How many of us as kids attempted to make extra money by washing cars, mowing lawns, shoveling snow, babysitting, or setting up a local lemonade stand near the 14th green on a golf course on a hot summer day? My guess is that a lot of us in some way or another tried to make money to buy that one thing our parents wouldn’t, couldn’t afford, or wanted us to purchase ourselves in order to learn the value of hard work and the purchasing power of a dollar.
That’s exactly what Nathan Duszynski, a 13-year old entrepreneur from Holland, MI, tried to do. After saving $1,200, mostly from mowing lawns and shoveling snow, he bought a hot dog stand. He started Nathan’s Hot Dog Hut to earn money for college, save for a car, and help out his disabled parents — his mother has epilepsy and his father has multiple sclerosis.
Checking with the city before purchasing the cart to make sure he didn’t need any licenses or permits, even going to city hall in person with his mom, Nathan was one step closer to creating a new opportunity for himself.
Ten minutes after setting up his cart in the private parking lot of a local sporting goods store, Nathan was shut down by a city zoning official. The city of Holland bans food carts based on an ordinance in that area in order to minimize competition for the eight tax-paying restaurants from mobile food vendors. This is crony capitalism. Instead of success being determined through market competition and the rule of law, the government shows favoritism towards a certain few.
Nathan Duszynski (13) of Holland, MI
Arthur Brooks, author of the book, The Road to Freedom, writes “that the key to our success lies in free enterprise — the system our Founders left us to maximize liberty, create individual opportunity, and reward entrepreneurship. Free enterprise creates the opportunities our ancestors came to America seeking — the opportunities that allowed them to pursue their happiness in a new land. It is the free enterprise system that treated them fairly for the first time; instead of being penalized for lacking a noble birth, they were rewarded for their hard work and personal responsibility. Free enterprise made a country of immigrants into the most powerful, prosperous nation in the history of the world.”
Entrepreneurs, like Nathan, deserve a government that stands aside and allows competition and prosperity. Allowing the established restaurants to have an advantage over other entrepreneurs through laws is egregious and in direct opposition to the ideas of economic freedom.
As there are numerous other examples of young entrepreneurs being shut down by government, whether it be food carts or lemonade stands, one stands to wonder how this affects these individuals in the future. America thrives on its history of entrepreneurship. It’s time we support all entrepreneurs, young and old, and promote economic freedom and prosperity.
Watch this video from the Mackinac Center to see Nathan explain it in his own words.