Government Tells Kids – “Don’t Work, Beg”

In Portland, Oregon a story played out that happens every day all over the country. A couple of parents learned that their daughter would need braces and that those braces would cost an exorbitant amount. Like most Americans, these parents were worried that the thousands of dollars they’d have to lay out for the braces could really hurt their family’s finances.

Their daughter, Madison Root, seeing her parents concern decided to step up and do something about it. The little girl asked her dad to help her collect mistletoe from her uncle’s farm where many oak trees grow, so that she could sell them in the city to help with the cost of her braces.

Her dad agreed.

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They collected the mistletoe, hand wrapped them and tied the bags off with a bow. Then she and her father headed to downtown Portland to sell their wares.

That’s when the government stepped in.

Every Saturday, the Portland Saturday Market comes together and people from all walks of life converge in the downtown setting to buy and sell goods, perform, people watch, and to panhandle. However since Madison didn’t have permission from the government, she was not allowed to sell her mistletoe.

But the security personnel did have another option for her… she could beg.

City laws wouldn’t allow her to sell her mistletoe, but she could go around the market begging people to give her money to help her parents pay for her braces.

apot“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.”

“I want to do something for a good cause,” said Madison. “I don’t want to beg.”

On Sunday, Madison’s story was broadcast on the local news, and by Tuesday the Mayor of Portland was looking for answers.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales confirmed Tuesday morning he met with Commissioner Amanda Fritz to discuss why city code would ban a child from selling mistletoe from a public park while allowing begging, pan-handling, singing, and protesting.

If any of you intrepid readers knows Mayor Hales, have him give me a call at the Eagle Rising office. I can tell him just how to fix this problem. Ready for it?

Stop. Stifling. Freedom.

It’s a public park, let people interact freely! As long as they aren’t hurting each other, why is it a problem for a child to sell mistletoe? Or for an adult to sell caricature paintings? Governments are under constant pressure to “do stuff” and so they feel they have to make rules, regulations and ordinances so that the people see them “doing stuff.” But it’s not necessary. Don’t try to fix problems that don’t exist. People are smart enough to make decisions that benefit themselves, and if they aren’t, they should have the ability to live with the consequences.

I know that some of you are wondering what happened to poor Madison’s attempt to raise some money for her braces. Well, don’t fret. She got more business than she could have dreamed about after the government’s Scrooge act.

By Monday, KATU viewers had placed hundreds of orders and a local entrepreneur even donated $1,000 in seed money to help Madison grow her business… People from all over the country have been contacting KATU’s newsroom trying to reach Madison Root to order mistletoe.

Thankfully there have been many folks calling and writing in to express their displeasure with the city government. People seem to recognize rather quickly that teaching our children to beg rather than to work is probably not the best way to train future generations.

We’ve heard from CEOs, Army Captains and people in Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Indiana, Virginia, South Carolina, Colorado, Massachusetts, California, Georgia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, California, and Texas.

And those are only the people who happened to mention where they live.

“Never beg for anything – and never give up – why are we teaching our children the wrong thing?” wrote a woman named Constance in an email to KATU reporter Dan Cassuto.

Some people aren’t pleased.

“I find it quite offensive,” wrote another viewer, upset with Madison’s message that laws should encourage working, not begging.

Greetings_from_the_Welfare_StateSadly, in general, Americans seem to be missing this message of work trumping handouts. Our nation continues electing leaders who implement ever more expansive welfare policies, making it harder for people to earn money through work and easier for people to earn money through “redistribution.” The story of Madison Root is actually the story of millions of Americans, forced by the welfare state out of work and onto welfare rolls.

The problem is circular. The broader we expand the welfare state, the higher we must raise taxes, the more difficult it becomes for entrepreneurs, the less people they can hire, the more people find themselves out of work…. The more people “need” welfare.

The answer for our nation’s problems is the same as the answer for Madison’s.

Stop. Stifling. Freedom.

Get the government out of the way. Let the people interact freely.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

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