Boneheaded Bureaucracy Shuts Down Kid’s Hot Dog Stand

It is time to start collecting candidates for this year’s Fahrenheit 459 award. This is the award we here at The Liberty Bullhorn give out to the government entity that has demonstrated a particularly strong ability to exercise its power with an absolute minimum of intelligence and purposefulness behind its actions. As I am sure you know, the temperature -459F is the point where the thermal energy of matter vanishes. Thermal energy is the sign of motion. When a government official stops thinking intelligently, the thermal energy produced by his or her thought processes will also vanish. Hence the name of the award.

Today we can announce the first of this year’s candidates. As explained in this excellent little video from the Mackinac Center (a free-market think tank in Michigan) zoning official in Holland, Mich., bravely shut down a young entrepreneur by rigidly enforcing the city’s zoning laws:

So first the city of Holland, Mich., raises the taxes on certain downtown businesses to build heated sidewalks on some streets but not other. Then they ban competition to those businesses in order to protect their higher tax revenues.

Government causes more government.

The solution is not to issue special permits to this young entrepreneur. The solution is for the city to sell the sidewalks to the store owners and remove all competition-stifling regulations. But that aside, all this zoning official would have had to do was to ask this young entrepreneur to move his hot dog stand a tiny little bit to outside of the zoning restriction – or talk to one of the restaurants if they would be happy to give this guy a chance at selling his hot dogs.