Paul Jacob

Sometimes we feel bad after an election because we’ve lost. Other times, we feel bad even when we’ve won.

Today is one of those other times. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suicidal. There are college football bowl games later this month, after all.

But now is about the point in our political calendar when intelligent folks remind themselves of one inconvenient truth: Politicians are not exactly paragons of principle. And, if surprisingly, they do perform well for a stretch, that stretch won’t likely last long.

Last week I was buoyed by news that Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) would chair the Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, and be much closer to holding the Federal Reserve to account in the sunshine of transparency. But then again, Congressman Hal Rogers (R-Tenn.) will wield the gavel on the spending spigot known as the House Appropriations Committee. Rogers, a 30-year incumbent, boasts the nickname “the Prince of Pork.”

I’m not a pessimist only because I have ample faith the American people will find a way to overcome even the most deleterious attempts at government.

But it all rests on good people getting in the game and staying in the game. Forget party labels and parties and the politician who will fix everything. Think process; think accountability; think citizen action.

Think, for example, eminent domain and Ron Calzone.

Why “eminent domain”? Because it is an example of a practice that, unconstrained provides a process for the politically well-connected to prey on the politically weak.

The abuse of eminent domain rips the guts out of the most basic American sense of justice, the right to property and ability to freely pursue one’s dreams. Over 90 percent of Americans opposed the U.S. Supreme Court decision permitting local governments to take private property through eminent domain for “economic development” projects.

Elected officials in many states and localities have already passed measures “aimed” at reining in some abuses. But too often elected officials have enacted flimsy band-aids, which by design continue to allow the arbitrary stealing of plots of land on the basis of political power. (Tennessee’s phony law comes to mind.)

But, thankfully, citizens can do something about it. At least, they can in states where voters can propose and vote on initiative ballot measures.

Which is where Ron Calzone comes in.


Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.