U.S. Underground Economy Getting Bigger As Traditional Economy Contracts

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Analysts cited in a CNBC story Wednesday believe the mainstream economy in the U.S. would look a lot worse, if not for a burgeoning off-the-grid network of transactions that has kept many Americans afloat as traditional employment has suffered.

Experts believe the underground economy may account for as much as $2 trillion per year in the United States, with all of those untaxed transactions falling beneath the radar of the Internal Revenue Service.

Tellingly, one professor compares the circumstances surrounding the surge in the American underground economy to those of developing countries, with participants motivated by a combination of desperation over generating income by traditional means and resignation that things aren’t going to fix themselves.

“You normally see underground economies in places like Brazil or in southern Europe,” said Fordham University professor Laura Gonzalez. “But with the job situation and the uncertainty in the economy, it’s not all that surprising to have it growing here in the United States.”

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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