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April 22, 2005

Takings? What about givings?

I don't know if this is a contentless rant or actually something worth discussing, but....

Can someone please explain to me how the right has managed to frame the issue of government regulation as being a matter of "taking"? I understand the legal principle involved, which extends the concept of property seizure to any government action that reduces the current market value of private property. Without for the moment exploring the absurd and scary direction that could take if applied to intellectual property (and you know that would be the next step, right), what I don't understand is why it only works in one direction. In other words, what about all those government actions that have created or enhanced the value of private property?

If the government is liable for the diminished value of some real estate as a result of wetlands regulation, for example, why can't the government first be compensated for the fact that the land is worth anything in the first place? What about when a road is put in? What about when the zoning is changed from farmland in the first place? Or better yet, what about government land grants, homesteading, and the military support of the appropriation from the native population?

I say fine, let's accept the terms of this debate. Let's accept the full terms and agree to pay for any decreased property value, as soon as the full value of any increased caused by government action are put by the owners into a suitable trust fund. otherwise all we're talking about is another way to privatize benefits and socialize costs.

Posted by Michael Gilbert on April 22, 2005 at 01:47 PM in Ballot Initiatives, Miscellany, Strategery | Permalink


This is a very valid post because until this issue can be reframed the tax code will continue to get flatter and flatter and the burden of supporting our great nation will fall from those with excess to those with need. Anyone got any answers?

Posted by: Expat Teacher | Apr 25, 2005 10:18:55 AM

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