It’s a story that always produces outrage. Police see a couple of kids with a lemonade stand and shut them down because they don’t have a business license. The news stories make it clear that the police are jerks and that the poor kids are being victimized. Readers and viewers are outraged. Then we wait until the next time it happens and do the same story all over again.
The latest example of the predictable story is in Georgia. A couple of girls opened a lemonade stand to raise money to finance a trip to a theme park. Police shut them down because they didn’t have business licenses that would have cost $180 for the year. People are outraged. Again.
I have sympathy for the kids. I really do. But what I’d like to know is why stories such as this don’t remind us of the flip side. Obviously, it’s unreasonable to think that kids should have to have a city’s permission to sell lemonade, but isn’t it just as obvious that nobody should need government permission to conduct business? The only people whose permission you should need are your customers — and they vote with their purchases.
I’m glad that stories such as this one get attention, but I wish people would draw a different lesson. It’s not that kids need to be exempt from draconian, stupid laws. It’s that the draconian, stupid laws need to go away.