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I Tried to Open a Lemonade Stand

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Want to open a business in America? It isn't easy.

In Midway, Ga., a 14-year-old girl and her 10-year-old sister sold lemonade from their front yard. Two police officers bought some. But the next day, different officers ordered them to close their stand.

Their father went to city hall to try to find out why. The clerk laughed and said she didn't know. Eventually, Police Chief Kelly Morningstar explained, "We were not aware of how the lemonade was made, who made the lemonade and of what the lemonade was made with."

Give me a break. If she doesn't know, so what? But kids trying their first experiment with entrepreneurship are being shut down all over America. Officials in Hazelwood, IllinoisIll., ordered little girls to stop selling Girl Scout cookies.

It made me want to try to jump through the legal hoops required to open a simple lemonade stand in New York City. Here's some of what one has to do:

— Register as sole proprietor with the County Clerk's Office (must be done in person)

— Apply to the IRS for an Employer Identification Number.

— Complete 15-hr Food Protection Course!

— After the course, register for an exam that takes 1 hour. You must score 70 percent to pass. (Sample question: "What toxins are associated with the puffer fish?") If you pass, allow three to five weeks for delivery of Food Protection Certificate.

— Register for sales tax Certificate of Authority

— Apply for a Temporary Food Service Establishment Permit. Must bring copies of the previous documents and completed forms to the Consumer Affairs Licensing Center.

Then, at least 21 days before opening your establishment, you must

arrange for an inspection with the Health Department's Bureau of Food Safety and Community Sanitation.

It takes about three weeks to get your appointment. If you pass, you can set up a business once you:

— Buy a portable fire extinguisher from a company certified by the New York Fire Department and set up a contract for waste disposal.

— We couldn't finish the process. Had we been able to schedule our health inspection and open my stand legally, it would have taken us 65 days.

I sold lemonade anyway. I looked dumb hawking it with my giant fire extinguisher on the table.

Tourists told me they couldn't believe that I had to get "all those permits." A Pakistani man said: "That's crazy! You should move to Pakistan!"

But I don't want to move to Pakistan.

Politicians say, "We support entrepreneurs," but the bureaucrats make it hard. The Feds alone add 80,000 pages of new rules every year. Local governments add more. There are so many incomprehensible rules that even the bureaucrats can't tell you what's legal. In the name of public safety, politicians strangle opportunity.

John Stossel's TV Special on America's explosion of laws, "Illegal Everything," will air tonight, Friday, at 9 p.m. EST on Fox News Channel.

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "Give Me a Break" and of "Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at <a href="http://www.johnstossel.com" <http://www.johnstossel.com>>johnstossel.com</a>. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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Comments

7 Comments | Post Comment
Also in Midway, GA, sometime around December (2011) a woman was rummaging through the local trash dump/pick up site for 'good stuff'. This was a woman with not a lot of income. Many people like to find usable or fixable items something like a treasure hunt. She was told to leave and that she could not pick through the trash or take anything because that is stealing from the government. Everything there belongs to the government.

So, now I suppose being poor, thrifty, or even homeless and trying to survive is illegal?????
Comment: #1
Posted by: d
Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:12 PM
Just sell the damn lemonade anyway. Unless the cops have time on their hands, they're not going to bother. Let them give you 100 summonses for it. Do you think the judge is going to care? Do you think the District Attorney wants to waste her time? Be sure to get out there and sell if you hear police sirens, because if the cops have their hands full with an emergency, there will be none available to hassle the kids.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Leonard
Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:44 AM
I had a company in Ohio. Did about $1000 gross per month. After three months in business I got a bill from the Ohio Tax Department for $12000. I thought it was a joke, and I ignored it to the last two days, then called. They said it was an "estimated" bill and I had 30 days to pay or reply. AFTER that it became cut in stone and I had to pay it. The estimate was what the big boys payed and they lumped everyone together.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Tom
Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:46 AM
I agree with the nonsense of police shutting down a child's lemonade stand; however, I did not appreciate John Stossel's comment regarding those who choose to drink raw milk as "silly food faddists". I was given raw, whole milk right out of the womb, given I grew up on a dairy farm. I am 47 years old and truly believe that the natural probiotics in raw milk are what have given me such a strong immune system and kept me "healthy as a horse". Organic and raw is not a fad, it is a smarter and healthier choice than the chemical and preservative-laden food that the government deems suitable for Americans. I'll take my risk with organic and raw over cancer causing chemicals any day.
Comment: #4
Posted by: CDiNoia
Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:51 PM
Can I purchase this program??
Comment: #5
Posted by: A Magruder
Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:15 PM
The second biggest business during alcohol prohibition in 1920s Detroit was liquor, at $215 million a year and employing an estimated 50,000 people. Authorities were not only helpless to stop it, many were part of the problem. During just one raid, the state police arrested Detroit Mayor John Smith, Michigan Congressman Robert Clancy, and Sheriff Edward Stein.
Just like their counter-parts of the 1920s, Drug cartels are eager and ready to show, that when it comes to business, they too, are completely non-partisan. They will buy-out and threaten politicians of any party; making deals with whoever can benefit them, and killing those who are brave or foolish enough to get in their way.
Prohibition comes with great human cost. If you support it you're either a black market profiteer, a corrupt politician, a terrorist, a sadomoralistic fake-conservative, or an authoritarian wing-nut-socialist.
As a prohibitionist, you've helped create a black market with massive incentives to hook both adults and children alike, while making these dangerous substances freely available in schools and prisons.
You've triggered the worst crime wave in history (ramping up extortion, kidnapping, carjacking and other crimes that directly prey on civilians), raised gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootlegging, and helped evolve local gangs into transnational enterprises with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, with significant social and military resources at their disposal.
Your insistence that only criminals should sell drugs has put previously unknown, dangerous, contaminated concoctions on our streets. Your aberrant ignorance has diverting scarce law-enforcement resources away from protecting peaceful citizens from YOUR ever-escalating prohibition-engendered mega-violence. - These are the very same citizens that you falsely claim to represent.
How can you even sleep at night, knowing that your actions are preventing the sick and dying from obtaining safe and effective medication? Knowing you are responsible for the horrific racial disparities which have bred generations of incarcerated and disenfranchised Afro Americans? Or knowing you're promoting a policy which kills our children, endangers our law enforcement and military personnel, counteracts our foreign policy, and reduces much of the developing world to anarchy? Mexico has become "Afghanistan with margaritas" - the situation in both of these countries is a direct result of your beloved policy of prohibition!
Comment: #6
Posted by: malcolm kyle
Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:13 AM
Kudo's John... it is the same in Canada... the insurance companies and their false actuary stats and connections between insurance and all aspects of our mortgage, banking and legal systems have resulted in irrational rules and laws that have stifled many dreams.

Bob
rwnelmes.ca
Comment: #7
Posted by: rwnelmes
Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:25 AM
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