Chicago Sun-Times columnist Terry Savage happened upon two little girls giving away lemonade at their roadside lemonade stand. She was affronted at this economic illiteracy: after all, the raw materials for the lemonade had come out their parents' pockets, so they should be charging for the product! The mentality that leads to children giving away their parents' things (rather than selling them) is what has led to America's economic decline, according to Savage:
I pushed the button to roll down the window and stuck my head out to set them straight.
"You must charge something for the lemonade," I explained. "That's the whole point of a lemonade stand. You figure out your costs — how much the lemonade costs, and the cups — and then you charge a little more than what it costs you, so you can make money. Then you can buy more stuff, and make more lemonade, and sell it and make more money…"
No wonder America is getting it all wrong when it comes to government, and taxes, and policy. We all act as if the "lemonade" or benefits we're "giving away" is free.
Get that, kids? The correct thing to do with the stuff you appropriate from others is sell it, not give it away! Sounds about right — companies take over our public aquifers and sell us the water they pump out of them; telcos get our rights of way for their infrastructure, then insist that they be able to tier their pricing without regard to the public interest. Corporatism in a nutshell, really.
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