Monday, November 19, 2007

This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land

Remember the movie Far and Away? Remember how the most important thing was to own land? If you owned a piece of land you were somebody and it was yours until you sold it or you died. That's not the case today.

If you own land, the government can take that land away from you due to a policy called "eminent domain". Eminent domain used to mean that the government could take your land from you if it was deemed that the land was necessary for the greater good of the American public. Building a freeway is one such example. Sure they usually offer to pay you fair market value for your property, but what if you don't want to sell it? Too bad.

These days, eminent domain also means that the government can take your land away if a commercial entity decides it wants the land in order to put in something like a shopping mall. Ron Paul, however, begs to differ:

"We must stop special interests from violating property rights and literally driving families from their homes, farms and ranches.

Today, we face a new threat of widespread eminent domain actions as a result of powerful interests who want to build a NAFTA superhighway through the United States from Mexico to Canada.

We also face another danger in regulatory takings: Through excess regulation, governments deprive property owners of significant value and use of their properties — all without paying 'just compensation.'

Property rights are the foundation of all rights in a free society. Without the right to own a printing press, for example, freedom of the press becomes meaningless. The next president must get federal agencies out of these schemes to deny property owners their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property."