A reader writes:

I am a small business owner in New York City. At the beginning of the recession, I had a handful of part-time employees who got paid cash under the table, as they freelanced or worked other jobs. My best employee lost his main gig and asked me for help. I cut the rest of the employees and put him on payroll. I allotted more work-hours than I really needed, but he was in a jam and I believed that I would see a return on the investment.

A year and a half later, the investment has not born as much fruit as I had hoped. There's simply not enough work to support the position. Meanwhile hungry, overqualified people drop me resumes and beg for part time work. Our financial picture is still perilous and I have simply come to the conclusion that I can (and that I must) get the same work product for less money from people who will be happy to do it. The employment pool is so good that I'm going to kill a real job - full time, on the books - for under-the-table work from someone who will likely be far overqualified for it.

So I agree with Hale Stewart that it's a win-win for employers. But I don't think it's very good for the country overall.

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