The Plan To End The Suburbs

Yesterday Stanley Kurtz at The National Review  posted an article about the Democrat’s plan to abolish the suburbs.

The National Review reports:

The suburbs are the swing constituency in our national elections. If suburban voters knew what the Democrats had in store for them, they’d run screaming in the other direction. Unfortunately, Republicans have been too clueless or timid to make an issue of the Democrats’ anti-suburban plans. It’s time to tell voters the truth.

I’ve been studying Joe Biden’s housing plans, and what I’ve seen is both surprising and frightening. I expected that a President Biden would enforce the Obama administration’s radical AFFH (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing) regulation to the hilt. That is exactly what Biden promises to do. By itself, that would be more than enough to end America’s suburbs as we’ve known them, as I’ve explained repeatedly here at NRO.

What surprises me is that Biden has actually promised to go much further than AFFH. Biden has embraced Cory Booker’s strategy for ending single-family zoning in the suburbs and creating what you might call “little downtowns” in the suburbs. Combine the Obama-Biden administration’s radical AFFH regulation with Booker’s new strategy, and I don’t see how the suburbs can retain their ability to govern themselves. It will mean the end of local control, the end of a style of living that many people prefer to the city, and therefore the end of meaningful choice in how Americans can live. Shouldn’t voters know that this is what’s at stake in the election?

It is no exaggeration to say that progressive urbanists have long dreamed of abolishing the suburbs. (In fact, I’ve explained it all in a book.) Initially, these anti-suburban radicals wanted large cities to simply annex their surrounding suburbs, like cities did in the 19th century. That way a big city could fatten up its tax base. Once progressives discovered it had since become illegal for a city to annex its surrounding suburbs without voter consent, they cooked up a strategy that would amount to the same thing.

This de facto annexation strategy had three parts: (1) use a kind of quota system to force “economic integration” on the suburbs, pushing urban residents outside of the city; (2) close down suburban growth by regulating development, restricting automobile use, and limiting highway growth and repair, thus forcing would-be suburbanites back to the city; (3) use state and federal laws to force suburbs to redistribute tax revenue to poorer cities in their greater metropolitan region. If you force urbanites into suburbs, force suburbanites back into cities, and redistribute suburban tax revenue, then presto! You have effectively abolished the suburbs.

I wonder if Democrats who live in the suburbs were aware of this plan, would they vote for Joe Biden?

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. So far President Trump is the only person willing to fight this move.

Coming To A Neighborhood Near You

On July 19, 2013, the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department of the federal government proposed the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation.

This is a brief summary of the regulation taken from the Federal Register:

This proposed rule would amend HUD regulations in 24 CFR part 5 that contain general HUD program requirements, and specifically 24 CFR part 5, subpart A, which contains generally applicable definitions and federal requirements that are applicable to all or almost all HUD programs. This rule proposes to add new §§ 5.150-5.180 under the undesignated heading of “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.” These new sections will primarily provide the regulations that will govern the affirmatively furthering fair housing planning process by states, local governments, and PHAs, but reserves additional sections in subpart A for HUD to continue to provide regulations that will assist all HUD program participants in more effectively affirmatively furthering fair housing.

Purpose of Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Regulations (§ 5.150). New § 5.150 states that the purpose of HUD’s new regulations (AFFH regulations) is to provide more effective means of meeting the statutory obligation imposed on HUD program participants to affirmatively further fair housing. The new AFFH regulations are intended to add clarity to the goals that are at the heart of affirmatively furthering fair housing, to provide for guidance and interaction between HUD and program participants and, to the extent appropriate, inform other housing and urban development programs that are subject to AFFH requirements. The new regulations envision a process that is structurally incorporated into the consolidated plan and the PHA planning process, building upon what is already familiar to HUD program participants and thus reducing burden and connecting disparate planning processes.

So what exactly does this mean? Americans for limited government puts it in real terms:

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today urged the Senate to support an amendment by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), S.3897, to the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) appropriations bill that will prohibit implementation of the HUD regulation “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH) that conditions $3 billion of yearly community development block grants on 1,200 recipient cities and counties rezoning neighborhoods along income and racial guidelines:

“There is zero excuse for allowing the federal government to dictate local zoning policy via community development block grants to impose racial and income zoning quotas on cities and counties. Zoning ordinances only determine what can be built where, not who lives there. People can move wherever they want, and rent or buy. Real housing discrimination, that is, denying housing on the basis of race, has been illegal for decades. It is not at all what is at issue in the upcoming vote in the Senate.

