Saturday, February 7, 2009

Confessions of a Tax Collector or Human Capital

Confessions of a Tax Collector: One Man's Tour of Duty inside the IRS

Author: Richard Yancey

Twelve years ago, Richard Yancey answered a blind ad in the newspaper offering a salary higher than what he'd made over the three previous years combined. It turned out that the job was for the Internal Revenue Service -- the most hated and feared organization in the federal government.

So Yancey became the man who got in his car, drove to your house, knocked on your door, and made you pay. Never mind that his car was littered with candy wrappers, his palms were sweaty, and he couldn't remember where he stashed his own tax records. He was there on the authority of the United States government.

With "a rich mix of humor, horror, and angst [and] better than most novels on the bestseller lists" (Boston Sunday Globe), Confessions of a Tax Collector contains an astonishing cast of too-strange-for-fiction characters. But the most intriguing character of all is Yancey himself who -- in detailing how the job changed him and how he managed to pull himself back from the brink of moral, ethical, and spiritual bankruptcy -- reveals what really lies beneath those dark suits and mirrored sunglasses.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

Publishers Weekly

After failing at a number of jobs, Yancey joined the IRS as a revenue officer in 1991 when he answered a want ad in the newspaper. As a revenue officer, Yancey was charged with collecting taxes from delinquent taxpayers. At the start of his career, Yancey was ambivalent about working for the IRS, but the longer he stayed with the organization the more seriously he took the job. A turning point came during a seizure (when the IRS seizes property from people who have been unable or unwilling to pay taxes), when Yancey stumbled across a band of tax protesters and took it as a personal challenge to root out as many protesters as possible and in the course of doing so found himself living for his job. Yancey's account of his 12-year career starts out as a lighthearted look at his early days as an IRS trainee, but the tone is more somber and reflective as he becomes more enmeshed in his job, breaks up with his girlfriend, and finds himself isolated from nearly everyone outside of his workplace. There is a happy ending to the story, however, as Yancey marries his supervisor, quits the service and fulfills his dream of writing a book. His description of what life is like inside the IRS is generally engaging and shows the fallibility of a system that comprises, after all, men and women who have their own strengths and weaknesses. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal

Come April 15 each year, most people pay their taxes on time, but those who avoid doing so are invariably called upon by the likes of Yancey, who recounts his 12-year career as a revenue officer for the Internal Revenue Service. Yancey chronicles how he would hunt down individuals, often hounding them until they paid their delinquent taxes, while laboring in an almost Kafkaesque work environment. His breezy confessional style is often humorous yet sometimes terrifying, as he discloses the various methods "the service" (as it is referred to by IRS employees) utilizes to get people to "pay up"-at the cost of a real psychic toll to himself and his colleagues. In the book's final pages, the author does mention the Revenue Restructuring Act of 1998, which has gone a long way in curbing many of the questionable enforcement actions he describes. Yancey comes across as a decent, humane guy, certainly not your typical tax inquisitor, who has succeeded in writing an engaging insider's account of life inside the dreaded IRS. (Readers wanting to read more about other misdeeds of the IRS should peruse John A. Andrew's Power To Destroy.) Recommended for larger public libraries.-Richard Drezen, "Washington Post," New York City Bureau Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

New interesting book: Contented Poachers Epicurean Odyssey or Bread Making Quality of Wheat

Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education

Author: Gary Stanley Becker

Human Capital is Becker's classic study of how investment in an individual's education and training is similar to business investments in equipment. Recipient of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Economic Science, Gary S. Becker is a pioneer of applying economic analysis to human behavior in such areas as discrimination, marriage, family relations, and education. Becker's research on human capital was considered by the Nobel committee to be his most noteworthy contribution to economics.
This expanded edition includes four new chapters, covering recent ideas about human capital, fertility and economic growth, the division of labor, economic considerations within the family, and inequality in earnings.
"Critics have charged that Mr. Becker's style of thinking reduces humans to economic entities. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Becker gives people credit for having the power to reason and seek out their own best destiny."—Wall Street Journal

Table of Contents:
List of Tables
List of Charts
Preface to the Third Edition
Preface to the First Edition
IIntroduction to the Second Edition3
IIHuman Capital Revisited15
IIIInvestment in Human Capital: Effects on Earnings29
IVInvestment in Human Capital: Rates of Return59
VRates of Return from College Education161
VIUnderinvestment in College Education?205
VIIRates of Return from High School Education and Trends Over Time215
VIIIAge, Earnings, Wealth, and Human Capital228
IXSummary and Conclusions245
XHuman Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families257
XIThe Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge299
XIIHuman Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth323
App. A. Sources and Methods351
App. B. Mathematical Discussion of Relation Between Age, Earnings, and Wealth370
Author Index377
Subject Index381

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