Pundits on both sides of the aisle are finding Obama’s umpteenth pivot to the economy a rehash of stale policies that most likely won’t be enacted. But Stanley Kurtz argues that it’s not that the Regime is out of ideas – it’s that Obama’s boldest policy initiative is something he’d rather not discuss.
What if instead of “fighting for the middle class”, as Obama pretends he’s doing, he’s currently enacting a scheme that will destroy middle class suburbia?
A year ago, Kurtz published Spreading the Wealth: How Obama Is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities in which he described the president’s second-term plan to press a transformative “regionalist” agenda on the country.
Kurtz writes, “early but unmistakable signs indicate that Obama’s regionalist push is well underway.” And of course this is all very hush-hush. The president is not talking about it, nor is the MSM.
The most obvious new element of the president’s regionalist policy initiative is the July 19 publication of a Department of Housing and Urban Development regulation broadening the obligation of recipients of federal aid to “affirmatively further fair housing.” The apparent purpose of this rule change is to force suburban neighborhoods with no record of housing discrimination to build more public housing targeted to ethnic and racial minorities. Several administration critics noticed the change and challenged it, while the mainstream press has simply declined to cover the story.
Yet even critics have missed the real thrust of HUD’s revolutionary rule change. That’s understandable, since the Obama administration is at pains to downplay the regionalist philosophy behind its new directive. The truth is, HUD’s new rule is about a great deal more than forcing racial and ethnic diversity on the suburbs. (Regionalism, by the way, is actually highly controversial among minority groups. There are many ways in which both middle-class minorities in suburbs, and less well-off minorities in cities, can be hurt by regionalist policies–another reason those plans are seldom discussed.)
The new HUD rule is really about changing the way Americans live. It is part of a broader suite of initiatives designed to block suburban development, press Americans into hyper-dense cities, and force us out of our cars. Government-mandated ethnic and racial diversification plays a role in this scheme, yet the broader goal is forced “economic integration.” The ultimate vision is to make all neighborhoods more or less alike, turning traditional cities into ultra-dense Manhattans, while making suburbs look more like cities do now. In this centrally-planned utopia, steadily increasing numbers will live cheek-by-jowl in “stack and pack” high-rises close to public transportation, while automobiles fall into relative disuse.
Kurtz goes on to describe the San Francisco “Plan Bay Area,” a region-wide blueprint designed to control development in the nine-county, 101-town region around San Francisco.
He says that the Obama administration’s goal is “to use legal and financial carrots and sticks to press Plan Bay Area clones on regions across the country through its federally-funded Regional Planning Grant program.”
The new HUD rule will be folded into this broader strategy. (I lay out the structure, philosophy, and history of that strategy in Spreading the Wealth.)
When Secretary Donovan announced the sweeping new HUD rule, he said: “Make no mistake: this is a big deal.” He’s right. Yet the mainstream press has ignored the change, as well as the broader story behind it. Recognizing the politically explosive nature of its regionalist plans, the Obama administration does little to connect the dots for the public at large. Above all, the president himself avoids this issue, although it’s deeply embedded in his administration’s policies.
Obama isn’t actually out of bold ideas. They’re simply too controversial for him to discuss. The time has come for a national debate on the Obama administration’s regionalist policies.
Then again, Obama’s goal may be nothing more than an effort to move Democrat voters into conservative areas. Because when it’s all said and done – what is it that motivates this president and his fellow travelers in congress more than anything else?
Policies initiated by Democrats are intended first and foremost to cement the place and power of Democrats in the American polity. As I pointed out awhile back, all the post-election talk about what Obama’s second agenda would be (energy? jobs? foreign policy? and so on) was meaningless since there would be one and only one second-term agenda for this president:
There is nothing that will sidetrack him and the rest of the party from this goal. Increasing unemployment won’t, nor North Korean nuclear tests, nor a weakening dollar, nor anything else.
… to eliminate political and economic competition to himself first and the Democrat party second. There is no other Obama agenda. Not jobs, not economic growth, not anything. Emplacing permanent one-party rule in this country is the sole goal for term 2.
That is what he is really doing, very energetically, while we grow tired of paying attention to him.