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13-Year-Old Businessman Gets Shut Down by Local Regulators

Written by Gary North on July 24, 2012

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.


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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19 thoughts on “13-Year-Old Businessman Gets Shut Down by Local Regulators

  1. Magnolia says:

    Imagine restaurants and a union afraid of a young boy. Talk about lack of confidence. When this young man turns 18, I hope he opens a CHAIN of hot dog carts — I'll back him!

  2. This is why so-called "professional business licenses" are completely useless.

    These types of licenses do not protect the public from errant operators. Their only use is to create barriers to entry for new operators.

    I would be curious to find out why a fully-licensed business (of any type) is something that's in the public good. We are currently seeing, on a nationwide basis, how valuable some university diplomas are; what makes a piece of paper issued by a government racketeer so essential for selling a specific good or service?

    What is it about a piece of paper that makes the operation of a business any better? It's just a way of trampling those that do not have dot every 'i' or cross every 't', but it does not mean that the products sold by the so-called "legitimate" business are any safer than those sold by a non-licensed individual.

  3. Bill Samuel says:

    This is one of the interesting areas where the libertarian-oriented right and the left agree. Private businesses get governments to use its power on their behalf, at the expense of other citizens. This happens all the time. Both Democratic and Republican politicians participate in these schemes. I regret that Ron Paul and Ralph Nader abandoned their idea of a libertarian-progressive coalition which they spoke of not long before the Presidential campaign began. Both oppose special interests using government to gain special advantage, and the imperialist use of military force where we don't belong. Such a coaltion of the disaffected would have had a chance to upset the political apple cart, while neither part of the coaliton alone can get enough popular support to do so. I regret the missed opportunity because I think circumstances made this a particular good time for this strategy.

  4. The best way to see how wrong and out of whack life in the US has become is to watch how it treats the young and defenseless members of society.

  5. This is the least of the eroding of our liberties. Problem is there are almost half of the people in this country who depend on government who will vote for Obama. Lord help us. The governor of North Carolina, a Republican, set up an 800 number for people to call for a ride to the BMV to get voter ID and 30 people in the whole state called. . I hope the young people stay home instead of voting, the independents and the Jewish people see the evil, and the women do not sell their souls for free contaception.

  6. Having lived in this neck of the woods, I can attest that Holland MI is THE ultra-conservative, Christian Reformed center of gravity in Michigan…It just goes to show that conservatives will also love government regulation when it serves their selfish interest.

  7. 2WarAbnVet says:

    The governor of North Carolina – Bev Purdue – is a Democrat. She, unlike Obama, is fully aware that she has done a rotten job, and will not seek reelection.

  8. Atlas is shrugging again…that kid has learned a very valuable lesson in his government…perhaps he will become an activist and get the laws that the union and restraurant owners have protecting their turf overturned.I applaud his entrepernership and his hard work..hope it makes him all the more determined to succeed in life,,a good kid.

  9. Max Penn says:

    America was once a nation of free enterprise and free thinkers. If Henry Ford had to start today he would blocked. Do you really think America has a future with democrats in power?

  10. Evermyrtle says:

    If it were in my community and I knew who had anything to do with shutting this child down, I would go out of my way to shop somewhere, anywhere else. I would refuse them my business!!!

  11. Live free or die says:

    He didn't destroy his own business, "somebody else made that happen".

  12. This boy should move to Boise, ID where except for the liquor laws Gov'mt stays out of the way.

  13. Amendment 14 – Citizenship Rights (ratified July 9, 1868) — "No state shall make or enforce any law, which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." …Debra J.M. Smith

  14. car sales utah says:

    Why didn't his parents help him by putting it in thier name and then gone to city counsel to change the way things are done. I am not sure how much of a lesson was learned because nothing was taught. He should be taught to make the system work for him, not against him.

  15. You naive if you think that you can fight city hall. It wasn't possible 50 years ago. People don't even bother anymore.

  16. Communism approaches…….vote to remove it in NOVEMBER…….

  17. Texas Chris says:

    This kid needs to run for city office.

  18. Texas Chris says:

    The power to license is the power to control.

    Once an activity falls under license laws, entry is necessarily limited. In order to participate in that activity, you must meet the ever increasingly difficult criteria, often proposed by those already involved in the activity.

    Established firms, government monopolies, unions. Those are your culprits.

  19. Texas Chris says:

    Remove it? Or replace it with a communist with a different brand name?