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The Fair Tax will expire in seven years if the 16th Amendment is not repealed.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

Nothing better illustrates the sheer irrationality of the national furor over the religious-freedom law passed by Indiana than the absence of a national furor over the religious-freedom law passed by ...
Politics & Policy

Hillary, Herself

Every Mystery Machine must have its Velma. You’ll remember Velma Dinkley, the grim-faced young fogey of the Scooby-Doo gang: turtleneck and knee socks, orange; pleated skirt and pumps, red; spectacle lenses ...


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 ...
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 ...

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


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 ...
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 ...

Most Popular

White House

For Democrats, the Party’s Over

If the Democrats are really tempted by impeachment, bring it on. Since the day after the 2016 election they have been threatening this, placing their chips on the Russian-collusion fantasy and then on the phantasmagoric charade of obstruction of justice. The attorney general accurately gave the ingredients of the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Worst Cover-Up of All Time

President Donald Trump may be guilty of many things, but a cover-up in the Mueller probe isn’t one of them. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, attempting to appease forces in the Democratic party eager for impeachment, is accusing him of one, with all the familiar Watergate connotations. The charge is strange, ... Read More
PC Culture

TV Before PC

Affixing one’s glance to the rear-view mirror is usually as ill-advised as staring at one’s own reflection. Still, what a delight it was on Wednesday to see a fresh rendition of “Those Were the Days,” from All in the Family, a show I haven’t watched for nearly 40 years. This time it was Woody Harrelson ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Democrats’ Other Class War

There is a class war going on inside the Democratic party. Consider these two cris de couer: Writing in the New York Times under the headline “America’s Cities Are Unlivable — Blame Wealthy Liberals,” Farhad Manjoo argues that rich progressives have, through their political domination of cities such as ... Read More