Tuesday, April 25, 2017
I collect taxi drivers. Whenever I enter a cab, I try and make contact with the driver. It makes the rides more interesting.
My best was in Paris with repeated rides with Mr. K from Algeria. We solved the problems of the world when he drove me from my friend's in Puteaux to the Gare de Lyon. On one trip he called his sister so we could chat. He thought we would like each other. I think we would. Sadly, he left the taxi business before I could go home with him for some of his wife's couscous as promised.
I've ridden with one of the five Greek Parisian taxi drivers, whose love of Greece out-loved the father's in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Rick and I are staying in D.C. while I appear before Congress about how FATCA has jeopardized the financial lives of nine million American expats. FATCA is the reason I am no longer American. We are a friend's house near the CIA and the zoo, far enough out to make a taxi the most simple choice.
Our hostess used her Uber account when Rick's smart phone wouldn't work to set up the app.
As soon as we pulled from the curb, I started with my usual, "May I ask..." as a polite opening. The young driver loved to talk.
He drives two days along with a second job and school. He wants to be a programmer and has one more year. Don't tell me about lazy kids.
Leaving the restaurant three hours later, we hailed a regular cab.
Me: I hear an accent, may I ask where you're from?
Driver: East Africa.
Driver: Yes. I've been here 20 years and I'm a proud American.
Eritrea is the only other country in the world that has citizen based taxation (CBT), although it is limited to 2%. Considering FATCA is a result of CBT, we launched into a philosophical discussion of CBT and we brought up FATCA. Like everyone who hears of FATCA for the first time he was shocked.
We told him we were in D.C. to talk to congress about the unintended consequences of the act. "That's terrible," he said. He couldn't imagine life without a bank account or his mortgage being called because of his birthplace.
We arrive at my friend's house. "You go tell Congress," he said. "Bonsoir," he added. French was one of his six languages, although he said it was the one he was weakest in.
As we walked up the steps, Rick said, imagine meeting a taxi driver by chance from the only other country that practices CBT.
Posted by DL NELSON at 4:45 AM