JOHN GAVER: THE INCOME TAX HAS TURNED THE IRS INTO A BEHEMOTH
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
John Gaver is one of the best tax specialists in USA. He is a public speaker, a special guest at radio and TV shows and the author of the book The Rich Don’t Pay Tax!… Or Do They? I was astonished by the level of info and professional insights John gave in his interview for the blog. So take your seat and enjoy!
– What is your last book The Rich Don’t Pay Tax!… Or Do They? about?
– This book begins by using actual IRS Collections Data (including URLs to download that data from the IRS website), to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt, which income groups actually pay what amount of the federal income tax load. Having established the undeniable existence of a huge disparity in tax collection across income groups, the book then leads the reader down a statistical and logical path, clearly demonstrating that this disparity in taxation is causing a serious, but almost un-noticed threat to our economy. This disparity is causing an alarming loss of tax revenue, investment income, and jobs in the USA. But not being one to predict gloom and doom, without also providing a workable solution, the author devotes the third section of the book, to laying out a solution that easily and fairly addresses the problems discussed earlier in the book.
Unlike most books on the subject of taxes or the economy, that can be understood only by policy wonks and PhD economists, “The Rich Don’t Pay Tax! …Or Do They?” doesn’t rely on vague economic theories or abstract terminology. Instead, it leads the reader, in plain english, through each step in the logical and statistical evidence, to a conclusion that becomes clear, once that evidence is uncovered and tied together.
– How you decide to write the story?
– I was born in the USA. Better yet, I had the enormous good fortune to be born in Texas. That means that I have two great reasons for wanting to stay right where I am. This leads to my reason for writing “The Rich Don’t Pay Tax! …Or Do They?”
You see, I must admit that the initial catalyst – the realization of fact that brought inspiration – for writing this book, was to a small degree, based on selfishness. Certainly, that selfishness was only a small part of my motivation. But that was the catalyst. It’s what started me thinking about the issues that would eventually become the subject of the book. The selfishness of which I speak, was based on my desire to spend the rest of my life living in the land of my birth.
I’ve traveled extensively overseas and even lived offshore for a time. In each case, I was glad to return to the USA. International travel is fun and I enjoy immersing myself in other cultures… for a while. But upon each return home, I was more convinced that Texas was where I really wanted to be. So imagine my distress when I realized that events were unfolding that might some day force me to permanently leave my beloved Texas and the USA.
In speaking with U.S. expatriates that I met in my travels abroad, I became aware that our most prolific taxpayers, investors, and job creators are leaving the USA at unprecedented rates and that this exodus is increasing geometrically. My concern was that when the people who pay the lion’s share of taxes leave, their portion of the tax load will fall to those of us who remain behind. From the moment that I first became aware of this issue, it appeared quite problematic. But the more research I did, the more I realized how bad the situation had already become and that nobody else was even talking about it. I found a solution. But few people were talking about it, either. I knew then that I had to write a book about this looming threat.
It was no longer about my own self interest. Although I prefer to remain in Texas and the USA, I know from experience that I can be quite comfortable in any of a number of nations. Furthermore, being aware of this threat to my retirement lifestyle, I have long since established an exit strategy, should it come to that. This book is for those who are not prepared to take such a drastic step – those who will see their taxes double, triple, or even worse, should the current trend continue.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Research, research, and let us not forget, research.
It appears almost as though the government doesn’t want the public knowing some of the information that I’ve uncovered. In fact, when you see some of that data, you’ll see why they might want to keep the voting public blind to some of these facts. They avoid having to respond to Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests, by publishing the data on the internet. But they put that data in places where even many of the most seasoned researchers can’t find it and when you ask where it is, they only give you a starting place and learn that the files aren’t indexed. This means that you have to download and open hundreds of files, to find the one that’s important.
Fortunately, I spent a number of years after graduating from college, running IT departments and in that time, I learned several programing languages. So I put that knowledge to good use, by writing a program that would run in the background on my Mac, searching the IRS website for those files. This dramatically reduced the number of suspect files that I had to personally open. Even so, it was still a lot of work.
– How much time you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– The research took almost a year. But from the moment I wrote the first word, to the day it went on sale was about three months.
– Tell us more about your other writing works?
