The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

A Great Idea Was Birthed

On February 3rd, 2014, posted in: Uncategorized by

At ten (almost eleven years old), I was an entrepreneur. Because of my love for any sport and the fact that we lived on the peripheral of a golf course, it seemed like a natural that I would figure out something to do to make a buck. I loved money too.

I was adventurous, knew the difference between poison ivy and not, and loved to romp through the woods that lined much of the course. You combine that with an insatiable appetite for “pixie sticks,” “candy cigarettes,” and “sweet tarts” by the pound, and you got a kid that needed to seek economic freedom. I could envision never again asking mom or dad for nickels or dimes that always resulted in me being on the receiving end of some lecture that regularly ended with my being questioned on whether or not I recognized that “money doesn’t grow on trees.” Thus, a great idea was birthed.

Two things regularly happen on a public golf course. First, amateur golfers will always hit the ball into the woods and second, there is a point on the course that is the longest distance from the clubhouse that almost always directly intersects with an optimum level of thirst. That is the exact place where I set up my lemonade stand and sold “like new” golf balls that I scoured the woods and the weeds to bring to market. Just off the private property of the course, next to the sixth hole tee box is where you would find me just about every day of the summer hawking golf balls and quenching thirsts.

Economic freedom for sure. I made about $200 that summer. It was 1968. I was free of the many government shackles that exist today. My guess is that if I tried to replicate the success of the summer of ’68, I would fall short of my previous mark.

What do we know about business when the government intervenes with taxes, regulations, and limited mobility? It all leads to economic stagnation, higher unemployment, and an ever-increasing belief that we are dwindling in our country’s economic superiority. Whether it is a lemonade stand or a “slightly used” golf ball business, new government costs today would eat up way too much of the profit.

So if I wanted to optimize my prosperity in the golf ball/lemonade business today, I would need to go to Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand or Canada. These are the countries considered to be “economically free.” The U.S.? Well, we’ve fallen out of the top ten, have had seven consecutive years of decline, and are now known as only “mostly free.” So much for the “land of the free,” Mr. Francis Scott Key.

It is disturbing and inexcusable that this great country, built on freedom, continues to create policies that serve as the antithesis of our own growth. We live in a global economy and we must enhance the rules of business in order that mom & pop, and big companies alike want to make the US their home – not Hong Kong. Then and only then do we get sustainable jobs that result in a protracted period of consumer spending that leads to economic growth. When this happens, we’ll return to a superior economy.

BTW, lemonade was $.10 per cup. Golf balls were about $.25 per ball or five for a dollar.

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