Socialist Inflation
When is a Bribe Legit?

Making Lemonade

Jonathan B. Wight

MSNBC reports that three girls in Midway, Georgia had their lemonade stand forced out of business by the local fuzz. The budding entrepreneurs hadn't paid their $50 per day business license, nor had the board of health approved their operations.

I'm generally in favor of health regulations and even small business regulations. For example, street vendors use public sidewalks and take business away from store front retailers who pay taxes. So it seems appropriate that street vendors should be held to the same regulations as others—a level playing field.

But the enforcement here seems to go way too far. Do I need to pay a licensing fee to have a yard sale in my front yard? Regulators need to use some common sense!

Adam Smith: "To prohibit a great people, however, from making all that they can of every part of their own produce, or from employing their stock and industry in the way that they judge most advantageous to themselves, is a manifest violation of the most sacred rights of mankind." (Wealth of Nations, p. 372)

[Picture source:]


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You do need a permit to hold a yard sale in many towns and cities; just Google "yard sale permits" to see dozens of the relevant statutes around the country. And since the economy went south, municipalities have been hiking fees in a futile attempt to boost their budgets--I am sure the WSJ did a story on it, but couldn't find it.

While is probably is overregulation, I am interested in an investigation of the government simply banning the informal market.

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