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Eminent domain my house, please

June 30, 2005|by TIM ROWLAND

With all this talk about eminent domain, I have just one question: How come the government never wants to seize my house?

They want it, they can have it. Especially my furnace. I should be particularly pleased if the government would seize my furnace. Of course, the traditional way for a furnace to act up is for it to go on the fritz in the middle of winter, but not in the Satan House, oh no. Anyone who's considering buying and fixing up an old, historic farmhouse needs to click her heels three times and repeat "There's no place like a new home."

So anyway, a valve sprung a leak and flooded the basement furnace room in the middle of summer and I can't get it fixed because the repair man has taken pity on me and explained that the valve costs 75 cents and there's no reason I can't do it myself, instead of spending $60 on a house call.

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He doesn't understand that I'm so dumb mechanically that if I try to replace a water valve, the drought in Washington County will be over in about 3.2 seconds. But I fixed his wagon. I just shut off all of the water mains to the furnace and when he comes this fall to do the annual furnace maintenance, I'll have him replace the valve. Dumb like a fox.

So I don't stay up at night worrying about eminent domain. I didn't even know what eminent domain was. Eminent domain. Didn't they open for Procol Harum back in the '60s?

As I understand it, the Supreme Court said this: Government can take your house if it's in the public interest. Tax revenue is publicly interesting. So if someone else can build something more valuable on your property, like a shopping mall, and hence pay more taxes on it than you do, they can have it.

Seems fair. And it should give pause to all those folks who wake up in the morning and go to bed at night complaining about their taxes. Hey look, at least you have something to pay taxes on, be happy for that. Here all this time, we've been worrying about "keeping government out of the bedroom." Who knew they'd start taking the bedroom?

But come on, can the outrage. Everyone's just too attached to their homes, that's the problem. It's just some 2x4s and drywall, for crying out loud. If the jackbooted thugs come in the middle of the night, you can find another. They're all over, if you look. And if you still don't like it, it's your own fault for being a member of the lower or middle class. If you would just take the time to be rich, these things wouldn't happen.

I don't get these people who act like all of a sudden something's changed. Like up until June 23, the government had no control over their lives or property. Please. If the government can whisk away a private citizen under a mask of "Homeland Security" without any stated reason, whatever made you think your own home would be safe?

They're throwing reporters in jail; swarthy gents are disappearing without a trace; oil tycoons are dictating our energy policy in closed-door meetings with Dick Cheney; Congress deals with ethics complaints against its members by relaxing or eliminating its ethical standards; laws are passed to allow the FBI to listen in on our phone conversations and read our e-mail whenever it's in the mood; the administration gets a staggeringly expensive prescription plan by lying about what it will cost; three decades of environmental law is trashed; the federal deficit is enormous, but if we as individuals miss a credit card payment, our interest rate goes to 30 percent; money politics in the form of lobbying and campaign cash on Capitol Hill smashes all previous records; our economic policies allow CEOs to get millions of dollars in exchange for sending our jobs overseas; it turns out the "mission" won't be "accomplished" for another 12 years - and you're worried about a lil' ole thang like your house?

Oh grow up.

This is just another example of liberal policies run amok, and until the Republicans are in control of Congress and the White House, nothing is going to change. Sure, the Supreme Court's decision last week may have been the coup de grace, the dotting of the "i" in the Death of the Little Guy, but don't tell me it's something you didn't see coming from a million miles away.

And this isn't a matter of which party is in power because they're all the same. Though you gotta think Al Gore is privately thanking this same Supreme Court for siding with Bush in 2000 - because if I'm him, I don't want my fingerprints anywhere near this train wreck. The court is just the last leg of government to surrender to lunacy, although you have to admit it's making up for lost time (The Ten Commandments are legal except when they're not).

So I can't be bothered with it. The government will do what the government will do, so I'm just going to watch a baseball game at home - which, if the government has read this, is probably a shopping mall by now.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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