Monday, January 16, 2012

Property Rights

A few years ago, some local eggheads here in Nashville decided that they would like to create a big hotel/retail development near Music Row, the famous street where country music has been recorded and published for years and years.

The developers acquired all the land they needed except one parcel, owned by a little lady who just refused to sell.

Her late husband had started their business some decades earlier and she had continued running it after his death. It specialized in making demo records for aspiring country music performers. A lot of her business came from word of mouth. She felt the location and its longstanding reputation were important to her business.

So despite all kinds of pressure put on her by the developers and some of her neighbors who were eager for their property to appreciate, she would not budge.

No problem. The developers went to the "progressive" government of our fair city and convinced them the city stood to make a lot more tax revenue if the development were built. So the city promptly condemned her property.

End of story? No! She fought back. And she won! And for reasons that have nothing to do with her, the development was never built, but there are blocks of empty buildings around her producing hardly any tax revenue at all now!

There's a moral in this story for us small business owners: government is not our friend. And the only interest government on any level has in our property is their ability to tax it. But property rights are the absolute basis of a free market economy and thus of a nation where citizens are promised "unalienable" rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happines.

In this year of decision, those of us who fuel the economic engine of this country with our thousands of small businesses must choose carefully the candidates who recognize our rights, work to protect them, and will keep government off our property, out of our business, and off our backs.

No comments:

Post a Comment