"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt


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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Obama's Quiet War Against the Suburbs



I'm late on this, but perhaps it's good to remember that academic Leftists, like Obama, hate the suburbs with a passion. You thought the filmmakers behind American Beauty weren't fans? Well, that's just a shadow of the academic Left's loathing.

It must be understood that the suburbs are chock-full of bitter-clingers who aren't contributing enough to the plight of cities. You see, if there's a financial problem in government, one of the easiest strategies is to spread out the problem and thus alleviate it slightly for those most affected. It's much easier to do that than it is to actually address the problem. And most significantly, acting this way leaves certain Leftist theories unchallenged and its adherents insulated from the political effects of their policies. Ina way, it's not unlike socialism in general. A socialist country must have access to outside money (such as possessing a patron or being a tourist spot), or it must expand itself and takeover outside resources and money, or it collapses. That's really the choices that exist.

Anyway, from Stanley Kurtz's article "Burn Down the Suburbs?" at National Review Online:

"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.

[...]

"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.

[...]

"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."

Obama is not a mysterious figure. He's a direct product of Leftist academia. What makes him mysterious is his administration's obfuscations, the vague "boots-on-the-ground" strategies that accompany the grand plans of academic Left (they think more often then they do-- and when they do they commonly end up behaving pretty much like Obama: petulant, incompetent, and spouting excuses while assigning blame to others), and their blunders that make the Obama administration's motives so difficult to tease out. And of course the old media's frequent refusal to actually do their job.

When Obama declared that he wanted to "fundamentally transform America," he meant it.

And when he spoke about bitter clingers... he meant that too.

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