How Obama Will Centrally-Plan Your Neighborhood: Here Comes The "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing" Rule

Because centrally-planning the market and the double seasonally-adjusted economy was not enough, the Obama administration is now set to create a wealth-adjusted community utopia. According to The Hill, the administration is moving forward with regulations designed to help diversify America’s wealthier neighborhoods, such as building affordable housing in more affluent areas.

The official title of Obama's latest proposal to have the government centrally-plan your community: The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, a name that only the person who penned the US Freedom Act could have come up with.

The underlying motive: "unfair" segregation sprinkled with a hint of latent racist guilt. "

A final Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rule due out this month is aimed at ending decades of deep-rooted segregation around the country. “HUD is working with communities across the country to fulfill the promise of equal opportunity for all,” a HUD spokeswoman said. “The proposed policy seeks to break down barriers to access to opportunity in communities supported by HUD funds.”

While the proposal would seek to downshift upscale communities, it would also gentrify poor areas:

The regulations would use grant money as an incentive for communities to build affordable housing in more affluent areas while also taking steps to upgrade poorer areas with better schools, parks, libraries, grocery stores and transportation routes as part of a gentrification of those communities.

But is Obama really going to build a project next to 740 Park Avenue? Not if Obama's wealthy backers have anything to say about it: "the proposal is drawing fire from critics who decry the proposal as executive overreach in search of an unrealistic utopia." "It’s a tough sell for some conservatives. Among them is Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), who argued that the administration “shouldn’t be holding hostage grant monies aimed at community improvement based on its unrealistic utopian ideas of what every community should resemble.”

But why not? The market is already nothing but a wealth effect "policy vehicle" for what the Federal Reserve thinks a perfectly functioning "market" should resemble. Why not housing?

American citizens and communities should be free to choose where they would like to live and not be subject to federal neighborhood engineering at the behest of an overreaching federal government,” said Gosar, who is leading an effort in the House to block the regulations.

It appears that when central planning leads to disproportionate benefits to a select few, such as those 10% of the US population who have benefited almost exclusively from US "households" now owning $99 trillion in assets courtesy of the Fed, they are far more perturbed when that same central planning means sharing a neighborhood with some less savory elements.

To be sure, civil rights advocates are already praising the plan, arguing that it is needed to break through decades-old barriers that keep poor and minority families trapped in hardscrabble neighborhoods.

“We have a history of putting affordable housing in poor communities,” said Debby Goldberg, vice president at the National Fair Housing Alliance.

HUD says it is obligated to take the action under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which prohibited direct and intentional housing discrimination, such as a real estate agent not showing a home in a wealthy neighborhood to a black family or a bank not providing a loan based on someone’s race.

Just think of it as a logical extension of Obama's "fairness doctrine", which as we have argued from day one, is only fair in the eyes of the supreme beholder.

“This rule is not about forcing anyone to live anywhere they don’t want to,” said Margery Turner, senior vice president at the left-leaning Urban Institute. “It’s really about addressing long-standing practices that prevent people from living where they want to.”

 

“In our country, decades of public policies and institutional practices have built deeply segregated and unequal neighborhoods,” Turner said.

And just to shut up critics, it is time to bring out old faithful: the racism card. “Segregation is clearly a problem that is blocking upward mobility for children growing up today,” Margery Turner said. Incidentally, Turner has an MA in urban and regional planning from the George Washington University. Designing the "perfect" neighborhood is a dream come true for anyone with her background and now she has the president's blessing. As for the fallout of what such a plan straight out of 1965 USSR would reap, well that would be some other urban planner's problem.

Others promptly took Obama to task for once again inserting the race card as a catalyst for this latest attempt at encroaching into the last bastion of free America: literally, its back yard.

Hans von Spakovsky, a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, called the Obama administration “too race conscious.” “It’s a sign that this administration seems to take race into account on everything,” Spakovsky said.

A good summary of what will almost certainly end up happening comes from Paul Gosar:

Instead of living with neighbors you like and choose, this breaks up the core fabric of how we start to look at communities,” Gosar said. “That just brings unease to everyone in that area.”

 

“People have to feel comfortable where they live,” he added. “If I don’t feel comfortable in my own backyard, where do I feel comfortable?”

 

Critics of the rule say it would allow HUD to assert authority over local zoning laws. The agency could dictate what types of homes are built where and who can live in those homes, said Gosar, who believes local communities should make those decisions for themselves rather than relying on the federal government.

 

If enacted, the rule could depress property values as cheaper homes crop up in wealthy neighborhoods and raise taxes, Gosar warned.

But who doesn't want a government-mandated surge in crime? Then again, as with everything else by the administration whose shroud of TPP secrecy, as we learned yesterday, was dictated by the Big Pharma corporations who stand to reap huge benefits with its passage, there appears to be a far more ulterior motive: if passed, the act "could also tilt the balance of political power as more minorities are funneled into Republican-leaning neighborhoods, he suggested."

Here some critics could be allowed to scream in terror at the following thought experiment: first a permissive immigration policy allowing the naturalization of millions of illegal immigrants in exchange for a vote at the next election, and then providing said "voter" with a house just down your street.

Actually scratch what we said about 1965 USSR: not even there could such a massive governmental overreach pass without some rather unpleasant social retaliation. Then again this is 2015 USA.

Incidentally, there is already an example of a "noble" idea at helping the poor going horribly wrong: one which the Supreme Court is expected to rule on in the near future.

The Supreme Court is expected to weigh in on housing discrimination in a related case in the coming weeks. At issue is whether government policies that unintentionally create a disparate impact for minority communities violate federal laws against segregation.

 

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is facing accusations that it makes low-income housing funds more readily available in minority neighborhoods than in white neighborhoods. This promotes segregation, critics argue, by encouraging minorities to continue living in poor communities where government assistance is available.

That said, since those most impacted by the passage of this act would be the wealthiest backers of Obama administration whose real estate values would promptly plunge should the rule be enacted, we doubt it has a high chance of passing. We could be wrong.

As for the president, little did we realize just how greatly we, and everyone else, had misread the definition of "community organizer."

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