Tuesday's HOT MIC

Tuesday's HOT MIC

For anyone who needed another reason to dislike government bureaucracy-some kids in D.C. got handcuffed for selling water on a hot day.

From the Washington Examiner:

On a hot and humid 88-degree summer day in Washington, D.C. in June, three teenagers were handcuffed and detained for selling water.

Yes, water. The teens were not selling drugs, stolen merchandise or bootleg cigarettes. They were selling water on the National Mall.

According to the U.S. Park Police, the teens were handcuffed for illegally vending without a license. They were detained by police but eventually released to their parents without charges. While this might seem like a minor incident, it is one all too frequent example of government taking away opportunities from young entrepreneurs.

These teenagers should have been celebrated for their initiative, not handcuffed. They saw a real human need and took action to meet it. On hot, humid days, people need water. These teens were not exploiting people or taking advantage of the needy; they were being creative problem-solvers. Isn't that what we want teenagers to aspire to become?

It is reasonable that people should comply with the law, but the question is whether the law reasonable. Is it reasonable to require teens to have a vending permit? In order to sell water on the National Mall, they would have to obtain a sidewalk vending permit from the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs for $1,200. They would also need an additional $476 for a Class A Vending License. To make matters worse, any teens selling water who are the primary license holders would have to pay a $55 fee for any of their friends to work with them. How are teenagers from low-income families supposed to do this?

We celebrate and protect people who are in the country illegally while literally and figuratively handcuffing teenagers who would rather make a buck than get in trouble.

I used to like to mow lawns to get some spending money when I was a 'tween and young teenager. The government occasionally tries to get in on that now. Thankfully, this particular city was so embarrassed by the national attention it received that it changed the law.

D.C. doesn't embarrass as easily, unfortunately.