The Trump administration has decided to delay — but not yet scrap — a draconian and widely condemned “regulation” from the Obama administration known as the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH) rule. The scheme, which became a lighting rod of controversy, aims to gather massive amounts of demographic data on every community in America, then use the awesome powers of the federal government to redistribute people based on race and income. It’s all to advance some nebulous notion of “diversity” and “fairness,” advocates say. On both sides of the debate, though, there is an expectation that the recently unveiled delay could be a stop-gap measure while the rule is totally abolished.
Officially, the rule was “delayed” because local governments were having trouble understanding — not to mention complying — with the byzantine mandates. About one third of the initial local government plans for compliance submitted to the feds were rejected, sparking concerns, according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development officials. Multiple local bureaucrats from big liberal cities and the Obama administration were quoted downplaying the confusion and celebrating the rule as if it were some great invention or innovation. Unsurprisingly, establishment mouthpieces such as the New York Times did not quote a single critic, despite quoting liberally from tax-funded supporters with a clear conflict of interest.
The rule itself is confusing. Under the guise of making communities more “diverse” and ending “segregation,” the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) scheme would radically reshape your neighborhood. Not enough federally subsidized low-income apartments in your upper- or middle-class suburb of single-family homes? The AFFH would change that by plopping more welfare recipients and Section 8-subsidized apartments there. Not enough whites, Latinos, black people, Muslims, or Asians in your community? The AFFH would seek to redistribute people, too, until the feds’ vision of racial, religious, and income levels being harmonized is realized across America.
In addition to the gnashing of teeth by the establishment’s leading propaganda organs, a coalition of establishment AstroTurf groups on the left-wing fringe also whined about the delay in enforcing the rule. Basically, the alliance claimed that poverty and poor education are a result of a federal government that has not been active enough in redistributing people based on their demographics and socioeconomic status. However, federal studies that have been done show that redistributing poor or minority people into wealthier communities did not actually improve wellbeing, resulted in more food stamp use, and brought crime into safer neighborhoods.
Outraged by the delay, the coalition, which includes everything from transgender groups and the ACLU to a range of front groups for billionaire extremist George Soros, demanded that HUD begin vigorously enforcing the decree. Ironically, they claimed not allowing D.C. bureaucrats to immediately reshape communities across America was “giving local residents less voice in important decisions about their communities.” Seriously.
But if the hysterics are correct, the delay may just be a temporary measure as the scheme is tossed into the trash heap of regulations being dismantled by the Trump administration. The current HUD secretary, Ben Carson, was actually a fierce critic of the scheme prior to joining Trump’s cabinet. In a stinging rebuke of the power grab, Carson said that the Obama agency’s rules relied on a “tortured reading” of the relevant federal statutes.
“The new rule would not only condition the grant of HUD funds to municipalities on building affordable housing as is the case today, but would require that such affordable housing be built primarily in wealthier neighborhoods with few current minority residents and that the new housing be aggressively marketed to minorities,” warned Carson in a column while he was running for the GOP nomination.
As intended, the Obama rule would fundamentally transform many communities — especially wealthier suburbs. “In practice, the rule would fundamentally change the nature of some communities from primarily single-family to largely apartment-based areas by encouraging municipalities to strike down housing ordinances that have no overtly (or even intended) discriminatory purpose — including race-neutral zoning restrictions on lot sizes and limits on multi-unit dwellings, all in the name of promoting diversity,” added Carson, a widely respected pediatric neurosurgeon once labeled an “extremist” by the fringe left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center.
However, as with other socialist schemes that have backfired everywhere they have been tried, Carson predicted that the AFFH would end up becoming yet another government-mandated boondoggle. “These government-engineered attempts to legislate racial equality create consequences that often make matters worse,” he concluded, offering examples such as the failed “busing” experiments with school children. “There are reasonable ways to use housing policy to enhance the opportunities available to lower-income citizens, but based on the history of failed socialist experiments in this country, entrusting the government to get it right can prove downright dangerous.”
However, after becoming HUD boss, Carson has softened his tone, and vowed to “reinterpret” the rule rather than scrap it altogether, alarming those who supported him for the post due to his opposition to AFFH. “Do I believe in fair housing? Of course, I believe in fair housing,” Carson was quoted as saying by the Washington Examiner, adding that he did not believe in “extra manipulation and cost.” “So we just have to reinterpret it, that’s all,” Carson said, without elaborating on how he might reinterpret it to be less costly and manipulative. Of course, lawless Supreme Court decrees notwithstanding, no amount of manipulation outside a constitutional amendment could make the rule constitutional, since the feds have no constitutional authority over housing policy, period.
In an e-mail to The New American, American Policy Center chief Tom DeWeese said much more was needed to rein in an out-of-control federal government — but that the delay could be a good first step. “I’m glad to see Carson is finally taking some steps,” said DeWeese, author of the new book exposing “sustainable development” titled Sustainable! The War on Free Enterprise, Private Property and Individuals. “Is it enough? Time will tell. He is under tremendous pressure by the non-governmental organizations [NGOs] to not touch this sacred cow. But if we are to restore American freedoms and property rights, this must be the first target.”
An entire chapter in his new book is actually dedicated to exposing the dangers of Obama’s AFFH scheme. “The main points are that the enforcement of AFFH, without a clear definition of what it really is — forcing local communities to strip search every neighborhood for ´equality,’ ‘balance,’ and other specific measures dictated by HUD —has created specific guidelines dictating specific numbers of each for a proper “balance,” DeWeese warned. “They have to do this every five years. If HUD finds the neighborhood ‘out of balance’ then the community needs to bring it in balance — perhaps by advertising to find the ethnic or racial groups, etc, to bring in HUD-dictated balance. It is social engineering and most specifically destroys local rule.”
Trump has cut 22 federal regulations for every new one added, sparking nationwide celebrations and a dramatic economic boost that has seen the stock market soar to record highs. The AFFH, though, is more than just another burdensome Obama-era regulation that is dragging down productivity and wasting money. Instead, it represents one of the subversive tactics used by Obama and the establishment behind him to “fundamentally transform the United States of America,” as Obama infamously put it. Indeed, it is an attempt to centrally plan local communities by an all-powerful government that, unless it is restrained, will continue to devour every last freedom until at last it kills its own host — the American people.
Not only is this AFFH regulation unconstitutional, it is dangerous: It undermines freedom of association, the right to self government, the rule of law, private property rights, local governance, states’ rights, and much more. Trump and Carson should make good on yet another pledge by killing the rule once and for all. Then, if they want to truly show respect for their oath of office, they can work to shut down the entire unconstitutional and unnecessary “housing” bureaucracy. In the meantime, though, communities can and must protect themselves from this federally mandated social engineering by refusing to accept “grants” from HUD — and by firmly rejecting the strings that come attached to them.
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