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  • slamfu

    You know what you had to do 100 years ago to become a citizen at Ellis Island after your steam boat trip from Europe? Stand in a long line, then answer 47 questions. If you were approved, grats, you are now an American. Times were different.

    “I came to America because I heard the streets were paved with gold. When I got to America, I found they weren’t. In fact, most were not paved at all, and I was expected to pave them.”

  • The_Ohioan

    We could look to Russia to determine how the “underground” economy can grow. Their portion of “underground” economy is 47% of GDP compared to 8% in the U.S. Why cash and carry workers would be turned into tax compliant workers eludes me. I’m sure someone will explain it to me.

  • sheknows

    TO, what do you mean by “underground” and cash and carry workers?

  • Willwright

    T.O., I guess the assumption is that in the past these people were working under the table because they lacked things like a SS number, so they couldn’t be hired and be put on payroll. Once they are legalized and have SS numbers they would stop working under the table. While I agree some of this will happen some will keep working off the books to avoid taxes. Some people illegal today possess fake SS cards and work having taxes deducted but could never claim SS benefits. My guess is the benefits portion of the argument is overstated. What may happen is the cost of a lot of stuff provided by these people will go up as they step from the shadows and start expecting to be paid like the natives.

  • The_Ohioan


    Will explained it succinctly. If employers really pull fast ones (paying cash off the books or cutting hours to 30/wk) because of the health insurance change, the underground economy could expand drastically.

    The CBO has also done a provisional estimate that deficit reduction could be as much as $700 billion by reforming immigration. Perhaps the difference of $500 billion depends on whether those in the underground economy join the rest of us. I’m not sure how to implement that, but it’s a problem that needs to be addressed. 8% of GDP is a couple of trillion dollars.

  • dduck

    I found this editorial from no less than the Wall Street Journal, to be very interesting:
    Please read it if you think the WSJ always cones down on the side of the Reps.

  • sheknows

    Thanks TO. So we already have an underground in this country and you are suggesting that if more immigrants come here , we will just increase that amount. It really doesn’t benefit employers to pay under the table but may to keep hours low and health insurance non-existent.
    The assumption I think is that every immigrant that comes here is only looking for part time or under the table jobs, or at the very least that is all they will be qualified for.
    I am guessing, that will not be the case. I suspect peoples of all nations will be coming here to start businesses, go to college, and get good paying jobs that support families. Not all employers are like 7-11.
    I can easily see immigration bolstering our economy. We will always have the underground element… I see no reason why that percentage should not remain a constant.

  • KP

    I expect to see an expansion of the black market in the next 10 years; which may already be closer to 16% than 8%. Look for larger, more tightly nit, cash economies within communities. It is already happening. California is a prime example. Marijuana is our largest cash crop and we have one of the largest economies in the world.

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