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-   -   What do we do? (http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=185570)

Heavyarms 01-22-2008 10:56 AM

What do we do?
 
Here is an interesting question that I have to answer for my ethics in public policy class.

In 2000, the city of New London, Connecticut attempted to put into place an economic development plan that required land that was currently owned by tenants. It was a sound, well done economic plan. About ten property owners sued the city of New London, stating that they could not use eminent domain if their property was being given from them to another private company. It made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court in Kelo vs. New London. The Court ruled that in this case, eminent domain won. The owners did not have the right to their property, because economic development benefits the general welfare of all, even if it gives it to another private entity. What do you think? They would get compensated for the value, of course. Good move or bad?

Totenkopf 01-22-2008 08:16 PM

I'd say it's not good. Any expansion/misuse of emminent domain is ultimately a threat to private property rights. Once the precedent is set, it becomes very difficult to undo any resultant damage.

Heavyarms 01-22-2008 10:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Totenkopf
I'd say it's not good. Any expansion/misuse of emminent domain is ultimately a threat to private property rights. Once the precedent is set, it becomes very difficult to undo any resultant damage.

In the dissenting opinion of this case, Justice O'Connor mentions pretty much what you just stated, although it was a bit less sensitive about eminent domain (here is the text of the case: www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/04-108.pdf.

My question to you is this: do you not think that it would be okay even if government did it responsibly?

Totenkopf 01-23-2008 02:10 AM

Quote:

In the dissenting opinion of this case, Justice O'Connor
mentions pretty much what you just stated, although it was
a bit less sensitive about eminent domain (here is the
text of the case:
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scrip...0&invol=04-108).
My question to you is this: do you not think that it would
be okay even if government did it responsibly?

Well, the problem would ultimately lie in how you define responsible. If the government is in effect seizing your property to give it to another private entity, rather than building a public works project (power plant, highway, etc..), b/c it claims it will get some kind of tax benefit you simply can't provide, is that really fair? Shouldn't the private developer have to be forced to strike a deal with you instead? Afterall, they're moving into an area where they think there's money to be had and perhaps should compensate you accordingly. But if you buy a piece of property (even speculatively), shouldn't you have the right to keep it and sell it at a profit? Most likely the private developer is usually taking an unethical shortcut of bribing government with promises of revenue down the road in return for getting the property fairly cheaply. Who's to say that once bureaucrats have the right to seize your property this elastically that someone down the line won't abuse it. Even if that abuse is ultimately rectified, at what price?

BTW, I tried your link, but it didn't work. Don't know if what I wrote is any more similiar than my first response to her opinion.

Samuel Dravis 01-23-2008 11:33 PM

There are situations in which eminent domain has to be used. These include utilities and such things as building new police stations when none of the property owners want to sell. However, I can't think of any reasonable situation in which the city *has* to make $x money from taxes rather than the current $y. Businesses can take care of themselves, and if the city really NEEDS more money, then it can just raise the tax rate instead of stealing from select few people (if the citizens don't like the tax rate raise then they can tell their government to quit doing whatever it was doing that increased costs).


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