F-You, Neighborhood Girls. Welcome to Capitalism

Chicago Sun-Times Columnist Terry Savage recalls a story in a recent column about stopping to buy lemonade from three young girls in a north shore neighborhood, only to become appalled and outraged to learn that the girls were giving away the lemonade for free.

Savage explains: “That really set me off, as my regular readers can imagine. ‘No!’ I exclaimed from the back seat. ‘That’s not the spirit of giving. You can only really give when you give something you own. They’re giving away their parents’ things — the lemonade, cups, candy. It’s not theirs to give.'”

She continues: “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.”

Savage’s lessons in capitalism: “If we can’t teach our kids the basics of running a lemonade stand, how can we ever teach Congress the basics of economics?”

I think Savage doesn’t go far enough. Not only can the girls not give away something that’s not theirs, shouldn’t they also have to buy the lemonade mix, the water and cups from their parents before they can then resell them for a profit? I mean, if you really want to teach them there’s no free lunch, then they should pay a 10% above wholesale price for the raw materials before then marking it up to a retail price. Also, they’ll need to pay a contractor for the ¬†build out of the lemonade stand and a designer for the signage. Plus, you mention that this was on the North Shore, so they should pay a pretty high rent for their prime location as well. Also, they need to keep track of their expenses. They can write off a percentage of the cost of equipment¬†purchased to make the Lemonade. I’m not sure that exact number. They’ll need to check with their accountant.