Thursday, May 05, 2005

Have they no shame?

From the New York Post:
May 3, 2005 -- Chaos erupted yesterday over the future of Ground Zero.

As political leaders traded bitter charges about who was to blame for delays in rebuilding the site and erecting the Freedom Tower, it was reported that Gov. Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg were plotting to oust developer Larry Silverstein.

Adding to the furious battle over the site's future, Sen. Charles Schumer prepared to jump into the mess today — with a major speech outlining his own comprehensive plan and timetable for development to fix what he is blasting as a "culture of inertia."

New York 1 reported last night that Pataki and Bloomberg are studying the possible use of eminent domain to cancel Silverstein's 99-year lease of the World Trade Center site and take control of the $4.5 billion in insurance proceeds to which he is entitled.

Eminent domain is a legal power that allows government to take control of privately held land.

City and state officials last night downplayed the report, saying the use of eminent domain has been an option for a long time, but that there was no new push for it now — just an effort to get things moving at Ground Zero.
The Post has some good conservative viewpoints but is often ignorant of law and economics. The article should have said, "Eminent domain is a power granted to government by the U.S. Constitution. Government can take land for public use, provided it gives 'just compensation' to the owners. Such a power has often been abused to take land from private owners and give it to other private owners."

Am I the only one who finds it scary that "eminent domain has been an option for a long time"? [I originally wrote that the WTC site was and still is privately owned property. Actually, it's owned by the Port Authority, but it's leased to Larry Silverstein, so it's just as good as private property.] Bloomberg and Pataki, those two bloodsuckers, ought to be impeached for the mere consideration of a city takeover. Have they no shame? By what right can NYC and Albany "take over" that part of lower Manhattan? What does it matter if reconstruction isn't going at a pace government believes is adequate? Ah, I'll tell you where it does matter: the city and state want the area rebuilt ASAP for only the most benevolent of they can tax the living hell out of it!

The article toward the end mentions Sheldon Silver, the state assembly speaker. Since his district includes the WTC area, he naturally accuses everyone else of lacking leadership. No cost to him is too great, especially when it's someone else paying for it. He, Pataki and State Senate Leader Joe Bruno form what I call the Taxing Triumvirate. Two are Republican and the third is a Democrat, but as I've said before, their party affiliation doesn't matter one damned bit: all three run Albany as if taxpayers are a credit card someone else pays off.

And Chuck "E. Cheese" Schumer has to get into the act, too. The Post reported today that Schumer wants the building built as it is, even though the NYPD has found security flaws that require a redesign. Schumer apparently wouldn't even consider the NYPD's report, instead dismissing it because the area will be so well defended. This kind of bullheadedness typifies his "public service." When he wants something, he wants it now, and if there are any problems, the taxpayer's wallet will fix it all later. Does Schumer act this way with his own home or any other aspect of his private life? I would bet not, because as Milton Friedman said, he'll take great care because he's spending his own money on himself.

Among Schumer's other plans are to build a strip of park along lower Manhattan. If he were to read "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" by Jane Jacobs, he'd learn the truth about green spaces in urban settings: "Parks don't give life to cities. Cities give life to parks." [emphasis added] (Thank you, Dr. Ikeda, for assigning that terrific book. Better believe I kept my copy!)
Schumer refused to hold any public officials accountable for the delays and instead blamed a "culture of inertia."
I'll agree with that. Public officials are solely responsible for creating any artificial delays in the first place. This includes Schumer, who would "develop" part of the city at the expense of everywhere else. Remember what Bastiat said? Government spending is not a creation of new consumption, only a transfer.

It's time to make a stand for our rights, especially that of private property. When government runs roughshod over us, when law enforcement and the courts won't protect us, it's time to tar and feather our elected officials, and elect a new government that will actually respect our rights.

"If this be treason, then make the most of it."


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