(NaturalNews) No matter how much "assistance" taxpayers provide, there is always going to be a segment of the population that is beyond help. A case in point recently occurred in Oregon.
According to Oregon Live, a 50-year-old homeless man recently walked into a bank, held it up for a single dollar, then sat down and waited for police to show up.
The suspect, Timothy Deal Alsip, was taken into custody by sheriff's deputies without incident. The report said he was "booked into the Clackamas County Jail on suspicion of second-degree robbery with bail set at $250,000."
Desperation takes its toll
Deputy Mark Nikolai, a sheriff's office spokesman, said a man entered the Bank of America branch, 9171 S.E. 82nd Ave., shortly before 10:30 a.m. and approached a teller.
"He handed over a note saying 'This is a hold up. Give me a dollar,'" Nikolai said. After receiving $1, he "had a seat in the lobby."
Alsip told deputies he had no permanent address. Deputies ran him through the system and found that he had no criminal record in Oregon. More from Oregon Live:
Nikolai said deputies determined that Alsip sought to be arrested so he could get medical care. He said Alsip exhibited strange behavior over the past week, including flagging down citizens so they would call 911. Nikolai said Alsip also called 911 himself to complain of various imaginary problems such as being hit by a car, suffering from dental pain and overdosing on drugs.
"His behavior today is consistent with the behavior he has displayed over the last week," Nikolai said.
Whatever. What is clear, though, is that this robbery was one not of ill intent or for self-enrichment but of desperation. And it's just the latest sign that, in this economy, Americans are becoming increasingly disparaged and discouraged.
One huge sign is the growing "underground economy," estimated by some to be about a trillion dollars a year.
"The United States continues to suffer from mass unemployment. People have had to adjust their lifestyles to the new reality - fewer jobs, lower wages, mortgages to pay that are now more than their homes are worth. Millions have dropped out of the job hunt and are trying to find other ways to sustain their families," writes Sarah Jaffe at Alternet.
"That's where the underground economy comes in. Also called the shadow or informal economy, it's not just illegal activity like selling drugs or doing sex work. It's all sorts of work that doesn't get regulated by the government or reported to the IRS, and it's a far bigger part of the economy than most of us are aware," she said, noting that in 2009 it was estimated by economics professor Friedrich Schneider to be about 8 percent of annual GDP.
Expect the underground economy to flourish
"This underground economy goes beyond the homeless collecting aluminum cans or clogging day labor halls. It includes the working poor getting cash for all forms of recycling: giving plasma, selling homemade tamales outside shopping plazas, holding yard sales, doing under-the-table work for friends and family, selling stuff at pawnshops, CD, book and used clothing stores, and even getting tips from restaurants and bars--to name a few," explains Alternet's D.A. Barber.
Business transactions will still be made, whether they are "out in the open" or not. But those that are not cannot be traced, tracked or taxed - and, to an increasing number of people, these are all good things.
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