Joe Biden tells Americans that he's helping them by building "from the bottom up and the middle out." …
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Image of the Day: Americans' Shrinking Earnings Under Joe Biden

Joe Biden tells Americans that he's helping them by building "from the bottom up and the middle out."  But the numbers don't lie, and the ugly reality is that he's only dragging us all toward the bottom.  Throughout his presidency, wage gains (green) have been consistently exceeded by inflation (blue), meaning loss in real earnings (red):

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="455"] Bidenomics Means Lost Earnings[/caption]…[more]

May 19, 2024 • 11:05 PM

Liberty Update

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Beware of Squatters Print
By Betsy McCaughey
Wednesday, March 27 2024
You can thank leftist lawmakers who have degraded property rights and tilted the law to favor criminals. The result is an epidemic of brazen squatting.

If you own a home and don't want to lose it, keep reading.

Homeowners who go on vacation or a business trip, even for just a week, are returning to find their house overtaken by trespassers who fraudulently claim a right to be there. It's happening to tens of thousands of homeowners from New York City to Atlanta and Los Angeles.

When owners call the police, they're told police can't help. It's a civil matter, and they have to file an eviction lawsuit, which can drag on for months or years because housing courts are backlogged.

Meanwhile owners are out on the street while squatters are living free, destroying houses and even selling off owners' belongings.

If you found a stranger sitting in your car and called the police, they would immediately ask to see the registration and decide who owns it, explains Georgetown law professor Jonathan Turley. They wouldn't let the thief drive off. But the law is stacked against homeowners.

You can thank leftist lawmakers who have degraded property rights and tilted the law to favor criminals. The result is an epidemic of brazen squatting.

In New York state, a homeowner faced with a trespasser can expect eviction to take two years. Meanwhile, the owner is barred from turning off utilities, removing belongings or doing anything else to get the invaders out. It's crazy.

New York State Assemblyman Jake Blumencranz of Long Island introduced legislation saying a squatter is not a tenant and is not entitled to the same protections. Will it pass in Albany? Don't hold your breath.

But some states are acting quickly against this crime wave.

The Florida Legislature passed a bill to empower police to immediately remove anyone who can't produce a notarized lease. Georgia's statehouse passed the Squatter Reform Act, making squatting a crime  criminal trespass  to be handled by the police, not housing court. It's likely to pass the Senate shortly.

In blue states like California and New York, is there hope for homeowners to get protection against squatters? Not from Congress. Democrats in Congress are actually pushing a federal housing law that would bar landlords from learning whether potential tenants have criminal records, including past squatting offenses.

But there is a remedy  bringing a lawsuit in federal court against states like New York and California that fail to protect property rights. The U.S. Constitution enshrines property rights as a fundamental guarantee. And recently, the justices have struck down state laws that allow trespassers to interfere with property rights. In 2021, the Pacific Legal Foundation brought a suit on behalf of a property owner, and the court ruled in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid that "government-authorized invasions of property" amount to a taking just as if the government had taken the property directly.

Favoring intruders over owners constitutes a "taking" that violates the Fifth Amendment, which says government cannot impinge on your right to your property.

There's no time to waste in acting to protect homeowners.

Venezuelan TikTok influencer Leonel Moreno claims invading vacant homes is the only option for illegal migrants flooding into the United States. His now-deleted TikTok video explaining how to identify a home that is empty and ready for the taking reached 4 million views.

Surprised? Don't be. Criminals from south of the border are coming in droves to plunder the far wealthier United States. Some cross illegally and are recruited by the Venezuelan gang Tren de Aragua and El Salvador's MS-13. Others are coming in on tourist visas. Law enforcement is reporting a surge in South American burglary gangs operating in at least half the states in the U.S.

Of course many migrants are honest and hardworking. But there's no denying a movement northward to "take what you can get" poses new danger to homeowners, including the risk of squatters.

As Moreno says, "If a house is not inhabited, we can seize it."

Tell lawmakers to act now to protect homeowners. This is the United States. Here property rights are not up for debate. They're guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

You worked for it, you paid for it, it's yours. Period.


Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. 

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