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The Fair Tax will expire in seven years if the 16th Amendment is not repealed.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


Politics & Policy

The RFRA Furor

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Politics & Policy

Hillary, Herself

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Politics & Policy

John Doe’s Tyranny

‘They came with a battering ram.” Cindy Archer, one of the lead architects of Wisconsin’s Act 10 — also called the “Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill,” it limited public-employee benefits and altered ...
Politics & Policy

Drydock Time

A battle of the hawks is raging on Capitol Hill. Defense hawks say the nation’s security will be endangered if the caps imposed under the 2011 Budget Control Act aren’t ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

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 ...
Politics & Policy

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


‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’

It was just one more segment to fill out the hour, and thereby fill the long 24 hours of Saturday’s cable news on November 2. Or so it seemed. Navy SEAL Mike Ritland was on the Fox News program Watters World to talk to Jesse Watters about trained German shepherds like the one used in the raid that found ... Read More
Film & TV

The Manly Appeal of Ford v Ferrari

There used to be a lot of overlap between what we think of as a Hollywood studio picture (designed to earn money) and an awards movie (designed to fill the trophy case, usually with an accompanying loss of money). Ford v Ferrari is a glorious throwback to the era when big stars did quality movies about actual ... Read More
Politics & Policy

ABC Chief Political Analyst: GOP Rep. Stefanik a ‘Perfect Example’ of the Failures of Electing Someone ‘Because They Are a Woman’

Matthew Dowd, chief political analyst for ABC News, suggested that Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) was elected due to her gender after taking issue with Stefanik's line of questioning during the first public impeachment hearing on Wednesday. “Elise Stefanik is a perfect example of why just electing ... Read More
White House

Impeachment and the Broken Truce

The contradiction at the center of American politics in Anno Domini 2019 is this: The ruling class does not rule. The impeachment dog-and-pony show in Washington this week is not about how Donald Trump has comported himself as president (grotesquely) any more than early convulsions were about refreshed ... Read More

What Happened to California Republicans?

From 1967 to 2019, Republicans controlled the California governorship for 31 of 52 years. So why is there currently not a single statewide Republican officeholder? California also has a Democratic governor and Democratic supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature. Only seven of California’s 53 ... Read More