I think it might have been George Will who coined the term “lemon socialism,” but it is time once again to turn our attention to what I call “lemonade socialism.” I’ve written here before about how the culture of bureaucracy—which I and others alternatively call the “administrative state”—extends all the way down to local government, sometimes in forms even worse and more stupid that what you find in Washington DC, as shown most egregiously in the growing examples of local governments shutting down lemonade stands by budding 12-year-old entrepreneurs.
I’m pleased to see The Economist takes note of the phenomena this week, and thinks it is just as stupid as I do in “Is Lemonade Legal?”
ZOEY and Andria Green, who are seven and eight respectively, only look innocent. With their baby faces and cunning, they managed to lure patrons to their illicit enterprise: a lemonade stand outside their home in Overton, Texas. The girls were in business for about an hour in June, selling popcorn and lemonade to raise money for a Father’s Day gift, before local police shut the operation down. Not only were they hawking without a $150 “peddler’s permit”, but also the state requires a formal kitchen inspection and a permit to sell anything that might spoil if stored at the wrong temperature. As authorities are meant “to act to prevent an immediate and serious threat to human life or health”, the officers understandably moved swiftly in.
The Economist goes on to talk about some minor accommodations available through what are known as “Cottage Food Laws,” but notes this doesn’t go very far. And never mind little kids out to make some ice cream money on the corner on a hot Saturday afternoon; applied more broadly, the bureaucratic impulse to control everything has a disparate impact on guess who? Time to make this a civil rights issue I think. Or maybe just start heating up the tar and feathers.