11 year old Madison Root is finding out the hard way that big government always impedes economic growth. She wants to sell bundles of mistletoe over the holidays in order to raise money so she can get braces for her teeth, but the City of Portland shut her down for not having a business license.
She’s hoping to raise money to chip in for her braces. The dentist says they’ll cost $4,800.
"I felt like I could help my dad with the money," she said.
Madison and her dad bagged up the mistletoe and started selling them next to the Skidmore Fountain in Downtown Portland on Saturday morning.
That’s also where the Portland Saturday Market holds its weekly venue.
A private security guard asked Madison to stop selling because city ordinance bans commerce like that without proper approval.
"I wouldn’t think I’d have any problems because people are asking for money, people are selling stuff, this is a public place," said Madison.
And she’s right — to a point.
In fact, we saw people protesting, hold signs, playing music, and begging all over the area on Sunday morning as well.
The Saturday Market is incredibly diverse.
You can buy whistles, order crepes and sign a marijuana petition all without walking more than ten steps.
But you can’t open a business without going through the market’s formal application process. The market sets rules for vendors which Madison agrees make sense.
Begging is different.
That’s a form of free speech, protected under the First Amendment, explains Mark Ross, spokesman for the Portland Parks Bureau, which manages the city park and rents it to the Saturday Market.
The guard, hired by the market from a private security firm, told Madison she could sell her products on city sidewalk outside the park’s boundaries or simply ask people for donations for her braces.
"I don’t want to beg! I would rather work for something than beg," said Madison.
"It’s crazy. People can get money for pot. But I can’t get money for braces. I’m working for this! They’re just sitting down on their butts all day asking for pot."
There’s a fine liberal policy for you: you can’t work hard and earn money without the state’s approval, but you can beg instead. You’ll find this kind of absurd statist policy at every level of government.
I’ve got some more bad news for you Madison: the Obamacare medical device tax is going to make your braces even more expensive. That’s big government: it’ll get you every time.