by Paul Jacob
Ever since the Supreme Court endorsed radically expanded use of eminent domain, in 2005's Kelo v. New London, we have witnessed pitched battles between governments eager to trample property rights and citizens fighting to protect those rights.
Among recent efforts is a Missouri initiative to reform the eminent domain process, led by Ron Calzone with Missourians for Property Rights.
Alas, it's all too easy to ignore the suffering of human beings whose property rights are violated by “legal” means when you neither see these human beings nor hear their stories. This is why critics of flipping property from the hands of rightful owners to the claws of rapacious opportunists with political pull must be grateful to the producers of Begging for Billionaires: The Attack on Property Rights in America.
The film exposes how city governments “brazenly seize property after property from the powerless” to turn over to well-connected players “for the pettiest of non-essential ‘economic development' projects,” many subsidized by taxpayers. Neighborhoods flattened, lives uprooted.
Among other stories, we learn that of James Roos, property owner of an area called “blighted” who created a controversial mural to oppose eminent domain abuse.
Friends of liberty and property can defeat the enemies of these rights. Begging for Billionaires dramatizes why we must do so.
Paul Jacob's "Common Sense" is published by the Citizens in Charge Foundation. Their website can be visited at www.citizensincharge.org.