Defends 'Tax Evasion'

In reading Harry Bernstein's column, I was reminded of the pitifully small "underground economy" that exists among the so-called semi-retired--those who try to survive by supplementing often inadequate retirement checks with unreported income.

My widowed friend is 69 and a retired teacher who tries to work as much as he can as a substitute. This the only work he can find, and his retirement fund, much like Social Security, allows him to work only part time. Obviously finding a job, any job, where his income goes unreported would be a godsend. He is ready to be "exploited." Sure, it would be illegal, but would it be fair?

I recently read in The Times that Howard H. Baker Jr. earned well over $1 million last year while at the same time drawing a pension of $41,000 for his Senate service. Good for Howard, and it is obviously legal, but fair?

There has to be a better answer for my schoolteacher friend than the glib: "Nobody ever said that life was going to be fair."

FRED BENDER

North Hollywood

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