The aftermath of Kelo is the latest example of the futility of using eminent domain as corporate welfare. While Ms. Kelo and her neighbors lost their homes, the city and the state spent some $78 million to bulldoze private property for high-end condos and other "desirable" elements. Instead, the wrecked and condemned neighborhood still stands vacant, without any of the touted tax benefits or job creation.New London may have won the case, but it lost the war, ending up with a part of the city now vacant and generating no tax revenue at all. Millions of dollars were spent and all the city has to show for it is a desolate section of the city that is now nothing but empty lots. So much for their grandiose plans.
One positive effect of Kelo vs New London: many states strengthened the limits of eminent domain with new laws or amendments to their state constitutions to prevent such abuses from happening again. Ironically, Connecticut was one of them.
Too bad it was too late to help the citizens/taxpayers of New London.
Here's another lesson can we take from the aftermath of Kelo that should act as a precautionary tale for those believing government is the answer to all our ills:
If there is a lesson from Connecticut's misfortune, it is that economic development that relies on the strong arm of government will never be the kind to create sustainable growth.We've seen that far too often. As soon as the government money runs out, the growth stops or even reverses as the government funded/subsidized jobs end. Better that the private sector create sustainable growth if for no other reason that it also creates wealth and, in the end, more jobs.