“I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” candidate Barack Obama declared shortly before Election Day in 2008. It was a shot across the bow that only conservatives heard or cared about, and its a theme he has returned to constantly during his presidency. In 2012, during a debate over raising the debt ceiling, he went so far as to proclaim:
I do not want, and I will not accept, a deal in which I am asked to do nothing, in fact, I’m able to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income that I don’t need, while a parent out there who is struggling to figure out how to send their kid to college suddenly finds that they’ve got a couple thousand dollars less in grants or student loans. [Emphasis added]
His reliance on the first person pronoun notwithstanding, he was obviously speaking for every greedy American who controlled “additional income he doesn’t need,” which, he noted on other occasions should be redistributed in the name of fairness.
His latest salvo is a regulation due out in draft form this month geared toward “diversifying” affluent neighborhoods. The rule, being developed by social engineers at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), would award grant money to incentivize localities to build affordable housing in more affluent areas and upgrade poorer areas with better schools, parks, libraries, grocery stores, and transportation routes.
The Hill quotes a HUD spokeswoman as explaining:
HUD is working with communities across the country to fulfill the promise of equal opportunity for all. The proposed policy seeks to break down barriers to access to opportunity in communities supported by HUD funds.
But the plan is being assailed by opponents as the latest example of executive overreach in search of an “unrealistic utopia.” Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) asserts 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,” adding:
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.
Gosar, who is leading an effort in the House to block the regulations, further maintains that the rule would give HUD carte blanche 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,” he told The Hill.
Civil rights advocates, meanwhile, praise the plan.
Here is an exchange between Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) and HUD Secretary Julian Castro on the proposal.
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