Magazine | May 4, 2015, Issue


Learning from Dorothy

Jay Nordlinger’s piece on Dorothy L. Sayers (“Sing It, Dorothy”) in the April 6 issue of National Review spoke to my heart. More than a decade ago I read her 1947 essay “The Lost Tools of Learning,” and was inspired and emboldened to home-educate my children using the classical method that she advocated. They are now in a public high school pursuing the modern-day quadrivium, but they are benefitting from the solid foundation they received. The classical paradigm that we followed has taught them to be independent and thoughtful learners who easily see connections as well as fallacies. Dorothy L. Sayers is one of my heroines and I thank National Review and Jay Nordlinger for aiming the spotlight on her.

Susan Gibbs de San Martin

Ossining, New York

Taxation without Ratiocination

In “The Taxman Endureth” (April 20), Patrick Brennan criticized Senator Ted Cruz for promising to abolish the IRS. Mr. Brennan’s criticism is correct as long as we have any form of income tax, flat or not.

Fortunately, Senator Cruz is a co-sponsor of the Fair Tax (H.R. 25, S. 155), which actually abolishes federal income, payroll, business, gift, and estate taxes and the IRS. The states will collect a national retail sales tax and the Social Security Administration will issue a monthly rebate to all legal residents ($226 per adult, $79 per child, indexed to inflation) in order to un-tax spending up to the federal poverty level. The rebate also makes this consumption tax “progressive.”

The Fair Tax will expire in seven years if the 16th Amendment is not repealed. This is to avoid having a national sales tax in addition to the taxes it replaces.

Mr. Cruz, et al., tear down this tax code.

Jim Stehr

Atlantic Beach, Fla.

Patrick Brennan responds: As I noted in my piece, Cruz has indeed at times supported a state-administered sales tax, known as the Fair Tax, that would replace the federal income tax. Such a system would allow massively reducing the involvement of the federal government in tax collection, in a way that a flat income tax would not. But Senator Cruz’s campaign says he isn’t running on the idea right now. Moving toward a consumption tax is appealing, but as I wrote, the Fair Tax has huge problems of its own. For one, systems work best when incentives are aligned, as they rarely are in government. The Fair Tax, in order to get rid of the federal tax-collection bureaucracy, ignores this, and relies on states’ doing a decent job of collecting tax revenue for the federal government, under a system that impinges on what’s traditionally a source of state revenue (sales taxes). This is a big enough problem to make this elegant-sounding Fair Tax idea a bad one, in the view of many tax experts.

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

In This Issue


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Hillary, Herself

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John Doe’s Tyranny

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Drydock Time

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Books, Arts & Manners

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Bold Fusion

By the second page of the introduction, I knew I would like this book. American conservatism is “marked by its unorthodoxy and its radicalism,” observes the British-born National Review writer ...
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Genres without Borders

Everything changed in 1922. Until then, novelists were novelists. End of story. So to speak. Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, and Emily Brontë wrote beautiful, moving narratives that examined the relationships between men ...
Politics & Policy

Way to Live

‘Strength and gentleness go hand in hand.” That’s one of the lessons Dana Perino learned from her grandfather early on, living the ranching life in Wyoming. Her new book is ...


Politics & Policy


Learning from Dorothy Jay Nordlinger’s piece on Dorothy L. Sayers (“Sing It, Dorothy”) in the April 6 issue of National Review spoke to my heart. More than a decade ago I ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ In the tense negotiations over a nuclear deal with Iran, Obama swore he would make no concessions to America’s most dangerous enemy. Unfortunately for him, Congress held firm. ‐ Farmer’s ...

Rand’s Riposte

Hillary is running for president, a turn of events so shocking you could knock me over with a feather or a dossier of her Senate accomplishments. Expect the press to ...
Politics & Policy


FOR MARIA SHARAPOVA Harder, harder, harder — slam the ball Down through the claws of those opposing hands. The prince and duchess, present in the stands, Will soon invite you into Anmer Hall. They recognize ...
Happy Warrior

Who Is for Hillary

Below, for posterity, a partial list of the things that happened in the first 24 hours of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign: Clinton’s announcement, the circumstances of which she had nearly ...

Most Popular

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Ten Questions for the ‘Squad’

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The Rise of the Chinese-American Right

On June 13, during a nasty storm, a group of Chinese New Yorkers gathered in front of the gates of Gracie Mansion, the New York mayor’s residence on the Upper East Side, to protest. Inside, Mayor Bill de Blasio was meeting with two dozen or so representatives of the Asian-American community to discuss his ... Read More

Who Is Boris Johnson?

By next week at this time, Boris Johnson will be prime minister of the United Kingdom. Not since Margaret Thatcher has such an outsized personality resided in Number 10 Downing Street. Not since Winston Churchill has such a wit presided over Her Majesty’s Government. Wit is actually the chief reason for ... Read More

How Beto Made Himself into White-Privilege Guy

Robert Francis O’Rourke is white. If it’s any consolation, he’s very sorry about that. “Beto” has been running from his Irish ancestry for some time now. Long before the Left fell headlong into the logical termini of its triune fascination with race, power, and privilege, O’Rourke sensed that there ... Read More