This is rich. Not just Howie Rich.
Roger Pilon, with the Cato Institute, has a brain-rattling jingoistic opinion piece today in the LA Times about Proposition 90 - California's Takings initiative. Unsurprisingly, he thinks it's great.
First, a heart wrenching overview of eminent domain peril:
... they've had their property taken not simply for a public use but for some "public benefit," with the court's blessing, and that's opened the floodgates to what should be unconstitutional condemnations. Whole neighborhoods have been bulldozed to make way for "upscale" private developments. Not surprisingly, the poor and politically unconnected have suffered most.
Without skipping a beat comes this remarkable trashing of the entire concept of public goods and the public realm.
Another abuse is closely related and arguably worse. Rather than condemn the whole property and transfer it to others — for which owners would have to be compensated, however poorly — government condemns legitimate uses through regulation, paying the owner nothing for the loss in value he suffers. Thus, the public goods that result are provided on the cheap — at no cost to taxpayers. Government denies owners the use of their property so the rest of us can enjoy lovely views, wildlife habitat and more. The public enjoys the goods, but the owner bears the costs.
So how will this work exactly? The practical aspects will require masses of litigation. I maybe should start on that law degree soon.
... The in-bed-with-government establishment is trotting out the same arguments it has always used against propositions aimed at limiting government. If the measure passes, it contends, public services will disappear and life as we know it will end.
Not exactly, but trotting out arguments in bed sounds fun. Maybe that's a law school thing.
Then he closes with a flag-wavy flourish:
...It's wrong for government to impose the costs of public goods on individual owners. And it's wrong to take the homes and businesses of people just because government thinks someone else can make better use of their property.
If someone else wants the property badly enough, there's a fair way to get it: Pay for it. That's the American way. If it's right for individuals, it's right for government too.
We'll pay for it the American way - in attorney's fees.