June 09, 2007

Home Repo

Mike McCarville is boycotting Home Depot on account of a peculiar policy they have which apparently directs employees to look the other way if they see shoplifters at work. I have been down on Home Depot (I call them Home Repo) ever since I found out they have no qualms about taking people's property by force in order to build their stores.

The January 25, 2006 New York Times featured a story (‘Humble Church Is at Center of Debate on Eminent Domain’ by Ralph Blumenthal) on an unholy land grab taking place in Sand Springs. Blumenthal reports: “In what a local newspaper called ‘a battle between God Almighty and the almighty dollar,’ Sand Springs is moving ahead with a redevelopment plan to clear the church and other occupants from the rundown district near downtown to make way for superstores like the Home Depot.”

Sand Springs mayor Bob Walker supports the land grab. “I'm open to anyone telling me how we're going to pay for city services," he told the Times. My friend Larry Reed, president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (the free-market think tank in Michigan), is ready to accept the mayor’s challenge. “It would be great to scrutinize his budget,” Reed told me in an e-mail last year. “I'd bet you'd find he runs another one of those many towns that has a nice fat bureaucracy with exorbitant pension obligations and that hardly contracts competitively for anything.”

Indeed, Reed continued, “I wonder if we need a national ‘Dirty Hands’ list of companies like Home Depot that benefit from (and often are prime supporters of) these kinds of eminent domain seizures. There may be enough groundswell of anti-Kelo sentiment nationwide to get some healthy boycotts going. If you're collaborating with these property seizures for your private bottom line, your hands are just as dirty as the local governments that do the swiping. It'll be a cold day in Hell before I buy from Home Depot again, that's for sure.”

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