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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.


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

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