We just came across an on-line ad in which shopping center owners whine for public support because on-line retailers are getting a tax break by being able to sell stuff at retail without sales tax, whereas they have to pay it. Unfair? Maybe. So what?
It was only yesterday that shopping centers were wiping out smaller businesses en masse, because under redevelopment laws they were able to do so with tax money subsidies. Redevelopment agencies would take others’ (often their competitors’) land by eminent domain, raze the [competing] businesses to the ground without full compensation and without any compensation for the destroyed condemnees’ businesses, and then turn over that land at bargain rents of even gratis to favored shopping center developers.* See Dean Starkman, Take and Give: Condemnation Is Used To Hand One Business Property of Another, Wall St. Jour., December 2, 1998, at p. A1.
So now, we are supposed to shed tears for them and help them get fair treatment? Where were they when in the name of advancing their own economic wellbeing, smaller businesses were being destroyed without any compensation?
To see that ad, click here.
So here are some words of wisdom: What goes around, comes around.
* In the wretched Kelo case, the plan approved by the SCOTUS majority called a for taking of a 91-acre waterfront tract of land, displacing its lower middle-class population, razing it to the ground, and turning it over for 99 years (at $1 per year) to a redeveloper who intended to build upscale shops and condos. It didn’t work; the project proved to e a dismal failure after consuming some $100 million in public funds.