, a pastor and author of the mega-best-selling purity-culture book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. This month, it’s Hillsong United songwriter and ... Read More

‘Good Verse, Bad Verse, and Chaos’

I love reading Sarah Ruden, and I’ve enjoyed the attention given to Walt Whitman in these pages over the last few days. Ruden gives the poet the back of her hand for being championed by — angels and ministers of grace, defend us! — intellectuals and professors, a poet “whom ordinary Americans most ... Read More