– Many years ago, when I was in college, I spent my spare time – what little I had – writing science fiction short stories and actually managed to get a few published. Even then, I realized that this was probably more related to the sheer number of my submissions, than the quality of my work. But it was fun to see my work in print. Eventually however, I began to concentrate more on girls, surfing, fast motorcycles, and faster cars, and in my spare time, studying. Unfortunately this left no time for writing.
Fast-forward 45 years, to the time when I discovered the Kindle Desktop Publishing platform. By this time, I had been retired from the business world for some time (I left my last 9 to 5 job at age 50). So I decided to take up writing again. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to jump back into science fiction right away, so I decided to write a non-fiction book on something that I knew all about – cruise travel. I published that book on both the Kindle and Nook platforms. I followed that book with other non-fiction titles on subjects on which I was already an expert. But as is often the case with non-fiction, most of those books were time sensitive and all but one have been taken off-sale. Interestingly, the one that remains on-sale is that original book on cruise travel. It just keeps on selling and the information in it, though not entirely timeless, is not likely to go out of date for quite a few more years. It’s primarily the tips and tricks that my wife and I have developed over many years and many cruises. The nom de plume that I used for that book was Reginald and Vivian Carpenter, since those names tend to be less common and suggest someone of our somewhat older years, whereas our own names could as easily be a twenty-something couple. The name of that book is “Cruise Secrets of Seasoned Cruisers.
Today, I’m working on a book wherein I am examining a wide variety of tax reform plans that have been floating around Washington DC for some time. In it, I use a goals-based analysis as a measure. I’m trying to get it out before election day, but research is taking longer than I had hoped. However, a late October release date is not out of the question.
When I reach a mental block, instead of taking my mental blocks out to play with them, I switch gears and do a little work on a science fiction book that has been percolating around in my head for some time. I’m quite pleased with where it seems to be headed. The few close friends and relatives who have read the short story version have all been hugely impressed with the ending. I just hope that I can keep that impact in the longer version.
– Who are you?
Insane genius. Well,… at least half that.
My degree says that I’m an electronic engineer, but I’ve never held a job that required that training. I’ve run several large IT departments, owned several of my own businesses, including a print shop, an IT consulting business, and an import/export business. Although I basically retired at 50, I still occasionally take on a title abstracting job, if the money is right and I can work mostly from home. By the way, I’m writing a book on title abstracting, too. But that book is low on the importance scale, behind the tax book and science fiction book. Today, most of my time is spent either writing or trading in natural resource products, from crude oil, to diesel fuel, to scrap metal, to fine copper powder and more. I also just started importing wine and olive oil. Among those things, writing takes up the most time.
– What are your writing habits?
– Since I’m mostly retired, I write when I feel like it, which could be any time of the day or night. I’m most productive at night, after the phone stops ringing. Sometimes, I write only a couple of hours a day. But at other times, I have written non-stop for as much as 36 hours. It just depends on how productive I am at the time and when writer’s block sets in. In general, I try to put 5 or 6 hours a day into writing.
My primary writing tool is Scrivener.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of the book and do you plan another one?
– I’m a marketer at heart. So until every U.S. family owns a copy of my book, I’ll never be “satisfied” with my book sales. On the other hand, I’m far from being disappointed with my book sales. But I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve sales.
– What are you doing to promote by the best possible way your book?
– Much of my sales come from personal appearances and radio guest spots. I also promote the book through articles on my blog and as a journalist on Examiner.com. Each such article is then promoted on Twitter, Google+, StumbleUpon, etc. On top of that, there are several issue organizations and PACs that promote the book, because it explains the principles of economics in a way that even the most callow of devotees to causes that run contrary to their own can easily understand. I have also been a compensated guest at a booth at a major political convention, where I sold and signed books, with a portion of sales going to the sponsoring organization.
– How you ended being a sci-fi books lover?
