Burn Down the Suburbs

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Stan­ley Kurtz out­lines how “Sus­tain­abil­i­ty” is also the cov­er used by the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion, allied with a nation­al net­work of “Left” rad­i­cal income redis­tri­b­u­tion advo­cates for their more imme­di­ate domes­tic agen­da to dis-empow­er mid­dle class Amer­i­cans.  Sus­tain­abil­i­ty also includes the net­work of “Right” multi­na­tion­al cor­po­ratists who oper­ate to the destruc­tion of the Amer­i­can mid­dle class and the advance of world gov­er­nance.  For many Amer­i­cans who can’t eas­i­ly wrap their minds around the very real move­ment for transna­tion­al gov­er­nance, this destruc­tive domes­tic agen­da of wealth redis­tri­b­u­tion and sta­tist pow­er grab comes at the expense of their per­son­al free­dom.  This loss of free­dom, as Kurtz’ arti­cle illus­trates, may be key in wak­ing up Amer­i­cans still in process of com­ing to real­i­ty.


Burn Down the Sub­urbs
by Stan­ley Kurtz

Note: This arti­cle is adapt­ed from Spread­ing the Wealth: How Oba­ma is Rob­bing the Sub­urbs to Pay for the Cities, by Stan­ley Kurtz, from Sen­tinel HC.

Pres­i­dent Oba­ma is not a fan of America’s sub­urbs. Indeed, he intends to abol­ish them. With sub­ur­ban vot­ers set to be the swing con­stituen­cy of the 2012 elec­tion, the administration’s plans for this seg­ment of the elec­torate deserve scruti­ny. Oba­ma is a long­time sup­port­er of “region­al­ism,” the idea that the sub­urbs should be fold­ed into the cities, merg­ing schools, hous­ing, trans­porta­tion, and above all tax­a­tion. To this end, the pres­i­dent has already put pro­grams in place designed to push the coun­try toward a sweep­ing social trans­for­ma­tion in a pos­si­ble sec­ond term. The goal: income equal­iza­tion via a mas­sive redis­tri­b­u­tion of sub­ur­ban tax mon­ey to the cities.

Obama’s plans to under­cut the polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic inde­pen­dence of America’s sub­urbs reach back decades. The com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­ers who trained him in the mid-1980s blamed the plight of cities on tax­pay­er “flight” to sub­ur­bia. Begin­ning in the mid-1990s, Obama’s men­tors at the Gamaliel Foun­da­tion (a com­mu­ni­ty-orga­niz­ing net­work Oba­ma helped found) for­mal­ly ded­i­cat­ed their efforts to the bud­ding fight against sub­ur­ban “sprawl.” From his posi­tions on the boards of a cou­ple of left-lean­ing Chica­go foun­da­tions, Oba­ma chan­neled sub­stan­tial finan­cial sup­port to these efforts. On enter­ing pol­i­tics, he served as a ded­i­cat­ed ally of his men­tors’ anti-sub­ur­ban activism.

The alliance endures. One of Obama’s orig­i­nal train­ers, Mike Krug­lik, has hived off a new orga­ni­za­tion called Build­ing One Amer­i­ca, which con­tin­ues Gamaliel’s anti-sub­ur­ban cru­sade under anoth­er name. Krug­lik and his close allies, David Rusk and Myron Orfield, intel­lec­tu­al lead­ers of the “anti-sprawl” move­ment, have been qui­et­ly work­ing with the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion for years on an ambi­tious pro­gram of social reform.

In July of 2011, Kruglik’s Build­ing One Amer­i­ca held a con­fer­ence at the White House. Orfield and Rusk made pre­sen­ta­tions, and after­wards Krug­lik per­son­al­ly met with the pres­i­dent in the Oval Office. The ulti­mate goal of the move­ment led by Krug­lik, Rusk, and Orfield is quite lit­er­al­ly to abol­ish the sub­urbs. Know­ing that this could nev­er hap­pen through out­right annex­a­tion by near­by cities, they’ve devel­oped ways to coax sub­urbs to slow­ly for­feit their inde­pen­dence.

One approach is to force sub­ur­ban res­i­dents into dense­ly packed cities by block­ing devel­op­ment on the out­skirts of met­ro­pol­i­tan areas, and by dis­cour­ag­ing dri­ving with a bliz­zard of tax­es, fees, and reg­u­la­tions. Step two is to move the poor out of cities by impos­ing low-income-hous­ing quo­tas on devel­op­ment in mid­dle-class sub­urbs. Step three is to export the con­tro­ver­sial “region­al tax-base shar­ing” scheme cur­rent­ly in place in the Minneapolis–St. Paul area to the rest of the coun­try. Under this pro­gram, a por­tion of sub­ur­ban tax mon­ey flows into a com­mon region­al pot, which is then effec­tive­ly redis­trib­uted to urban, and a few less well-off “inner-ring” sub­ur­ban, munic­i­pal­i­ties.

The Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion, stocked with “region­al­ist” appointees, has been advanc­ing this ambi­tious plan qui­et­ly for the past four years. Efforts to dis­cour­age dri­ving and to press devel­op­ment into dense­ly packed cities are jus­ti­fied by ref­er­ence to fears of glob­al warm­ing. Lead­ers of the cru­sade against “sprawl” very con­scious­ly use envi­ron­men­tal con­cerns as a cov­er for their redis­trib­u­tive schemes.

The cen­ter­piece of the Oba­ma administration’s anti-sub­ur­ban plans is a lit­tle-known and seem­ing­ly mod­est pro­gram called the Sus­tain­able Com­mu­ni­ties Ini­tia­tive. The “region­al plan­ning grants” fund­ed under this ini­tia­tive — many of them in bat­tle­ground states like Flori­da, Vir­ginia, and Ohio — are set to rec­om­mend redis­trib­u­tive poli­cies, as well as trans­porta­tion and devel­op­ment plans, designed to under­cut America’s sub­urbs. Few have noticed this because the program’s goals are muf­fled in the impen­e­tra­ble jar­gon of “sus­tain­abil­i­ty,” while its rec­om­men­da­tions are to be unveiled only in a pos­si­ble sec­ond Oba­ma term.

Obama’s for­mer com­mu­ni­ty-orga­niz­ing men­tors and col­leagues want the admin­is­tra­tion to con­di­tion future fed­er­al aid on state adher­ence to the rec­om­men­da­tions served up by these anti-sub­ur­ban plan­ning com­mis­sions. That would quick­ly turn an appar­ent­ly mod­est set of region­al-plan­ning grants into a lever for sweep­ing social change.

In light of Obama’s unbro­ken his­to­ry of col­lab­o­ra­tion with his orga­niz­ing men­tors on this anti-sub­ur­ban project, and his proven will­ing­ness to impose ambi­tious pol­i­cy agen­das on the coun­try through heavy-hand­ed reg­u­la­tion, this project seems like­ly to advance.

A sec­ond and equal­ly ambi­tious facet of Obama’s anti-sub­ur­ban blue­print involves the work of Kruglik’s Build­ing One Amer­i­ca. Tra­di­tion­al­ly, Alin­skyite com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­ers mobi­lize left­ist church groups. Kruglik’s group goes a step fur­ther by orga­niz­ing not only the reli­gious left but politi­cians from rel­a­tive­ly less-well-off inner-ring sub­urbs. The goal is to build coali­tions between urban and inner-ring sub­ur­ban state leg­is­la­tors, in a bid to force region­al tax-base shar­ing on mid­dle-class sub­ur­ban­ites. That is how the prac­tice came to Min­neso­ta.

The July 2011 White House con­fer­ence, gath­er­ing inner-ring sub­ur­ban politi­cians for pre­sen­ta­tions by Rusk and Orfield, was an effort to place the pres­tige of the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion behind Kruglik’s orga­niz­ing efforts. A mul­ti-state bat­tle over region­al tax-base “shar­ing,” abet­ted by the pres­i­dent, would ush­er in divi­sive class war­fare on a scale like­ly to dwarf the puny efforts of Occu­py Wall Street.

Obama’s lit­tle-known plans to under­mine the polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic auton­o­my of America’s sub­urbs con­sti­tute a pol­i­cy ini­tia­tive sim­i­lar in ambi­tion to health-care reform, the stim­u­lus, or “cap-and-trade.” Obama’s anti-sub­ur­ban plans also sup­ply the miss­ing link that explains his administration’s over­all pol­i­cy archi­tec­ture.

Since the fail­ure of Lyn­don Johnson’s War on Pover­ty and the col­lapse of fed­er­al urban pol­i­cy, left­ist the­o­rists of com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­ing have advo­cat­ed a series of moves designed to qui­et­ly redis­trib­ute tax mon­ey to the cities. Health-care reform and fed­er­al infra­struc­ture spend­ing (as in the stim­u­lus) are backed by orga­niz­ers as the best ways to recon­sti­tute an urban pol­i­cy with­out direct­ly call­ing it that. A cam­paign against sub­ur­ban “sprawl” under the guise of envi­ron­men­tal­ism is the next move. Open calls for sub­ur­ban tax-base “shar­ing” are the final and most con­tro­ver­sial link in the chain of a recon­sti­tut­ed and redis­trib­u­tive urban pol­i­cy. Pres­i­dent Oba­ma is fol­low­ing this plan.

Mid­dle-class sub­ur­ban sup­port­ers of the pres­i­dent take note. It isn’t just the pock­et­books of the “1 per­cent” he’s after; it’s yours.

 Stan­ley Kurtz is a senior fel­low at the Ethics and Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Cen­ter. This piece is adapt­ed from his new book, Spread­ing the Wealth: How Oba­ma Is Rob­bing the Sub­urbs to Pay for the Cities.

Source:  http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/312807/burn-down-suburbs-stanley-kurtz

About Stanley Kurtz