Thursday, August 15, 2013

Obama’s Neighborhood Race-Watch Program

An article of mine from the August 14, 2013 issue of FrontPage Magazine:

Obama’s Neighborhood Race-Watch Program

By Matthew Vadum

President Obama is quietly moving forward with a plan to use your tax dollars to loot American suburbs in order to help Democrats and fund their corrupt big-city political machines.

The new plan from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to use federal housing policy to uproot and change American neighborhoods is part of Obama’s effort at “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Long ago Democrats declared war on the suburbs and rural areas because, among other things, they tend to be Republican strongholds.

HUD is the right vehicle for this scheme because its bureaucracy is adept at telling people how to live and where to live. It tells cities they are racially out of balance and pressures them to change their zoning to allow more “affordable housing” so communities have the politically correct mixture of economic development and racial diversity.

HUD, by the way, ought to stand for the Department of Homewrecking and Utopian Development.

Ripping apart the suburbs and throwing them back together under the guidance of central planners and bureaucrats would be done in the name of “fairness” and “diversity,” the twin obsessions that haunt the psyche of the modern leftist. Instead of letting market forces and individual choices determine where people live, these statists want to boss people around, using the heavy hand of the government to force a perverse version of economic and racial integration onto neighborhoods.

It’s not fair that some people live in nicer, safer, wealthier neighborhoods than other people, whines HUD’s far-left secretary, Shaun Donovan.

He claims there is a huge divide in the nation that could be termed “the tyranny of the ZIP code.” This specious doctrine holds that if you live in the right ZIP code, you have greater access to opportunities, and greater chances of success. Individual initiative, drive, and ingenuity don’t count, according to this line of thinking,

“While we have made real progress, despite the economic headwinds we’re still facing,” more still has to be done to level the playing field when it comes to housing and other opportunities, Donovan says.

Community organizer Greg Galluzzo of the Gamaliel Foundation, an Obama mentor, thinks the American dream is a fraud. Americans move to the suburbs out of “racism and greed,” he says.

Predictably, the left-wing NAACP lauds the socially disruptive HUD plan.

“It’s not just having people of different colors live together just to do so,” says Dedrick Muhammad, a senior NAACP official. “African-Americans and Latinos are more likely to live in segregated communities, that are predominantly lower income, have less strong public resources, less schools and educational opportunities, employment opportunities. This kind of integration strengthens economic equality.”

The proposed federal rule that would move the plan forward is called “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.” The clock is now ticking on a 60-day public comment period. The administration claims that U.S. neighborhoods are imbalanced racially or economically, tilted too much toward the rich or the poor, and explicitly admits that HUD’s decades of work have produced failure.

It’s not yet clear exactly how the plan would work, but the idea is that HUD would give states, localities, public housing agencies, and probably left-wing pressure groups
data on patterns of integration and segregation; racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty; access to education, employment, low-poverty, transportation, and environmental health, among other critical assets; disproportionate housing needs based on the classes protected under the Fair Housing Act; data on individuals with disabilities and families with children; and discrimination.
The rule is “just the latest of a series of attempts by HUD to social engineer the American people,” says Ed Pinto of the American Enterprise Institute.

The HUD plan was anticipated by Stanley Kurtz in his 2012 book, Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities.

Obama’s “idea is to take the suburbs, now the swing constituency in national elections, and divide them against themselves,” Kurtz writes. “Obama wants to create a political alliance between cities and older inner-ring suburbs in state legislatures to impose regional tax sharing plans on a reluctant middle class.”

“This will be class warfare on a scale set to dwarf the puny efforts of Occupy Wall Street,” he adds. Obama’s “long-term goal is to build a new and permanent Democratic majority on the promise of regional income redistribution.”

The HUD plan is part of the so-called smart growth movement that emphasizes high-density urban development over lower-density suburban and rural development, which smart growth proponents deride as “sprawl.” Big city mayors constantly complain that building expensive infrastructure outside of the cities is wasteful and duplicative. They don’t care that many Americans love living in the suburbs, having yards and driveways, and space for their children to safely play, things that come at a high cost in large urban centers.

The Obama administration has long been a partner with National Council of La Raza, ACORN, and other radical groups that use the nation’s poor and inner-city communities as laboratory rats in social engineering schemes. HUD has, for the most part, hurt cities. It has helped to make city dwellers increasingly dependent on government for handouts.

HUD is especially close to radical left-wing community organizers. HUD Secretary Donovan praised Al Sharpton and his group, National Action Network, at its convention in Washington, D.C. last year.

“National Action Network has been a remarkable, remarkable partner to all of us in the Obama administration. I was just joking with the reverend on the way in, we ought to be holding our cabinet meetings here with at the convention center because so many of us are over [here] these few days.”

The new HUD plan would, of course, empower Alinskyite troublemakers, while annoying and inconveniencing normal Americans.

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