28 July 2008

Flea-cing the Fools

Hark back to that day, the long tail of My birthday celebration, when a relationship between the 7% sales tax--to be implemented the next day--and the underground economy was made clear.

And here's the proof, in two simple words: Flea markets.

A curiosity as recently as the first half of 2007, flea markets have simply exploded in the past few months. From one-morning events on Sundays to three-day, 8 a.m.-to-6 p.m. weekly events, flea markets are now a common sight. In My neck of the Island alone there are seven flea markets operating regularly, and one tiny flea market operating daily, as a sort of Salvation Army on rickets.

Why so many? Allow Me to quote Myself: Cash beats taxes.

Is it any wonder that both The Jellyfish governor and his Larval Jellyfish opponent scoot to grab the title of "Sales Tax Eliminator"? It's a no-brainer that even these two invertebrates can wrap their notochord around: Wallet-enhancing, easy to talk about and too complex to actually have to think through. The perfect political sound-bite generator for the modern democracy!

How much money is moving through flea markets? I don't know, but here's an informal, yet telling, observation: About 20% of the flea market stalls are operated as "full-time" businesses. In other words, the people who run them have no other source of income. No job, no other business. Just their canopied stall.

Whether that observation holds up for all flea markets around the Island or not, it does lay the basis for a conclusion: Taxes and the overly-idiotic rigamarole of starting a business here have forced--yes, forced--some people to find alternatives. And they have done so by improving--dare I say perfecting--the underground economy the government, "led" by Jellyfish and Fools thought they could eradicate.

Nothing I didn't predict. So why am I not laughing?

The Jenius Has Spoken.


KW said...

Excellent observation I've seen the same thing here in Caguas. I've seen two started just in the last three months.

GCSchmidt said...

Thanks, Don Dees. Maybe We can flea market the local Internet advertising industry. (Did I just make "flea market" a verb? No! We all did!!)