"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A New Wrinkle on Kelo: Bank Just Says No

From today's Washington Times:

BB&T Corp., the second-biggest bank in the Washington area, said yesterday that it will not lend money to developers who plan to build commercial projects on land taken from private citizens through the power of eminent domain.

"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," said John Allison, the bank's chairman and chief executive officer.


I'm embarrassed that it never occurred to me to propose this as a pro-market approach to fighting Kelo. But now that the bee's in my bonnet: Hell yeah! I'm going to forward this to the public affairs folks at Citigroup, and will be happy to report back what, if any, response I receive.

9 comments:

JC said...

There's a good idea. Now anyone who *doesn't* say that will look just as evil as the developers that are using the power of eminent domain. Hopefully.

Hunter Baker said...

Beautiful. I love it.

Tlaloc said...

While I think that's nice of BB&T, it will fail as an actual solution to the problem. Capitalism inevitably means no social problem can be addressed through such means because there is always someone willing to take advantage. If a bank makes a conscientious choice it is subsequently punished by the market forces.

James Elliott said...

Not always, Tlaloc. Look at all the naysayers about Costco who are now eating crow. Market forces alone won't do to improve the situation, but they aren't an almighty tide that will inexorably sweep aside a conscientious business like so much detritus, either.

Tlaloc said...

"Look at all the naysayers about Costco who are now eating crow."

What costco situation are you referring to?


"Market forces alone won't do to improve the situation, but they aren't an almighty tide that will inexorably sweep aside a conscientious business like so much detritus, either."

No, certainly a business may be well entrenched enough to deal with it but there is no denying that in a case like this where a business is choosing to deny themselves a market another vendor will simply take up shop. The money will still change hand it's just that the conscientious vendor won't profit.

James Elliott said...

The Costco situation in which all the people said they couldn't turn a profit and would tank because they, you know, paid well and stuff.

Kathy Hutchins said...

The Kelo decision stirred up a grassroots hornet's nest like nothing I've seen since Roe v. Wade. People who couldn't name a single Supreme Court case of the last 10 years, or a single sitting Justice, know and loathe Kelo. That has already produced pressures on state legislatures to modify state codes to forbid takings for private development. If more financial institutions hear from their customers and clients on this issue, follow BB&T's example, and as a result find themselves in competition with less fastidious rivals, that will mean that the BB&Ts of the world will put their considerable resources behind those legislative reforms as well. Can't hurt.

Tlaloc said...

"The Costco situation in which all the people said they couldn't turn a profit and would tank because they, you know, paid well and stuff."

That's a bit different. In this example there is a company refusing to provide a service and my point is that another company will simply do it for them. In the case of Costco they have chosen to provide something.

Bubba said...

Personally, I have never given a rodent's rump for the *law*.

In my ignorant opinion, making a judgement about issue X solely because vaguely similar issues H, N, R, and U were decided in a certain way is roughly equivalent to what happened when I used to walk through my Grandfather's barnyard. First you get a little bit of cowpie on your boot, then you got some more. In a few more steps the other boot is in the same condition, and after a few more steps it just doesn't matter any more where you're stepping.

I disagree with those that have written the Supreme Court made a good decision regarding Kelo. Excuse my rube-ish, Mid-Western, undoubtedly childish, notion expecting "right" to win in the end. Tlaloc: as in right versus wrong, not right versus left ;-) Probably has something to do with watching too many Superman episodes in my formative years ("...standing for TRUTH, JUSTICE, and the AMERICAN WAY...").

I am stunned, but quite pleased about the decision and moral stance the BB&T Corp has decided to take. Even if it is just a marketing ploy, it is still good political theater. I for one hope that this one little pebble ripples far and becomes a tsunami with many other corporations taking the same stance. It would be nice if the object lesson would not be lost on the politicians and judges but my childish expectations do not extend into the realm of pure fantasy.

Henceforth, I think the position title of those who sit on the Supreme Court needs to be changed to "Judges" and "Chief Judge" since in the last 200 or so years, they have only given us more *law* when what we really needed and expected of them was **JUSTICE** .