13-Year-Old Businessman Shut Down

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A 13-year-old mowed lawns to save up enough money to buy a hot dog cart. He got licensed. Then he tried to sell hot dogs. The city shut him down.

Why?

Two reasons. First, the good old boys who run local restaurants two decades ago got independent food vendors zoned out. Second, the teachers union got businesses banned for anyone under 18.

He had paid $2,500 for the cart. He sold it for $1,250.

He has just had the finest civics lesson that any public high school kid has received in twenty years in Holland, Michigan. He has seen civil government at work. He has seen how special-interest groups get politicians to feather all their nests.

The company that bought his cart will let him use it for free except on a few days during the year. So, he came out ahead.

The story hit the local media. He has become a kind of hero.

Readers encouraged Duszynski to “keep up the fight” while simultaneously blasting the zoning ordinance that he ran afoul of. Mobile food vendors have to be located adjacent to, and be a part of an existing business that already has a food service license. Duszynski is too young for a “peddler’s” license that would have allowed the cart to operate as long as it stayed in place no longer than 10 minutes.

The political system is set up to benefit insiders who have established positions in every industry. They don’t want competition. They want to pull up the ladder after they have climbed up.

It is good that this young man has seen it close up.

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Gary North [send him mail] is the author of Mises on Money. Visit http://www.garynorth.com. He is also the author of a free 20-volume series, An Economic Commentary on the Bible.

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