Before continuing, read the story in the Fairfield (CT) Herald.
Out-FUCKING-rageous! Not only have these people been paying their property taxes, but the City is now charging extra, as well as offering them prices that are five years old. If I lived in New London, I'd move. Now. Just leave. Sell your house for less than it's worth (once the New London officials get a mind to take it, it won't be worth even that), trash the place to kill the property value, salt the earth, and move anywhere out of the state of Connecticut.
Now, most libertarians with any sense of property rights will tell you that property taxes are, in essence, rent you pay to government for land you supposedly own. This actually isn't very surprising, and is completely legal (think of any civil case where the loser has to pay court costs and interest on money not paid during the contest), but it is completely outrageous, and the officials in the city of New London should be voted out of office next time around. I also wouldn't be patronizing any establishment that set up shop in the new buildings that are going on top of these people houses and land.
The problem here is the mentality at work - public officials need money to do the things they need (and simply want) to do. Since government doesn't produce anything like a business does, they have no real income. Therefore, government relies on taxes (i.e. theft) to provide that income. As government spends, it is asked to spend more on things the people think government should be doing - providing education for your kids, maintaing public roads, helping the poor, fighting wars far away from home, etc. It needs more money to do so, so it raises taxes.
In recent years, however, a number of states have passed laws and initiatives barring the random and capricious increase in taxes to provide these public services. Lawmakers are therefore looking for more creative ways to increase the amount of money they get without actually raising taxes. Using eminent domain in this creative way (and getting 6 of 9 Justices to agree with you) is very creative, doesn't increase the tax rate at all, but increases the value of the land being taxed. If you can overlook people being ousted from their homes, it's brilliant.
Any libertarian will tell you that 99% of the things government does today it shouldn't do - eductation, transportation, charity, ecology, etc., are all done better and cheaper in the private sector, and what's more, offers you a choice of options. That's the main problem with government - there is no choice. If I don't want a telephone, I don't buy a phone - if I don't like the way a company does business, I don't buy from that company. But if I don't like my government stealing from me to give to the needle exchange clinic down the road - tough. In this case, New London stole land from these people and gave it to a private developer - which is more moral or ethical?
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