A. Barton Hinkle on How the Government Steals from Citizens

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“Government,” as Barney Frank and other progressives are fond of saying, “is just another word for things we choose to do together.” Like rob people blind. Sometimes the together-doing is highway robbery in the most literal sense â€" as when police departments seize cash from motorists who are never even charged with a crime. The euphemism for that is civil asset forfeiture, and it’s gotten so out of hand even hang-’em-high, law-and-order conservatives say it needs to stop.

But sometimes, writes A. Barton Hinkle, the robbery is committed not on the highways but for the sake of them â€" especially here in Virginia. Just ask James and Janet Ramsey, who live near Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach. Five years ago, the Virginia Department of Transportation took a chunk of their property through a controversial process known as quick take.

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