Saturday, December 5, 2009

Eminent domain

Our founders incorporated the idea of eminent domain so we could build roads and dams and the like. It required the few to sacrifice for the many.

But rich people quickly figured out that the easiest way to make money was to suborn government and bamboozle taxpayers.

Now, eminent domain often requires the many to sacrifice for the few.

Thus, as David Cay Johnston (Pulitzer Prize for reporting) points out in "Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and stick you with the bill)", President Bush made his personal fortune through raising taxes in Arlington, Texas to pay for a sports stadium that never made a profit for the city's taxpayers, after stealing 200 acres of private property from property owners through eminent domain ("stealing" though giving the property owners pennies on the dollar for their land), enabling Bush to make nearly $18 million at taxpayer expense, which he paid lower taxes on than a secretary does on her wages.

The Republicans keep claiming they're against such misuses of eminent domain. That's what they say in public. But in private, across the country, they've got their hands in taxpayers' pockets, rummaging around for personal profit.

And BTW taxpayer-subsidized sports stadiums NEVER pay off for the taxpayers--the subsidies just serve to enrich the sports teams' billionaire owners. And often local Democrats (on city councils) are only too eager to get in on the bonanza.

Read Johnston's book and you'll see the gory details.

No comments: