Recently, in my town, we have been embroiled in several issues regarding perceived over-reach of government. The most egregious and urgent issue has been the city council’s exercise of “eminent domain.”
Eminent domain was a controversial concept since the inception of our nation. Early on, we recognized the need to have access to property we don’t own in order to create much needed resources to aid in commerce, transportation, public source and safety.
However, this exercise has morphed into something insidious. A governmental crap-shoot with tax payer monies to transfer private properties and businesses to others in order to “make an improvement.” The problem is that this is seldom a direct solution to whatever situation they are trying to address.
If the folks inside of the government halls would rise from their padded chairs and step outside the cocoon of constructed influences… they could recognize that their theft of property only leads to a cosmetic change in landscape at best. They also need to examine their own track record in return-on-taxpayer-investment for economic development. I think they would shrink from the results.
In my area, they built a beautiful convention center. Every year, they like to tout how much money it brings into the local economy. Always ignoring the fact that the overall investment from the taxpayers has been dismal. If you can imagine the tax monies of elderly retirees, single mothers, struggling young people starting out in life being funneled into million dollar projects to bring tourists in to feed large corporations… and possibly trickling into local business.
I have not even addressed the individual home owners, or local business owners, that have their lives, dreams and hopes snatched from them. These individuals put thought, imagination, treasure and personal sweat equity into building a life on their personal property. Only to be told they are being “fairly compensated” for having it forcibly taken away from them.
As a Libertarian, my ideal would be to abolish the entire concept of eminent domain. As an activist in liberty minded issues; I have been promoting the idea of governmental restraints on the use of eminent domain at the state level. I have written a letter to my state representative and plan on writing one to the local newspaper. I urge all liberty minded people to do the same. Please forward all stories concerning the abuse to eminent domain to me so I may be able to catalog them for future articles.