– I have been reading science fiction since at least my high school days, when I read every book written by E.E. “Doc” Smith. Then I devoured the early Heinlein books, including one of my favorites, “Sixth Column” (renamed for a time to “The Day after Tomorrow”). In my late teens and early twenties I wrote a number (lots) of sci-fi short stories and actually managed to get a few published. I stopped writing sci-fi short stories in my twenties, due to changing priorities. Besides college studies and later work, I had to split my remaining time between girls, reading, girls, writing, girls, fast cars, girls, fast motorcycles, girls, hang gliding, and, oh yes, girls. I wasn’t about to give up girls, reading, speed, or hang gliding. Although I had managed to get a few short stories published, I had no reason, at the time, to expect that my writing would ever be more than a barely profitable pass-time, unless I was willing do devote large blocks of time to it. So my science fiction writing got shelved for more than 40 years. But now that I’m semi-retired and have the only girl I’ll ever need, I have the large blocks of time that I need to devote to my writing. So my first full length science fiction novel is now in process and will follow my next non-fiction book, on which I’m currently working.
– You traveled all around the world. Please rate the Top 3 places that you have been?
– Panama: They have moderate temperatures year-around, the best coffee in the world, fabulous and inexpensive medical care (free to tourists), fresh tropical fruits that are to die for, and they love Americans. What’s not to like? The cost of living is low and the country is has the fastest growing major economy in the world. It’s a great place to visit, invest, or retire.
Hong Kong: It’s capitalism on steroids. The energy is palpable. Every resident of the city either owns a business of his own or knows, in his heart, that he is going to own a business before long and is working toward that goal at all times. They are the hardest working people in the world and their excitement about what they do is contagious. It’s also very safe in all but a few areas – probably safer than most U.S. cites of more than a couple of million population.
Belize: Scuba diving! More than 100 identified dive sites, including the Blue Hole and the Queen’s Fingers. Belize is also home to one of the few decompression chambers in the Caribbean-Atlantic area. I’ve never had to use one, but it’s nice to know that it’s there. The country is english-speaking, having been British Honduras until 1981, when they got their independence from Great Britain. They love Americans. It’s a developing country with lots of opportunity. Their healthcare leaves something to be desired, but just across the Mexican border, in Chetumal, they have great healthcare and shopping.
It also seems unfair to leave out Dufftown, Scotland, in the heart of Speyside, which is one of the most beautiful places in the world and home to more than a dozen of the worlds best whiskies. There’s also Capri, Italy, which is home to the Blue Grotto and tons of great scenery. Florence, Italy has not only the art, but the best chocolate gelato in the world. Then there’s Monaco, which is… well… Monaco. That word says it all – yachts, grand prix, casino and on and on.
– Your opinion on current USA tax situation? What will be good to be improved?
– The income tax has turned the IRS into a behemoth that is completely out of control. As a result, more than 3,000 Americans, with a net worth of more than two million dollars, formally renounced their U.S. citizenship last year. What started out as a very low and essentially flat rate tax that only taxed about 500 people in the entire nation, now reaches into the pockets of even the poorest Americans, via the corporate income tax. It’s not just Democrats or Republicans. The leaders of both parties have used the IRS to spy on the economic affairs of their opponents. Both parties use the tax code to favor their big donors, at the expense of everyone else. Changing which party is in control only changes which big donors get the biggest tax breaks and those tax breaks always come at the expense of those who cannot afford to hire lobbyists. Now that Congress has tasted the power that the income tax gives them, even a flat income tax, with no deductions would not stay flat for long and new deductions would start to appear with the next session of Congress. All this makes it clear that taxing income is not the answer.
By contrast, a properly configured sales tax would resolve all of the problems with the current tax code. But configuring such a tax would seem to be a daunting task. Fortunately, that work has already been done for us. Back in 1995, three Houston businessmen hired economists, pollsters, finance geeks and other experts, and gave them a simple, but broad objective – design either a fix or a replacement for the current tax system and provide justification. What they came up with eliminates the IRS, is completely transparent, reverses the tremendous capital flight that is now taking place, reverses the offshoring of jobs, completely un-taxes those living in poverty, and encourages savings and investment. It’s called The FairTax and is currently in the Ways and Means Committee as H.R. 25. It has 85 sponsors and co-sponsors in both houses. The only thing keeping it from becoming law is that the leadership of both parties are blocking it, since they realize that if the FairTax becomes law, more than 80% of the lobbyists who constantly fawn all over them will suddenly be out of business and then they will actually have to listen to their constituents. What a frightening thought it must be to them – members of Congress actually having to listen to their constituents.
Check out more about John Gaver at his web page
Look out his book:
The Rich Don’t Pay Tax! …Or Do They?