Joe Biden’s War on America’s Suburbs

Member Group : Jerry Shenk

Suburban voters should fear a Joe Biden presidency, because, if elected, Biden intends to wage war on America’s suburbs.

Biden’s campaign website section on “Housing,” states: “As President, Biden will enact legislation requiring any state receiving federal dollars through the Community Development Block Grants or Surface Transportation Block Grants to develop a strategy for inclusionary zoning…”

Biden has said repeatedly that he intends to reinstate the Obama/Biden administration’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule (AFFH) requiring communities receiving federal funding (i.e., all of them) to address housing policies that have “discriminatory” effects.

Under the original Obama/Biden AFFH rule, mere allegations of discrimination in communities receiving U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grants could trigger the imposition of government-determined “fair” housing standards to override local decisions on zoning, housing density and financing.

The original AFFH threat to withhold HUD funds alone was an attack on the suburban single-family home lifestyle to which families, including minorities, relocated for space and safety outside crowded, dangerous, mismanaged cities. But Biden intends to put the AFFH on steroids by tying funding for road projects to “non-discriminatory” housing, too.

The U.S. Department of Transportation allocates Surface Transportation Block Grants for state and local transportation needs, primarily for highways, local roads and streets.

By adding Transportation Block Grants to AFFH, in addition to HUD funding, a Biden administration could also withhold federal highway, road and street subsidies unless targeted suburban communities agree to relinquish their zoning authority.

The Ethics and Public Policy Center’s Stanley Kurtz explained: “Under the original rule, localities could at least opt out of their HUD grants – and thus out of federal control – even if at the cost of millions of dollars. But what suburb can afford to cut itself off from…road repairs? With that addition, Biden’s plan truly constitutes a war on suburban independence.”

Discrimination, generally, is proscribed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and housing discrimination based on race, sex, or disability, etc., is specifically prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Those violations, if proven, are already actionable, so HUD Secretary Ben Carson suspended the Obama/Biden administration’s AFFH grading metrics in early 2018, and officially terminated AFFH in July, 2020.

Joe Biden’s enhanced AFFH scheme should be a major concern, especially in suburbs where single-family zoning could be sacrificed on the altar of “diversity.”

No community is immune. Under HUD attack, prosperous Westchester County, NY, where Democrats outnumber Republicans more than two to one, forfeited Obama/Biden-era HUD funds for years. But, relinquishing road funding is virtually impossible, even in wealthy jurisdictions.

Biden’s plan ignores essential context: Every group, including majorities of blacks, non-black minorities and Democrats, opposes forced housing diversification.

An August Rasmussen poll found that “73% of likely voters thought the federal government should not play a role in deciding where people can live. 65% of respondents said it is not the government’s job to diversify neighborhoods based on income.”

“56% of Democrats and 73% of Republicans said it is not the government’s job to diversify neighborhoods. 68% of unaffiliated voters said the same. … 52% of black respondents and 71% of white respondents said it is not the government’s job to diversify neighborhoods. 53% of non-black minority respondents said the same.”

Majority opposition is partly ethnic, but mostly practical, and clearly not, as Biden and others assert, “racist.”

Rasmussen found blacks to be most concerned about their neighborhoods’ racial/ethnic make-up: “63% of black voters said this was important to them, versus 35% of whites and 44% of other minority voters.”

But mandatory diversification is exactly what Joe Biden intends.

Communities that cannot forego federal money for road projects will be at the mercy of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats who hold the power to “detect” even imagined “discrimination,” and, then, to be “fair,” export cities to the suburbs by dictating construction of high-density, low-income housing in suburban centers and neighborhoods.

The low-density suburbs to which working white, black, Hispanic and Asian families relocated would be regulated out of existence by a Biden administration. In view of the widespread crime and violence in large Democrat-run cities, including Philadelphia, Biden’s plan represents vital quality of life and public safety issues in every suburban community.

Suburban dwellers who wish to keep municipal planning and zoning control in local hands should vote in November as if their communities, single-family neighborhoods, local parks, schools, civic character and activities depend on it.

They do.