Truth is, as Most Sales Tax Avoiding Canadians Already Know, Living Underground Ain't So Bad

Statistics Canada estimates the underground economy amounted to about $36 billion in 2008, about 2.5% of GDP, but many experts say that's only a guess and that if all domestic black market transactions, such as drug trafficking, arms trafficking, smuggled tobacco, home made booze and prostitution, could be counted the figure would be much higher. The StatsCan estimates are focused on avoidance of sales taxes and H&R Block Canada survey that found 55 per cent of Canadians would opt to pay cash to avoid sales taxes obviously does the same. 

The survey and government stats clearly show that avoidance isn't related specifically to the amount of the sales taxes themselves which range from a low of five per cent in Alberta to a high of 15.5 per cent in Prince Edward Island. The unspoken truth behind the those numbers is that Canadians understand, at least subconsciously, that sales taxes are unfair because they are regressive - the poorer a person is the more it punishes them. Canadians don't try to avoid all taxes. Income tax and property taxes, for instance, were established long ago and at least have the appearance of being progressive [though in fact the laws are written so that lawyers and accountants can use loopholes to help their rich clients pay far less than they should].

On top of that, StatsCan's estimates only look at this one part of the 'domestic' economy and as many of us know the underground export economy of marijuana alone brings in unaccounted for billions of dollars of cash from the US pot-heads the circulation of which keeps local, especially rural, communities afloat. Worldwide,  "No government, no global nonprofit, no multinational enterprise can seriously claim to be able to replace the 1.8 billion jobs created by the economic underground. In truth, the best hope for growth in most emerging economies lies in the shadows." Global Bazaar, Scientific America.

Truth is living underground ain't so bad. It ain't so bad for the individual or for the community they're a part of. It certainly ain't as bad for their local community's as having profits and interest being skimmed off every local transaction and shipped away to offshore tax havens like the 'legal' rich stockholders do with their ill-gotten gains. Truth is, every dollar spent in the local underground economy is a dollar that gets re-spent as a whole dollar not just the fraction that's left after sales taxes, bank interest and shareholder profits are subtracted. Truth is, the reason economists laud the 'velocity' of money is because each time money goes around the rich get their bite and before long they've got it all, it's called 'The Toilet Bowl Theory of Economics'.

If you ain't doing it already, it's time you started, living underground ain't bad a-tall.