One of the great things about America is that many Americans are homeowners. As homeowners, they create individual homes that reflect their personalities. That is the reason driving through many of our cities can be a fascinating study of architecture and how it changed through our history. Well, if the Biden administration gets its way, single-family housing will be a thing of the past.
The National Review posted an article today detailing how the Biden administration is planning to eliminate single-family housing:
The article reports:
How, exactly, does Biden plan to end single-family zoning? According to the fact sheet released by the White House, “Biden is calling on Congress to enact an innovative new competitive grant program that awards flexible and attractive funding to jurisdictions that take concrete steps to eliminate [‘exclusionary zoning’].” In other words, Biden wants to use a big pot of federal grant money as bait. If a county or municipality agrees to weaken or eliminate its single-family zoning, it gets the federal bucks.
The wildly overreaching Obama-Biden era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation — which Biden has pledged to revive — works in a similar fashion. The difference is that by adding another gigantic pot of federal money to the Community Development Block Grants that are the lure of AFFH, Biden makes it that much harder for suburbs to resist applying — and that much more punishing to jurisdictions that forgo a share of the federal taxes they’ve already paid so as to protect their right to self-rule.
Are federal carrots enough, however? Prosperous suburbs may forgo the grants in an effort to secure their independence. The success of Biden’s initiative depends in part on exactly how much money gets allocated to grants tied to zoning reform. The details of that ask haven’t yet been released, but the $213 billion allocated to Biden’s total affordable housing initiative leave room for an awfully big pot for the anti-zoning portion.
I don’t think our Founding Fathers envisioned a country where the government could tell you what kind of a house you could live in.
The article concludes:
Last summer, when California floated a measure to kill single-family zoning, there was powerful opposition from residents who objected to a law that would make their neighborhoods denser, noisier, and more filled with traffic. Predominantly minority residents in South Los Angeles saw the bill as an “affront to how hard Black Americans fought to join single-family neighborhoods, battling redlining, racist covenants and even targeted violence. And they worried that suddenly relaxing zoning rules would not only ruin the low density they enjoyed, but also unleash an investment flood that would accelerate displacement of the Black community as developers scooped up old homes and built new ones unaffordable to most in the community.”
The zoning issue is tough and complex. It balances principled libertarian objections to zoning and the interests of developers, on the one hand, against core principles of federalism and local control, on the other. Massive spending and taxation are fundamental to the federal effort to override local zoning laws. Neighborhood preservation vies with “creative destruction.” There are plenty of complex, conflicting, and legitimate considerations in the balance. But reducing the zoning issue to bogus charges of “racism” is the way Democrats play the game nowadays.
If Republicans find the courage to stand up to the usual nonsense and oppose this big-government attempt to kill off the federalist system itself, they will find not only the vast majority of Republicans, but a great many independents and Democrats in their corner.
This is something to watch. If the infrastructure bill passes the Senate, it will not only kill our wallets, it will also end a lot of our freedom to choose where and how we live.