“The Lee amendment simply says that community development block grants, which have been around for more than 40 years, can be spent by local communities as they see fit to put affordable housing where they think it makes sense. That’s the way these block grants have always been allocated, but suddenly, the Obama Administration found some new power for HUD to condition the community development block grants based on fulfilling the department’s utopian vision of racial and income equality.

“Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing is not about expanding the poor’s access to housing, it’s about expanding the federal government’s reach into local municipalities. Republican or Democrat, defunding this overreach should be an easy vote for every senator.”

One example of how the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation actually works is cited at a website called

In Westchester County, N.Y., a trial run for the rule has already occurred where HUD has attempted to rezone six cities, 19 towns and 20 villages as a condition for receiving $5 million of grants. Rather than submit to federal rule, County Executive Rob Astorino simply rejected the money from 2012, and Westchester lost out on some $7 million of grants from 2011 for the same reason. Watch the video of Astorino explaining how the HUD regulation will affect your neighborhood.

This is just the beginning, and left unchecked, the impact of this regulation will be felt nationwide. In 2012, HUD dispersed about $3.8 billion of these grants to almost 1,200 municipalities. By virtue of accepting the grants, under the rule, each of these 1,200 municipalities will be forced to comply with HUD’s racial zoning edicts.

The House of Representatives has already acted, defunding implementation of the regulation two years in a row. Now, it is the Senate’s turn to act. Senator Mike Lee has introduced an amendment to the Transportation and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) appropriations bill defunding implementation of the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule.

Zoning laws are done by local governments who understand the area they are dealing with–the infrastructure, the land, and the resources. The federal government has no business overriding local government laws and decisions.

Coming To Your Neighborhood

Frankly, I don’t care who moves into my neighborhood as long as they take care of their house, pay their bills, don’t have vicious dogs that run free, and don’t have wild parties without inviting the neighbors. Evidently, the government cares who lives in my neighborhood more than I do.

On Wednesday, Newsbusters posted an article about the new regulations from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The only major news source that covered the story in their nightly newscast was Fox News.

Here is the discussion on Fox (taken from the Newsbusters article):

FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier
July 8, 2015
6:33 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Community Organizing?]

BRET BAIER: Well, critics tonight are saying the Obama administration is taking another big step toward telling you and your neighbors who can and cannot live on your street and in your neighborhood. Supporters call it fair housing. Opponents call it social engineering. Correspondent Kevin Corke has the story. 

HUD SECRETARY JULIAN CASTRO: We’re eager to support local leaders in giving every person an equal chance to access quality good housing near schools, transportation and jobs, no matter who they are, what they look like, how they worship. 

KEVIN CORKE: That’s the thought behind the White House effort to use the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help root out systematic discrimination and segregation all across America. The plan unveiled today is called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing and will require cities and towns to scrutinize housing patterns for racial bias with the goal of “reducing disparities in housing choice and access…thereby expanding economic opportunities and enhancing the quality of life.” Communities are required to report their findings and/or improvement plans every three-to-five years or face losing the federal funding HUD hands out here each year. 


CORKE: Critics say the President’s plan is a social engineering redux of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which was meant to fight housing discrimination, but actually created worse segregation in some cities thanks to so-called white flight when many families chose to move to the suburbs. 

THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION’S HANS VON SPAKOVSKY: This is the Obama administration’s way of putting in their utopian, progressive vision of how they think Americans should live. 

CORKE: This time around, HUD will use data collected from zoning laws, home financing, infrastructure planning, and transportation to determine if all families have access to fair housing and services, but some lawmakers on Capitol Hill say this is just a heavy-handed way for the government to try to shape local zoning laws, and in doing so, support yet another overreach by the President. 


CORKE: The final rule is 377 pages long, much longer, frankly, than the version we saw back in 2013. By the way, parts of the AFFH are set to take effect 30 days from tomorrow with other policies being phased in over time.

Everyone should have the right to live wherever they choose (assuming that they can afford the house they choose). However, any time the government gets involved in anything, it gets complicated and eventually very expensive to the taxpayer. I don’t think there is anything in the Constitution that allows the government to tell people where they can live or who can live in what neighborhood. Again, the only way we are going to stop this sort of ridiculousness is to elect people who respect and will uphold (as their oath of office says) the Constitution.