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Underground Economy

The traffic light turns red on the elegant Paseo de la Reforma at the Angel of Independence Monument. Scores of automobiles brake to a halt, and 21-year-old Juan Garcia leads an army of young men into the street. Weaving his way among the idling cars, Garcia has 75 seconds to sell an oversize, overstuffed toy bulldog before the light changes to green.
July 9, 2012 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- A surprise sweep for unlicensed building contractors has resulted in 104 enforcement actions by a multi-agency state task force. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced Monday that the sweep hit off-the-books operators in 11 counties on June 20 and 21. Investigators carried out the enforcement actions in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties as well as in Alameda, Butte, El Dorado, Kern, Monterey,...
June 7, 1987
Harry Bernstein's May 27 column, "Combating the Underground Economy," was disturbing. Bernstein attacks "tax evasion schemes" by implying that this money belongs to the government--and people are stealing it. On the contrary, this money belongs to the people of California, and they are fully within their rights to try to keep it from the prying hands of tax collectors and other government agents. Employers and employees who avoid taxes are not showing dishonesty, but frustration with a system that taxes them, spends their money and regulates them more and more each day. Without wages from the underground economy, thousands more people would be unemployed and underemployed.
August 20, 1991 | HARRY BERNSTEIN
Millions of workers, including huge numbers of youngsters, have joined forces with employers in what the government estimates is a $600-billion scam called the underground economy. Last year, they cheated the government out of up to $100 billion in unpaid taxes. By the end of next year, taxes not collected from those in the swelling underground economy will soar to an estimated $127 billion, according to reports from the Internal Revenue Service.
March 22, 1987 | From Reuters
Esperanza Reyes works every day at her downtown stand selling cigarettes, chewing gum and peanuts to workers from nearby office buildings. She said she has been working the same spot for five years now but holds no official permit, and the only government fees she pays are weekly under-the-table "charges" to city officials who allow her to stay in business.
February 10, 1987 | MARK ARAX, Times Staff Writer
Inside a boarded-up storefront on the outskirts of Los Angeles, Mai Nguyen works 14 hours a day, seven days a week, as a seamstress. From morning to midnight, hunched over a sewing machine and a pile of fabric, the Vietnamese mother of three sews one identical garment after the other for cash wages that average $1.75 an hour. She and a dozen other seamstresses, all refugees from Vietnam, share a cramped, dingy workroom that lacks heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer.
June 4, 2007
Re "Screen may snag too many workers," May 29 The media seem more concerned with privacy than the average citizen. When traveling the world, one has to put a passport on the counter to board an airplane, check into a hotel, rent a car or do banking. Credit reporting companies have access to banking and purchasing records covering decades. I hear no complaints about any of the foregoing. Indeed, the greatest concern that I hear expressed is about identity theft. The proposed legislation regarding immigration reform requires an employment eligibility verification system.
February 24, 1993 | ADELA de la TORRE, Adela de la Torre is chair of the department of Chicano and Latino studies at Cal State Long Beach.
The recent fanfare over the "illegal" hiring practices of attorney general candidates Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood strikes a sore point for American workers concerned with maintaining jobs and working conditions.
October 6, 1996
Rather than spend our tax dollars on drug prevention among teenagers and rehabilitation for those unfortunates who are already addicted, policy makers continue to spend billions on a war on drugs that was lost before it began. Broken families, street crime and bloated prisons are the residue of that failed undertaking. Superior Court Judge James P. Gray and his admonition that the decriminalization of drugs would reverse an escalating plague is a voice of reason ("Orange County Voices," Sept.
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