An excellent editorial in today’s New York Sun details the government’s unconstitutional seizures of private property in New York:

The [New York] Times worked out a deal under which the Empire State Development Corporation would condemn an entire city block, razing 10 properties and a parking lot. A number of residences… and more than 30 thriving businesses… will be swept away to accommodate the Times. The Times will be paying about $62 per square foot for its acquisition, according to the report, as opposed to $130 per square foot paid in a comparable private transaction for a nearby parcel….

The New York Stock Exchange, in lower Manhattan, wanted a location to build a new headquarters. It decided on a site across the street from its current location. Unfortunately for the NYSE, however, the location was occupied by residential and commercial properties. Instead of letting that get it down, however, the NYSE decided to threaten the city with leaving Manhattan altogether if it didn’t help in the acquisition of the properties. The New York City Economic Development Corporation complied and began the process of condemning the apartment building at 45 Wall Street.The tenants’ association fought the move, but a state appeals court sided with the city. The court cited that the project would have a public benefit, would increase tax revenues, and would aid economic development. Judged by such criteria, it’s hard to see why a government use of eminent domain would ever be denied… [New York Sun, 4/23/03]

The rest of the editorial is worth reading too; these examples come from a report by the Castle Coalition, a project of the Institute for Justice. The Constitution says that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation; in these cases “public use” is stretched to benefit private individuals in the name of “economic development” and the compensation is anything but just. This is to say nothing of the fact that in justice, no private property should ever be taken for public use, barring emergencies.

Voice of Capitalism

Capitalism news delivered every Monday to your email inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest