Government Shuts Down Little Girl's Cupcake Business.
This is a story about a tiny bit of governmental intrusion in post-Reagan America. By these little bits, government grows exponentially.
Troy, Illinois (population 9,888), a small town in a small county east of East Saint Louis, is the hometown of 11-year-old Chloe Stirling who pursued the American dream by opening an entrepreneurial cupcake business selling to neighbors and donating to local charities. Within two years she built her sales up to $200 per month less what she spent for ingredients.
Chloe's parents gave her a little refrigerator, and her grandparents bought her a KitchenAid mixer. Her hard work and long hours attracted the attention of the Belleville News-Democrat which published a 1/26/14 laudatory story about Chloe's Cupcakes.
Unintended Consequence -- Crackdown! That glowing story about the 11-year-old girl entrepreneur was read by business-hating government bureaucrats, and they immediately shut down her cupcake business. Well-paid bureaucrats do not live in Troy; they all live in bigger houses in bigger cities, but when they read that story, they instinctively knew that cupcake girl must be punished and her business destroyed.
The government acted rapidly. One day after the newspaper story appeared, bureaucrats told Chloe's mother they were shutting her down. Chloe, it seems, was unaware that in this free country she had to pay the government for the privilege of selling her cupcakes.
To sell a cupcake, Chloe must first buy a business license from the government. But to get a license, she first needed to be inspected by government bureaucrats, and buy a permit from the government. And before obtaining that permit, Chloe must build a second kitchen onto her parents' house completely separate from the kitchen used by Chloe's parents. And that new kitchen must be fully equipped with government mandated equipment inspected by the government. Ergo, spend $40,000+ to sustain a taxable income of $80 per month.
When I was Chloe's age, lemonade and iced tea stands were commonly operated by kids. Some sold hot chocolate in the winter months. My little sister baked brownies for neighbors. Some kid-businesses failed, and some made big bucks, but none were harassed by the government. Free enterprise was admired rather than demonized. Our non-union public school teachers taught us entrepreneurialism (Marx called it capitalism). Miss Hollem, my junior high school math teacher, oversaw our hallway business selling pencils, papers, and erasers. Distribution of the wealth? We distributed the profits -- to ourselves. Many of today's union teachers condemn free enterprise; they call it capitalism.
In future America, only the government will sell cupcakes; there will be only one kind of cupcake, and you will like it!
Michael J. Fahy is an Attorney at Law in Chicago