Seizing private property through eminent domain for the gain of private individuals is clearly unconstitutional, yet given a recent Supreme Court decision and the newly-announced plans of a venture capital firm, you may one day have your property seized by a politically well-connected investor.
Let’s be clear, by 'unconstitutional' I mean what the Constitution actually says, not, unfortunately, what the current Supreme Court says it says. Today’s Supreme Court is running 5-4 against the constitution. I won't get into Obamacare. For those of you not familiar with it, consider reading up on the Court's 2005 decision in Kelo v. City of New London. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelo_v._City_of_New_London
Please also consider reading up on last week’s announced plans by Mortgage Resolution Partners, a venture capital firm, to seize home mortgages through eminent domain.
Quick details on Kelo: The City of New London, CT seized a single mother's home (along with others) through eminent domain and sold them to a developer to build Pfizer's new corporate headquarters. The private property would not become part of an airport, bridge, dam, or other public *use* as the Fifth Amendment's eminent domain clause requires. The private property would become part of a for-profit corporation's investment portfolio.
The Supreme Court deemed this seizure to be a constitutional use of eminent domain because it agreed with the government's (the City of New London's) argument against the people that expanding government's revenues (higher taxes on improved land) was in the public interest.
The Fifth Amendment states the seized property must be put into public *use.* It does not say something vague, like the seizure must be in the public 'interest' regardless of what is done with the land, and it certainly does not say that enabling government to grow larger is necessarily in the public interest, nor that it is constitutional for one private citizen to use eminent domain vs. another citizen. Yet this is how the Court interpreted the Fifth Amendment.
Given the unconstitutional tendencies of the Supreme Court, and given the disparity in lobbying power and financial resources of a well-connected real estate developer backed by a Fortune 500 Corporation vs. that of a single mom, it is perhaps not surprising how this decision turned out.
The Supreme Court has opened the door to ending private property rights in America. Anyone more politically connected than you can seize your home. The implications haven't 'trickled down' into society yet, but Mortgage Resolution Partners' bold and unconstitutional plan to ‘partner’ with government to seize mortgages for their own profit is a first step toward a plutocracy in which only the politically well-connected will own property.
Not surprisingly, Mortgage Resolution Partners' Chairman, Steven Gluckstern, is a well-heeled and well-connected fundraising bundler for the Democrats. But make no mistake, there is nothing to limit abuse of eminent domain to the Democrats.
Ms. Kelo’s property was a traditional site-built home. As such, it was a significant improvement to the land upon which it was built, and increased the City’s tax revenues. If such already-improved land was not generating enough money to satisfy the well-meaning bureaucrats of New London, CT, think now of how government will view mobile home parks. Most mobile homes are not permanently attached to land. As such, they are not considered improvements, and the underlying land is taxed as unimproved property. Perhaps some other well-meaning, politically-connected financier is hatching a plan right now to help government help themselves to your mobile home park next.
Final ironic note: Ms. Kelo's home and land were seized and sold to the developer. The home itself was moved with private funds to a nearby location to serve as a memorial to the injustice of the Supreme Court’s decision. The CT developer was ultimately unable to secure financing, and went broke. The land Ms. Kelo’s home once sat upon is now abandoned and unimproved. It generates less tax revenues for government than it did prior to government getting their hands on it.
My plea: Vote for pro-Constitution candidates. ##
Jefferson Lilly is a private investor, manufactured home community (MHC) owner and MHC consultant. www.lillyandcompany.net “That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.” – Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)