Gentle Readers, this is pretty cool and if I weren't hip deep in crocs, I'da written something better instead of cribbing much of this from the Reason blog and The Objectivist Center.
Tim Cavanaugh at Reason explains that.....
BB &T Corp. (as Jacob Sullum discussed yesterday) has announced it will not provide loans for commercial projects on land seized through eminent domain. The move probably won't have a big practical impact, as BB &T, which has 1,400 branches in 11 states, has so far only been approached for one such loan and does almost 25 percent of its business in North Carolina, where Kelo-type seizures are ostensibly prohibited.
BB & T is a major player and its Chairman and CEO John Allison called the policy a matter of principle:
The idea that a citizen’s property can be taken by the government solely for private use is extremely misguided, in fact it’s just plain wrong. One of the most basic rights of every citizen is to keep what they own. As an institution dedicated to helping our clients achieve economic success and financial security, we won’t help any entity or company that would undermine that mission and threaten the hard-earned American dream of property ownership.
It's interesting that the Charlotte paper would consider funding the study of the moral foundations of capitalism to be an eccentricity and tells us that.....
The company has a long history of making slightly eccentric demonstrations of its commitment to corporate citizenship. For example, it has given $1 million to several Carolinas universities, including UNC Charlotte, to endow the study of the moral foundations of capitalism.
From Tim's post....
The New York Times story on BB&T's decision includes a disclosure statement about the Times' own (tawdry) eiminent domain history, and quotes a representative from a developers'
trade groupthink tank showing the kind of respect for OPP (editors note: other people's property) that makes these condemnations possible:
But Maureen L. McAvey, a senior fellow at the Urban Land Institute, a developers' organization based in Washington, said that it was odd that a bank would not want to judge each case on its merits to see if the forced sale of property was justified.
It's curious that a major financial institution would choose to be both judge and jury, she said.
And both judge and jury is a curious way to describe a bank's decision about whether or not to grant somebody a loan.
Once upon a time in my naive yoot I believed business people to be honorable stewards of a system that has produced the greatest material well being and the greatest amount of freedom in the history of the world. In my old age I've learned that most are happy to feed at any trough that's filled with taxpayer assets, including land seized through eminent domain. The dead give away is that Ms Maureen at Urban Land Institute can suggest with a straight face that there is EVER an instance of a government forced sale that is justified (other than the Constitutionally permitted takings for roads, courthouses, and other public infrastructure).
Dana Berliner of Institute for Justice said.....
Throughout the country, banks have been silent partners in the unholy alliance between local governments and private developers. Banks finance developers and cities that use eminent domain to take someone’s home or business and turn the land into new stores, condos, and office space. Others will hopefully follow BB&T’s courageous example.
Institute for Justice story here.
David Kelley of the Objectivist Center said.....
We salute Allison and his colleagues. If the term corporate social responsibility can be given a legitimate, non-collectivism meaning, a principled public stand for individual rights is social responsibility of the highest order.
The Objectivist Center story here.
tip of the glass to Tim Cavanaugh & Jacob Sullum at Hit & Run, David Kelley at The Objectivist Center, John Kramer at Institute for Justice, and my good friend KC