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Using government as a Mafia thug

By Scott Tibbs, July 16, 2013

When government acts as an enforcer for organized crime, how can any of us consider ourselves safe? How can we trust that our constitutional rights will not be violated? Simple - we cannot.

Forbes.com brought the issue up again late last month, reminding readers of the horrific Kelo vs. City of New London case, where Supreme Court "justices" urinated and defecated all over the Constitution. Since Kelo, a number of states have passed laws (and even amendments to their constitutions) defending private property rights against corrupt government officials who steal property and give it to private developers.

To conservatives who foolishly think Donald Trump is on our side, I would remind you that not only did he support the Kelo decision, he has personally used government as a hired thug to steal people's private property. True conservatives do not want this man anywhere near the White House or in any position of authority in government. He has done enough damage to our liberty already.

But abuse of eminent domain is still rampant. One such case is the Brooklyn Nets basketball team, which used government as a hired thug to steal over 50 properties to build an arena for Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. It was a disgusting and despicable abuse of power.

Forbes is promoting the Private Property Rights Protection Act, which would make states and local governments that use eminent domain for private developers ineligible for federal economic development grants for two years. That would be a good start, but it not nearly good enough. If we are serious about protecting the Constitution, Congress needs to pass legislation making the use of eminent domain for "economic development" illegal, with strong criminal penalties (including prison time) for violating it.

Eminent domain is a necessary evil for legitimate public works projects. No one likes to see people lose their home or business to a public works project, even if they are fairly compensated for the loss. But building a prison or an interstate highway, or widening a city street is a far cry from government taking private property by force to give it to private developers so they can line their pockets. This needs to be stopped - no exceptions and no compromise.