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US Informal Economy estimated to have DOUBLED to $2 Trillion since 2009

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All the financial repression via bailouts, rescues, inflationism, new taxes and regulations from the US mortgage-banking crisis of 2008 have driven many of the average Americans to the informal economy.
From the CNBC:
The growing underground economy may be helping to prevent the real economy from sinking further, according to analysts.
The shadow economy is a system composed of those who can’t find a full-time or regular job. Workers turn to anything that pays them under the table, with no income reported and no taxes paid — especially with an uneven job picture.
“I think the underground economy is quite big in the U.S.,” said Alexandre Padilla, associate professor of economics at Metropolitan State University of Denver. “Whether it’s using undocumented workers or those here legally, it’s pretty large.”
“You normally see underground economies in places like Brazil or in southern Europe,” said Laura Gonzalez, professor of personal finance at Fordham University. “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.”
Estimates are that underground activity last year totaled as much as $2 trillion, according to a study by Edgar Feige, an economist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
That’s double the amount in 2009, according to a study by Friedrich Schneider, a professor at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria. The study said the shadow economy amounts to nearly 8 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.
Whether in politics (Boston’s martial law) or in economics (informal economy) the US appears to be sliding down the path towards a banana republic.
Regulations have been skyrocketing in the US. A big segment of growth comes from the post-crisis years. The number of pages of regulations from the Federal Register has ballooned almost sevenfold since 1940s. Chart from Political Calculations Blog.
Additional regulations means more taxes too.
Number of pages of Federal Tax Rules has swelled by about eight times since the 1940s, where the bulk of the recent expansion of tax rules also occurred during the years of post-US mortgage banking crisis . (Chart from Cato’s Chris Edwards)
Regulations signify as hidden taxes too. 
Estimated compliance costs is at $236 billion in 2012. This would account for 1.5% of the US GDP. By the way, $2 trillion informal economy is about 12.7% of the $15.7 trillion US GDP in 2012. 
Yet there are indirect regulatory costs too.
Overall, the total estimated regulatory costs have been at $1.752 trillion in 2011 according to Competitive Enterprise Institute.  That’s more than 10% of the US economy. Such costs must be a lot more today.
Statistics would not really capture the lost business opportunities from the burdens of additional taxes, regulations and other politics based programs because they are largely invisible or unseen by the public. For instance, I recently pointed out how state authorities shut down a child’s lemonade stand for the lack of license. So one has to be leery of any supposed analytical insights entirely focused on the shouting of statistics or on the dependence on empirical methodology.
We will have to add the burdens of tax and regulatory costs  from Obamacare and Dodd Frank.
That’s not all. There is also the enormous onus from entitlement spending. (chart from Heritage Foundation)…
…and the diminishing purchasing power of the US dollar from the printing presses of the US Federal Reserve since 1913 (chart from, whose boom bust cycles have led to the justification of more interventions or “never let a crisis go to waste” dogma. 
So such vicious cycles of government expansionleads to a debt trap.
To cap it, increasing politicization of the marketplace means higher costs of doing business which entails more limitations or restrictions on economic opportunities and diminishing productivity and capital accumulation, which extrapolates to stagnation or a decline in living standards.
Thus when people’s survival is at stake, and where costs of doing formal business is high and increasingly a hindrance, they resort to the informal, underground or the shadow economy.
The digital age via the web has also substantially contributed to the expansion of the informal economy, where the former provides the platform to conduct businesses outside the prying eyes of the government. The emergence of the Bitcoin is a wonderful example.
The growth in the informal economy will also likely be manifested in the evolution of politics. This should translate to a growing divide or the deepening polarization between the productive class and political parasites (political class, cronies, welfare-warfare beneficiaries and the bureaucracy).
Although while informal economies represent as good sign of people’s attempt to generate productivity outside the political realm, they represent as an implied or passive revolt against politics. Alternatively, this also could mean social unrest ahead.

Updated to add: Informal economies will be smeared by the mainstream as illegal and immoral operations (such as drugs, money laundering and etc…). While there could be some, most of them aren’t. This would represent as propaganda to cover up the failure of governments or to shift the burden of blame on the public rather than they owning up to their failures.

This content provided courtesy of Prudent Investor Newsletter


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