Too Rich


When he came to live with me, Kenji spoke  virtually no English. He did understand most of what was said to him, and  he was learning to speak.  This was the reason he had come to the USA.

As it  came out (as he learned to express himself), he  had gotten his  Ph.D. ( in so many words…I learned this when a piece of mail came addressed to him as “Dr. Kenji…”), had been working on   projects with military applications in his home country, and kept having his projects cancelled by the US government.  Sort of ironic, as he has military clearance here, and  the companies he contracts with do a lot.  So—what I am saying is—- the US government wouldn’t allow him to do this for his own government…. if he is going to do anything, he is going to do this for the American  government.

Ok.  Of course, since I am a blabbermouth, I don’t know  what he is actually working on, but I do know he  worked on some coatings, and he worked on a waste-to-energy machine…and this because USA Today published a photo of him looking at this machine on the front page, after his team delivered it to a military base.

Kenji tends to be a quiet guy, but now he’s been here long enough that he has no trouble expressing himself. When I  was having  car problems, he let me know in no uncertain terms that  it was due to my neglect that this happened, and I was too stupid to own a car.   Never mind that I taught him to drive—in my car—on the right side of the road so he’d be prepared when he got his own car, and I smoothed the way though other petty aggravations that are part of modern life.

He got the second job he applied for, and the company  paid for him to get a ‘green card’.  He  does tedious work that most Americans are either  not qualified to do or too lazy to do.  He is very patient.  He was with the company several years when he told me  the company—which had been in business over  30 years, was going to go out of business.  I asked him how he knew this, and he said there  were too many ‘support staff’ and not enough engineering contracts to support having so many  people  not adding value .

The company DID go out of business.  This was just after  Obama was elected and everything was a mess.  He still  satisfied the government contracts that the company had, but then he got contract work in dribs and drabs.  However, living with me is relatively cheap.  So, this went on for a couple of years, and then….

His former co-workers always stayed in touch, and they formed a new company, and  suddenly Kenji is making money again…and  because of how the company is structured, he is  an independent contractor (as I have been much of my life), and  he has to pay quarterly estimated tax…  For him, is  about $15,000 a quarter.  He  is paying more in taxes than I make in a  year.

He’s maxed out his IRAs, and doesn’t own any property or have any tax shelters.  I have suggested setting up a deferred compensation plan, but  he has told me he is ineligible because one of his contracts pays him as an employee.  I have suggested, also, that he consider making donations to some nonprofits.  He knows I support dog rescues and that his favorite dog came from a rescue.  He is Japanese, and is donating nothing.  I’ve explained that  he might be able to cut his tax rate, but he is stubborn.  Oh well.

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