Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Kelo v. City of New London
"On the campaign trail last year, President Bush said a priority of his second term would be to 'build an ownership society, because ownership brings security, and dignity, and independence.' Sounds good to us," reads a Wall Street Journal editorial today. "But the rhetoric doesn't square with news that the administration may file an amicus brief against property owners in an upcoming Supreme Court case concerning eminent domain.Oregon passed Measure 37, which more than anything is about "takings". In this case, reducing the value of property by our Land Use Planning Laws. I suspect, Oregonians believe in the "good" Oregon is doing for the environment, therefore the ends justify the means. If property owners lose value by virtue of regulations, well that's the price you pay for no urban sprawl.
"Worried that a Bush Administration brief against land owners is in the works, the National Taxpayers Union, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and other free-market groups signed a missive sent to the White House in October. No doubt, Business Roundtable-types are pressuring Mr. Bush on the other side, along with states and localities that feel that private property can be taken and then parceled out to maximize tax revenues. The letter urges the Administration to "affirm its support for property rights and refrain from filing a brief in Kelo." So far, the response has been a troubling silence.
In some parts of the country, government is taking private property and selling it to a developer, justified by the good it is doing for all concerned (except for those that lost their property). If government takes property from one and sells it to another for development, chances are the property has a lower economic breakeven point than if the developer had tried to persuade owners to sell their property. That benefits the developer, but at what cost to neighboring competitors. Now their are two costs to the taking. Basically, we who are paying taxes are subsidizing the developer to compete against us with lower costs. Another example might be the airlines. One goes bankrupt, restructures its debt or walks away from it, and now has a lower cost structure than competitors, forcing them into bankrupcy.
RoguePundit had some excellent things to say on this topic on October 3, 2004 in Eminent Domain
I urge you to contact the Administration to "affirm its support for property rights and refrain from filing a brief in Kelo v. City of New London.