Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Fumbling the Facts

Mark Hyman returns again to the issue of eminent domain, and the specific case of Kelo v. New London in his most recent editorial.

You might remember that this was
the topic of a trilogy of Hyman editorials a while back that culminated in a foaming-at-the-mouth tirade about the evils of liberalism.

This time around, Hyman bemoans the “eviction” of the last two property holders in New London at the hands of the city council.

As I’ve noted many times, there is no shortage of arguments against the way eminent domain has been used in the New London case, and in a host of other cases. And people from across the political spectrum have made these arguments (counter to Hyman’s previous claims that liberals love it when government assumes control of individual citizens’ property).

Reasonable people can disagree about the use of eminent domain in specific cases. What reasonable people can’t (or at least shouldn’t) do is make up their own facts. Hyman claims *the* reason for the New London city council’s desire to develop the property in question is to raise tax revenue. In fact, there were a number of motivations, including increasing jobs, increasing tourism, and increasing business in the downtown area.

Hyman also claims that all of the businesses slated to develop the area have pulled out, including Pfizer. That’s not quite true.
While there has been some waffling on exactly who’s going to build what, Pfizer has already built in the area.

Hyman also announces that the last two property holders are being evicted. In fact, it
looks like a tentative deal has been negotiated between the property holders and the city government. If Hyman stayed up to date on the issue, he’d know this.

Hyman’s not necessarily wrong to criticize the New London property seizure and the Supreme Court decision regarding it, but he is wrong to misrepresent the truth to make his case.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 2.90


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