Should governments buy businesses just to close them?

A situation in Lavonia, Georgia raises an interesting question about how far government entities should go in regulating businesses. The town recently spent more than $1 million to buy Café Risque, a strip club along an interstate. Its goal? To shut it down. And it did exactly that.

The strip club was operating since 2001, and the town had tried several times to close the business without success. The town enacted a ban on "adult-oriented" businesses, but the club was grandfathered because it existed prior to the ban. A change in ownership, however, would do away with the grandfather clause, so that's why the town bought it.

Supporters of this move by the town say that closing the strip club and removing its billboards will help the community. Yet the business was apparently operating legally, and so the move raises the question about how much the government should interfere in our lives.

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