|[Ben]:||Eminent Domain for Fun and Profit ||No discussion found|
|Just when you thought you lived in the land of the free ...|
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Eminent Domain is Constitutional, but is it right?
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Essentially, what this means is that if the gov't gives you "just compensation", they can take anything you own for public use. This raises two major questions.
1. What qualifies as public use?
2. What qualifies as just compensation?
In this particular example, city planners are using "public use" to mean "maximizing tax income" or even "not compatible with what we want to be there".
"Just compensation" is supposedly defined as "the price at which the property would be sold if the seller did not have to sell, and the buyer did not have to buy." Which means nothing. If the seller did not have to sell and the buyer did not have to buy, then the price could be anything. And it's a preposterous rule of thumb anyway, because the seller does have to sell (or it can just be taken without compensation if he refuses) but there is no real reason the government has to buy. Thus, even "just compensation" is designed to drive the price down and otherwise cheat the landowners. Value is not objective. Value is determined by the owner of property. If a piece of property is worth $100,000 to me, but as the owner, you wouldn't sell it for less than $4,000,000 then you can turn my offer of $100,000 or $150,000 or $200,000 down because it isn't worth that to you. Doesn't matter the reason, just that you own it and you want to keep it. If I get to pick the price then you don't really own it.
So let's face it, folks. You own nothing. Don't pay your rent ... er ... land taxes? Your property can be seized. Pay all your taxes, but less than a major developer might? Your property can be seized - or if you're lucky they'll pay you what they want to pay you.
If you can't choose to not sell (or to sell only at a price you name), you don't really own the land.
Eminent Domain for Fun and Profit