When I refer to the Underground Economy I mean working for cash, not paying taxes, working under the table, bartering. Avoiding "regular business". When someone fixes something for you and you pay them cash, they don't enter it in their books, they don't declare it as income and they don't pay taxes on those earnings. In other words the government gets left out!
Now if the government had it's way little girls who babysit would be paying taxes as self employed. Lemon aid stands would have to be licensed and have a health certificate and young boys who cut grass in the summer and shovel snow in the winter would be "self employed" and have to keep books and file tax reports.
The government doesn't go after the kids for earning a little money-YET!
But if a grown man can't find a job and starts doing odd jobs to make ends meet he is required to declare self employment and do the necessary paperwork and keep books. The government is like the mafia and wants it's cut. It demands a piece of the action. It's OK to make 50 bucks for doing an odd job on a Saturday. But if you do it every Saturday and start bringing in what is considered "substantial income" you have to get licensed. So much for the Land of the Free.
I know guys that used to sell firewood in the winter time. They would cut it, split it, let it dry through the warm weather months and it would be ready for the fireplace when the weather turned cold. I know guys that bought a blade for the front of their 4 wheel drive pickup and would plow snow in parking lots and driveways in the winter for extra money. My grandmother operated a bed and breakfast out of her home for years to make ends meet. She would do laundry and iron and sew for people. It never occurred to her to pay taxes on that money. She was poor!
I used to dumpster dive. I found usable stuff and stuff that I could fix up and I would sell it at the flea market on the weekend. I would buy up what was left when someone had a yard sale and turn around and resell it at the flea market. I didn't get rich but I paid my bills. People say they can't find jobs. I have lived in my house for almost 6 years and I have had 2 people come to the door in that entire time trying to get work.
More on this later!