Government interfering in the market — again

The Associated Press reports:

It was a case of bureaucracy run amok, at least from the perspective of the children operating a lemonade stand for charity near the U.S. Open.

Kids from two families put up the stand on private property — a neighbor’s yard that just happens to be on a corner across from a spectator entrance to Congressional.

During Thursday’s first round, they received three visits from county officials, twice with a warning. The third time, a citation was issued for operating the stand without a permit. It carried a fine of up to $500 and required a court appearance.

“Does every kid now that sells lemonade have to register with the county?” Carrie Marriott, whose children were hawking the drinks, asked a county official in an exchange caught on video by WUSA-TV.

The answer: yes. In theory, every lemonade stand in every private yard is supposed to have a permit. It’s a law that’s not usually enforced, but Montgomery County spokeswoman Bonnie Ayers said this particular stand could create a safety hazard in an area where police want to keep vehicular and pedestrian traffic moving during the tournament.

Chastised, the little capitalists will shift gears: “…the plan had been to donate 50 percent of the proceeds to Just Tryan It, a nonprofit that helps children with cancer. Now it’s all going to charity.”

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