Alumni Notes: July/August 2021

(The following class notes were written and submitted for the July/August print edition before the controversy erupted over the election for the Yale Corporation. There will be comment on that, if warranted, in the fall—Bob Semple)

It is not the easiest thing to convert one’s career experiences into a productive post-retirement sequel; for that reason, among others, some of us choose to do something entirely different when we leave the workaday world. But Alex Boyle has found a way, combining his knowledge as a successful banker (Vice Chairman of the Chevy Chase Bank) and his long association with the non-partisan Tax Policy Center to create an interesting afterlife as an opinion writer, usually on economic issues, on the Op-Ed page of the Baltimore Sun.

One of his pieces, published Jan 15 and easily retrieved via Google, may well have important real-world consequences. The piece advertised the work Charles Rossotti, a former commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, who has done ground-breaking research on what he calls the “tax gap” — namely, the enormous difference, estimated at about $600 billion a year, between what people and businesses owe in taxes and what they actually pay. By reforming and greatly strengthening the IRA, Rossotti and Alex believe, and simply collecting taxes that are legally due, we can do a lot to resolve the country’s fiscal mess. Alex’s piece was followed by a lead editorial in the New York Times and articles in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. The Biden folks, notably Janet Yellen, are paying attention. Alex tells me that he is a bit less concerned about the deficits and debt accumulation as he normally would be because of the money to address both is there if we enhance the technology and rebuild the staff of a decimated IRS. “It’s the upper income folks who are doing the cheating on a massive scale, ” Alex says. “Rossotti deserves the Nobel Prize for surfacing this issue and laying out a strategy to deal with it.”

Jim Lineberger is one of my oldest friends. And one of the most successful, as a whip-smart investor. And one of the bravest. Despite progressive and crippling Parkinson’s (one of the scourges of our generation), he managed with the help of a wheelchair and his wife MJ to make it to our 60th Reunion. And one of the most generous, having given copiously to Yale for various good things. But there was one such gift I knew nothing about, until Yale sent me a notification, namely the James E. Lineberger Scholarship Fund. There were two recipients this year: Maxine Mackie, a sophomore majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology, and Samuel Harshe, a first-year student whose major is undeclared. Do I detect a Michigan bias? I do. Maxine is from Dearborn, Samuel from Dexter. Fine with me. That’s where Jim’s from, and that’s where I’m from. Go Blue!

Two book notes. Davis Fogg’s “Jazzman,” mentioned here before, is now available on Amazon for a come-hither $12. Davis was the trumpeter in the Shire-Fogg quintet during our time at Yale. Karl Norton, something of a math genius at Yale, with advanced degrees from Chicago and Illinois University, now retired in Maine, has written and published a novel enticingly titled “Betrayal 101: A College Saga.” In a nutshell, it tells the story of a young mathematician whose college teaching career is threatened by student complaints and lies about his teaching and grading. Karl says the book was the most difficult project of his life and is loosely based on his own experience, and includes some “shocking factual material.” It, too, can be found on Amazon.

The alumni records office has just informed me that Bill Hardie, who received a BA from Yale and a law degree from Virginia, passed away in 2019. Bill practiced briefly in New York at Davis, Polk before leaving for Mobile, Alabama, where he spent the rest of his professional career at Johnstone, Adams. The Mobile newspapers describe him as a man of many talents and great energy, with interests ranging from religion to flying to scuba diving, and also a very good lawyer. Survivors include his wife Alix, two sons and daughter. He is buried at the Hardie Family Cemetery, Thornhill Farm, Talledega.

Bill Fleig died in January at his home in Libertyville, Il. Active in his community and his congregation in Vernon Hills, Bill, a French major at Yale, was an editor of foreign language textbooks at Scott Foresman and Co. for more than 30 years. His wife, Rosemary, predeceased him in 2017. He is survived by two sons.