Look out American neighborhoods, you’re about to get engineered good and hard.
Why? Because market pricing is now considered discrimination.
In fact, any neighborhood that doesn’t meet with the approval of a demographic spreadsheet model in the bowels of some government bureaucrat’s office is considered discrimination.
(Those last two sentences are probably discrimination.)
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a final rule today for the “affirmatively furthering fair housing program” but the debate is far from being final.
Under the program, the federal government will collect large sums of personal data on the makeup of neighborhoods throughout the country searching for evidence of “disparities by race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or disability in access to community assets” — even though there is no evidence of actual discrimination. And, in fact, such discrimination has been illegal since 1968.
Those communities that don’t fit the demographic models — let's be frank here, they're quotas — of “What Should Be” will have to be re-engineered by the smarter minds that are federal government bureaucrats. (What do you know about your own neighborhood? They know better.)
Those communities that don’t measure up to the spreadsheets will be targeted for correction, using billions in grants, as well as government blackmail (think how highway funds are used to bully states) to change their zoning, so that neighborhoods full of successful, prosperous people who worked to build their homes and their peaceful communities will be forced to welcome neighbors who haven’t worked for it, and who don’t value it.
Welcome to Fair Housing 2015, where market pricing is discrimination.
Although discrimination has been illegal in housing since the adoption of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, this will target economic status as a type of discrimination — essentially saying that market pricing is discrimination.
Oh, I’m being unfair and drinking too much free-market Kool-Aid?
According to the Obama administration’s own wording, “housing choices continue to be constrained through housing discrimination, the operation of housing markets, [and] investment choices by holders of capital.”
There it is. Right there. Sounds like Piketty or Marx, but it's the White House.
Not in black and white, but in green — as in the color of money and the color of envy.
Also, consider that they want to eliminate neighborhoods that they say have a demographic imbalance. Well, by that logic, we'd never have any Little Italy's, Chinatowns, or any other ethnic enclaves that celebrate cultures. Gone is the revival by middle and upper-class black people in places like Harlem in New York and Oak Cliff in my own Dallas. No more Koreatown, no more Little Mexico. So much for celebrating diversity.
There is a bright spot — already on Capitol Hill some Republicans are talking about withholding funding through appropriations actions.
Also, because of the absolutely massive, invasive data collection necessary to enact the program, it will take years to get under way and it will no longer have the weight of the current administration’s drive to “fundamentally transform America.”
Most importantly, it will likely get a good public airing, since HUD Secretary JuliánCastro — who is the front man on this grand-scale caper — is on the short-list of Democrat vice presidential candidates, some say this could become a contentious issue for the 2016 presidential race. It will certainly be awkward for Hillary Clinton, whose home neighborhood is fighting just this kind of program right now.
Here’s the specious and silly fluff that Castro uses to justify this program, although he’s about as responsible for this program as he was responsible for anything that happened in San Antonio under his ribbon-cutting, no-power tenure as mayor.
“Unfortunately, too many Americans find their dreams limited by where they come from, and a ZIP code should never determine a child’s future,” he says.
Way to remove any sense of personal agency from human beings, Julián. You’re saying everything bad is because people are victims, and everything other people earn is something that, as his boss says, is something that they didn’t build.
Just not buying that.
And this isn’t because I’m some elitist who doesn’t like The Poors. It’s because the unintended consequences of this — I’ll be generous to a fault here — well-meaning program will be dragging down property values and injecting poverty dysfunction into successful neighborhoods.
(And let’s not even mention the NSA-style data collection that HUD wants to undertake, prying into every household. Oops, I mentioned it.)
With any luck, the next administration, Democrat or Republican, will reject this class-warfare attack on “discrimination by the holders of capital.” But democracy isn’t exactly the best bulwark for preserving freedom and free markets.
As H.L. Mencken said, and from which I borrowed for my lede, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”
Well, here it comes again. You're about to be bureaucratically and culturally enriched.