A 13-year-old Michigan teen saved nearly $1,000 to start a hot dog business as a way to help take pressure off of his disabled parents. On the same day he set up shop, the city of Holland shut him down.
“I was trying to help my mom and my dad, because they’re both on disability,” recounted Nathan Duszynski. “So I was just trying to bring in some money for them and the household while they’re struggling.”
Duszynski set up a hot dog stand for about 10 minutes before he was told he would have to leave the location. The Michigan teen thought he had jumped through all the necessary hoops, but a zoning law prevents food stands from competing with certain restaurants.
“What makes market capitalism work is the ability of individuals to provide highly nuanced, competing alternatives to some existing business,” commented Michael LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “This seems like just another sad episode of some government micromanaging the lives of many to benefit a few.”
The teen’s efforts to help his parents, one of whom suffers from epilepsy and the other from multiple sclerosis, were profitable. Shoreline Container, a local packaging company, bought Duszynski’s cart for $2,500. Shoreline Container plans to use the cart for outdoor cookouts.
Henry Juszkiewicz, CEO of Gibson Guitar, a company that has faced its own share of legal issues, said: “Policy makers must stop criminalizing capitalism. This begins by stopping the practice of creating new criminal offenses, or wielding obscure foreign laws, as a method of regulating businesses.
“Especially in a bearish economy, entrepreneurs need to be able to operate without the fear that inadvertently breaking an obscure regulation or unknowingly violating a foreign statute could shut down their company and land them or their employees in jail.”