The Trillion-Dollar Underground Economy

I was shocked to see how big this off-record economy is! I know some of the members of this economy including some who have a foot in both economies. Our neighborhood is a place where the underground economy flourishes.

The underground economy isn’t just drugs and sex work. Anyone who works off the record, not paying taxes or regulated by the government is a part of it. About 8% of the US economy, not including sex and drugs (and presumably theft).

“This underground economy goes beyond the homeless collecting aluminum cans or clogging day labor halls. It includes the working poor getting cash for all forms of recycling: giving plasma, selling homemade tamales outside shopping plazas, holding yard sales, doing under-the-table work for friends and family, selling stuff at pawnshops, CD, book and used clothing stores, and even getting tips from restaurants and bars–to name a few.” —DA Barber

When I read this article I thought of Craig’s List which works like a broker for the underground. One of our neighbors has a constant garage sale going on. Contractors who have “sloppy bookkeeping”. Car and trailer sales with no taxes (including me but there was a title). Animal sales with no paperwork. It is all around.

Somehow I feel like I am getting cheated, being a good taxpaying retiree.

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1 Comment

  1. Ballerinagirl93

     /  September 20, 2011

    I get what you are saying. Sometimes I feel like most of my life I’ve been working so hard and getting an education and I still do not have very much to show for it.
    In my city, you are not allowed to have a yard sale so frequently. I think you have to have a permit after so many. But again, there’s daily fishing rod/swap meet down the way. Grrrr.


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