John Stossel: Washington is crushing the American Dream
When I was in college at all-male Princeton, I tried to make money by adding photos to a snarky guide to neighboring girls’ schools. The guide had been a profitable publishing success, and my idea was simply to add the girls’ pictures. Schools like Wellesley, Bryn Mawr, Vassar, etc., already published those pictures, so all I had to do was get permission from administrators at those schools. Surprisingly, they gave it to me.
I’ve started other businesses since then — and they didn’t succeed either.
We know that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, but few people know that Edison filed 1,000 patents for ideas that went nowhere. He was fired by the telegraph office. He lost money investing in a cement company and an iron business.
But they all kept striving — and succeeded. They were lucky to live in America, where investors and your neighbors encourage you to try and try again. We are lucky to benefit from their persistence.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban left school with no money and no job prospects. He managed to become a billionaire by creating several businesses from scratch. I asked him if he could do it again today, and he said, “No … now there’s so much paperwork and regulation, so many things that you have to sign up for that you have a better chance of getting in trouble than you do of being successful.”
It’s not just big corporations that get hassled by regulators, the way progressives might like to imagine.
Kids’ lemonade stands — and one I tried to open in New York City — are sometimes shut down for not having proper business licenses. When Chloe Stirling was 11 years old, health officials shut down her home cupcake-making business.
Big government doesn’t send us the message that we can make it on our own and that great things may happen if we dare to try. Government mostly hinders us, and then brags that it is waiting to take charge when we fail.
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