Why, they ask, would an efficient government need to rely on the Kelo concept in the first place?
"Rather than use eminent domain or other tools to target individual economic development projects, local governments should ask the fundamental question as to why the desired level of economic growth is not occurring in the local area without significant economic development incentives.
"For example," they ask, "are taxes too high, thus creating a disincentive for business to locate to the local area? Do current regulations stifle business creation and expansion? All of the targeted economic development in the world will not compensate for a poor business environment. From a regional perspective, local governments should focus on creating a business environment conducive to risk-taking, entry and expansion rather than attempting targeted economic development through eminent domain or other means."
Buried in their careful language, Garrett and Rothstein nail Kelo for its fundamental flaw: Governments would not need to seize private property to promote private economic development if local communities were attractive places to do business in the first place.