Arnold Williams (notebuyer) wrote,
Arnold Williams

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Another reaction to KELO

Courtesy of The Policy Guy, here's John R. LaPlante's reaction to the decision, and his suggestions for combatting it.

Even so, there are still some barriers in the way. We should not expect every modest residential neighborhood be condemned and given over to luxury townhomes or megastores. Let's review the barriers.

The first is the fact that under most laws in place, economic development officials still must come up with a plan that shows that there is gain to the public to be had by leveling Grandma’s house so that SuperStore can set up shop. Call this the administrative barrier. It’s weak, but better than nothing.

A second line of defense against the powerful is the popular will. If members of a city council go overboard in a project, they can always be voted out of office. It won't help people who have already lost their homes or businesses to the collusion of government and private interests. But it will give other politicians pause.

Still, I’m not as enthusiastic about this barrier as I would like. After all, plenty of citizens think that it’s perfectly all right for government to grab something that belongs to other people. Think of “progressive” income tax rates, which require some people to pay more not only in absolute terms, but as a percentage of income. Still, the fear that “it could be me in that situation” may be a potent enough force to arouse enough citizens to prevail upon city hall.

Make no mistake, we will have to. Utah has already handled it. Now we have to change the other states.

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