You’ve heard of “gateway drugs.” What about “gateway capitalism”?
The mayor of Clayton, California, apparently believes that two little girls selling zucchinis and melons by the roadside is the start of something bad.
The city cracked down on Katie and Sabrina Lewis’s veggie stand. Mayor Gregg Manning defended the bust, saying that “They may start out with a little card-table and selling a couple of things, but then who is to say what else they have. Is all the produce made there, do they make it themselves? Are they going to have eggs and chickens for sale next?”
Heavens! Capitalism run amok! Streetside vendors are to be allowed only when city governments run the show, as in the growing movement to establish old-fashioned day-markets. You know, Saturday Markets and Sunday Markets and the like.
But veggie stands, like dreaded lemonade stands, are illegal in Clayton.
You can understand the concern, I guess: Traffic problems. This police operation started off on one complaint. But most neighbors defend the stand, saying that traffic was never a problem.
So now 11-year-old Katie has gotten political. She circulated a petition to reopen the stand, and has lots of signatures. Best of luck to Katie and Sabrina, but I am afraid that the lesson you’ll really be learning isn’t about capitalism at all. It’s about bureaucracy.
And an awful void of common sense.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.