My fellow Americans, today, the youth unemployment rate is at 25 percent.
Many young Americans, graduating from high school or college, are returning to live at home, because they can’t get a job.
Employers report that they are having a hard time filling open jobs because young adults don’t have the skills they need.
They report that many recent hires require significant training, just to get them ready to work. Show up on time. Learn from mistakes. Be more productive. Skills that any worker needs to know – but today’s young adults still don’t know.
What is the government’s response to all this?
What emergency action is the government taking to immerse our kids in the world of work… and get them ready to participate in our economy?
Create incentives for employers to set up apprenticeship programs?
Force schools to focus on labor market skills?
Strengthen after-school programs so students can work closely with entrepreneurs?
We are seeing instead a different government approach.
The government is sending out armies of enforcement officers, to shut down lemonade stands and bake sales.
Yup, you heard that right.
Kids setting out tables, selling lemonade to raise money for charity… or for a school trip… or just for the fun of it… are being shut down.
In Massachusetts, they banned bake sales at school during the day and are working on banning them in the evening, too. Last time I checked, these bake sales helped put uniforms on student athletes, paid for textbooks, and taught kids the value of hard work.
In Appleton, Wisconsin, 9-year-old Lydia Coenen and her sister Vivian run a lemonade stand during the local Car Show. It wasn’t a big money-maker. Four kids would make $100 between them. Well, the vendors inside the car show complained. They didn’t want to compete with a bunch of cute kids. So what did the city council do? They banned the kids from selling lemonade.
Midway Georgia wanted to charge Kasity Dixon, 14, Tiffany Cassin, 12, and Skylar Roberts, 10, $50 for a permit to sell lemonade.
Coralville, Iowa shut down a lemonade stand run by 4-year-old Abigail Krutsinger. FOUR YEARS OLD.
In Hazlewood, Missouri, they banned two young girl scouts from selling Girl Scout cookies from their front yard. Why? A city law bans the “sale of commodities” from a home. So I guess Girl Scout cookies are like pork belly futures and rolls of copper.
I could go on and on. And you know, when we see these stories, we see the same thing. Public outcry. Elected officials try to explain. Public still upset. But in the end, the elected officials and city managers stick to their guns. So, no lemonade stands. No bake sales. No Girl Scout cookies. And we just move on.
But I wonder.
What are American kids learning about work… and entrepreneurship… and the leering power of government?
What are we teaching our kids?
Here is what I fear:
Our kids are learning, first of all, that if you want to make money, you need permission from the government. So they’re learning to be passive.
Our kids are learning, second, that if you want to make money, you need to pay powerful people first. So they’re learning about coercion and bribery.
Our kids are learning, third, that if you want to make money, you need to have money. So they’re learning about oligopolies.
Our kids are learning, fourth, that if you want to have a business, don’t let your neighbors and friends see you trying. They might call the cops! So they’re learning about rent seeking and NIMBYism.
These are terrible lessons to learn at any age.
And now we see the effects.
We have a generation of young Americans who have been raised to be passive. Powerless. To stand silent and mute at the mercy of the all-powerful government.
And so why are we surprised that when they graduate from school and enter the workforce, they are utterly unprepared? Why is it that when they have to show initiative… innovation… hard work… commitment… they can’t?
Look at what we teach them when they try. We shut down their bake sales. Lemonade stands. Girl Scout cookie tables.
We don’t give our kids a chance to learn how to work. How to sell. How to invent. We just don’t. We actually try to drum it out of them at a young age.
I’m not suggesting that we push our kids into work at a young age. They should be learning. Having fun. Opening up their minds.
But isn’t that what having a lemonade stand is? A lemonade stand is not going to be a big corporation, spoiling the environment. It’s not going to put some big lemonade company out of business. It won’t ship jobs overseas.
It’s fun. It’s about learning. It’s about just trying something new. It’s what kids do.
But I wonder. Maybe by putting these kids out of business…we are teaching them a lesson they need to know.
I mean, think about it: Aren’t business leaders around the country complaining about how hard it is to deal with the government these days? Aren’t they afraid of the power of government litigation and regulation… the risk that one day, a man in a suit with a government badge will just shut them down? Didn’t a government official just recently brag about how he “crucifies” businesses, just to set an example?
So maybe shutting down lemonade stands IS a good idea.
Maybe, just maybe, we are preparing our kids for the real world after all.
Or maybe, we’ve just lost our way. Maybe we could stop this.
On June 13, join me and get out there and put out a lemonade stand. Hold a bake sale. Do it with your kids. Let your kids take charge. If you can’t do it yourself, go and support someone who does. It’s important. We don’t have to let our kids learn all the wrong lessons about what it means to be free. We can be better than this.
Thanks for watching. May God bless you, and may God bless the Republic.