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The Fair Tax will expire in seven years if the 16th Amendment is not repealed.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