Biden and Dems Are Set to Abolish the Suburbs

Article CAIRCO note: 
The Democrat party is still intent on fundamentally transforming America
Article author: 
Stanley Kurtz
Article publisher: 
National Review
Article date: 
2 July 2020
Article category: 
Our American Future
Article Body: 

... Joe Biden and the Democrats want to abolish America’s suburbs. Biden and his party have embraced yet another dream of the radical Left: a federal takeover, transformation, and de facto urbanization of America’s suburbs. What’s more, Biden just might be able to pull off this “fundamental transformation.”

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 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.) ...

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....

Once Biden starts to enforce AFFH the way Obama’s administration originally meant it to work, it will be as if America’s suburbs had been swallowed up by the cities they surround. They will lose control of their own zoning and development, they will be pressured into a kind of de facto regional-revenue redistribution, and they will even be forced to start building high-density low-income housing....

Since the Pilgrims first landed, our story has been of a people who chose how and where to live, and who governed themselves when they got there. Self-government in a layered federalist system allowing for local control right down to the township is what made America great. If Biden and the Democrats win, that key to our greatness could easily go by the boards.


Affirmatively Destroying Respectable Neighborhoods, by Paul Nachman, July 2, 2020:

Writing at several days ago, Paul Kersey focused on the Obama administration’s Affirmatively Further Fair Housing [AFFH] diktat.  This isn’t directly related to immigration, but it fits well with coverage of activities by the minority occupation government that’s turning its screws on the historic American nation.  As Kersey wrote, “AFFH is a declaration of war against property values. By removing a community’s right of self-government, Americans lose any control over their own property.”

The particular mechanism in AFFH is the federal imposition of subsidized housing on previously livable suburbs, to be occupied by residents imported from the inner cities and clutching Section 8 housing vouchers.

Except sometimes, it’s not really suburbs, unless one considers Dubuque, Iowa—on the west bank of the Mississippi—a suburb of  Chicago, 200 miles away, with a lot of soybean and corn fields in between.  Stanley Kurtz wrote about Dubuque’s victimization early this year:

Having previously accepted HUD [i.e. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] funding through the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program, as well as HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program, Dubuque was formally obligated to “affirmatively further fair housing” in whatever way HUD defined that obligation. Refusal to submit to HUD’s dictates would have led to the withdrawal of federal funding, a lawsuit for supposed discrimination, or both. The cowed elected officials of Dubuque accordingly signed a “voluntary” (in truth, forced) consent agreement that effectively ceded control of the city’s housing policy to HUD for at least five years.

Under HUD’s detailed oversight, Dubuque must now actively recruit Section 8 voucher holders from the Chicago area. In fact, as of January 2015, the percentage of African-American voucher users in Dubuque was larger than the percentage of African-Americans living in Chicago.

[How Obama Stole Dubuque, National Review Online, January 13, 2016]

Kurtz, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, is the go-to expert on AFFH, >warning about its approach from several years before the administration issued its final rule on the matter.

The expectable consequences of AFFH were previewed in The Atlantic back in 2008. Paul Kersey referred to Hanna Rosin’s article [American Murder Mystery, July-August 2008], but he didn’t use its smoking-howitzer quote. This involves Richard Janikowski and Phyllis Betts, a married couple who are professors of criminology and sociology, respectively, at the University of Memphis [Tennessee]. Over time, Janikowski had put together a map of crime patterns in Memphis while Betts was plotting Section 8 housing units on another map of the city.

Here then is the Atlantic article’s paragraph-for-the-ages (or, at least, for future archaeologists picking over the shards of American civilization):

Janikowski merged his computer map of crime patterns with Betts’s map of Section8 rentals. Where Janikowski saw a bunny rabbit, Betts saw a sideways horseshoe (“He has a better imagination,” she said). Otherwise, the match was near-perfect. On the merged map, dense violent-crime areas are shaded dark blue, and Section8 addresses are represented by little red dots. All of the dark-blue areas are covered in little red dots, like bursts of gunfire. The rest of the city has almost no dots.

As so often, Thomas Sowell was ahead of the game, writing in 2005 about the impacts of Memphis-style policies on established residents of good neighborhoods:

Among the most unconscionable attempts to unsort people who have sorted themselves out by behavior are government programs to relocate people into neighborhoods where they could not afford to live without subsidies. Often the people in those neighborhoods have sacrificed for years in order to be able to live where they could raise their children in decent surroundings and not have to live in fear of hoodlums — only to have the government import the bad neighbors and hoodlums they have tried so hard to escape.

Both kinds of people may be of the same race but that does not make the consequences any less painful or the resentments any less bitter. Blacks as well as whites have objected to having problem people thrust into their midst through housing subsidies or government housing projects being built in their neighborhoods.

Almost never do the social experimenters relocate dysfunctional and dangerous people into their own elite neighborhoods. They unsort other people’s neighborhoods and embitter other people’s lives.

[What Flight?, Real Clear Politics, November 24, 2005]

That’s the kind of insight—and memorable expression of it—that we’ve learned to expect from “our greatest contemporary philosopher.”