The Corner

Lemonade Crackdown

In the past couple of months, police have put children’s lemonade stands out of business in Texas, Georgia, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. (There’s a great map, with links to the news stories, here.)

The kids have been taught a lesson, but it’s one we should learn, too: You can’t be an entrepreneur in modern-day America without bureaucrats giving you permission in the first place.

The costs of regulation today amount to $10,000 per employee per year for small businesses in the U.S. That’s why the advert where a little girl borrows her father’s phone to help run her lemonade stand and ends up running a multinational just can’t happen. The bureaucrats just wouldn’t let her do it without jumping through the costly bureaucratic hoops first.

That’s why businesses aren’t hiring. That’s why unemployment is still at 10 percent (except around the bureaucrats’ nirvana of Washington, D.C., where it’s 4 percent). That’s why the president’s revenues have dried up.

If we want to get America back to work, we need to lighten up on the lemonade stands, lighten up on small businesses, and stop the bureaucrats destroying free enterprise.

— Iain Murray’s latest book is Stealing You Blind: How Government Fatcats Are Getting Rich Off of You, new from Regnery. Get the first chapter here.

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