Monday, June 28, 2010

Big Government Article On Eminent Domain...

I had actually found an article on Big Government that I can agree with!  Written by Bob Ewing, the article discusses eminent domain and events that followed the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Kelo v. City of New London, which essentially allowed the government to reassign property ownership if it is the belief that the transfer promises to generate greater tax revenue, and in theory improve the area as well.

According to the article, after the Supreme Court ruling, state governments had actually created stricter rules regarding the practice, strengthening property rights and making it harder for something like this to occur again.  I am certain this article was included on Big Government to insinuate that the Democrats were behind such measures and freedom-loving teabaggers were there to prevent something like this to happen - just consider the part where Ewing mentions that a "libertarian public interest law firm" litigated the matter and the constant talking point discussing how the Tea Party was born on libertarian ideals.  Teabaggers love to run stories about the federal government positioning itself to seize public lands or giving land away - to Mexico!

I agree completely with the dissenting opinion written by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor:
Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms.
She argued that the ruling eliminates "any distinction between private and public use of property — and thereby effectively delete[s] the words 'for public use' from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment."

My personal opinion is that eminent domain is a dangerous practice, and more likely then not, it will fall into the hands of the corrupt.  Ewing wrote that the redevelopment project that won against Susette Kelo's neighborhood had over $80 million in taxpayers' money funneled to them and the development is nothing more then one big empty lot inhabited by feral cats.

One has to keep in mind that this decision also came at the beginning of the housing bubble, and in my opinion, developers and governing officials got greedy with the promise of increased taxes - which undoubtedly could equal into more pet projects being funded that could help come election time.  Protecting property rights is one way to keep government in check - this is one reason why this author is opposed to unregulated homeowners associations, that use money and influence to threaten property rights to get their "fair share."

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