Tales of Tadeusz

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Hohenwald News: Property Rights Trashed

Eminent domain is the right of the government to take property from a private property owner, offer the owner what the government considers a fair price, and move the bulldozers in. Its considered necessary, but not lovely.

Sometimes the needs of the many do outweigh the needs of the few, but go to far on that road, and you end up in a Third World nation. But because our system is not perfect, because we live in a finite universe, we need Eminent Domain.

Its for roads, and dams, and building hospitals. And even then it can be and has been greatly abused. There was back in the old days a valley full of clover farmers, an odd farm to be sure, who earned thousands each year from their crop. And then the gov't valued their property as if it was not a productive business, and gave each farmer slightly more than what they would usually earn in a year.

Only one guy got a fair price, but thats because he basically spent the next six months with his cowboy boots atop the gov't official''s desk who was handling the deal. Badgered the guy until justice was done. But that still left a whole valley full of farmers who didn't have the moxie or the time to defend themselves.

Okay, thats bad enough.

Now imagine that a developer wants to build a strip mall on top of your house. And the local city council sees the tax benefits that would flow to the city, and gives him the keys to bulldoze down your family home. With you getting whatever the government thinks is just.

For a hospital, you might stand for this, but for a strip mall !?!

And the Supreme Court has come out in support of this. Okay, now I'm afraid.

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