In early 2009, the Obama administration made a surprising, probably unprecedented accusation against Westchester County, New York—a pretty liberal place. According to the Obama administration, Westchester was an instrument of white supremacy — not the good liberals who live in Westchester, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, many others. No one accused them of being bigots. The problem was the buildings they lived in. All those single-family homes — row upon leafy row, set back from the street, well-tended lawns and mailboxes — were examples of racism — literally “structural racism.” The only solution, the Obama people announced, was much greater density: more subsidized housing complexes in Westchester, more hi-rise apartment buildings, maybe some drug-addicted vagrants living on the sidewalk, begging for change. Only if Westchester became more like the Bronx could it become non-racist.
This was all something of a surprise to the people who lived in Westchester, again, most of whom are dutiful liberals. They didn’t realize they had a white supremacy problem. Between 2000 and 2010, according to the census numbers, Westchester’s Black and Hispanic population had risen by more than 50 percent. How could the county be racist? It didn’t make any sense.
In court, the Obama administration explained the reasoning. They singled out Westchester’s practice of “standard zoning.” That referred to county regulations that restricted the heights on certain buildings and limited the placement of sewers to protect drinking water”—it sounds reasonable. But according to the Obama administration, those were “restrictive practices.” “Restrictive practices” is a legal term that, under civil rights law, means they were racist. And because they were racist, the Obama administration withheld more than $20 million in federal funds from Westchester County. If the county wanted the money, it would have to construct 10,000 low-income, high-density, very non-racist apartments. This battle went on for all eight years of the Obama administration and got very little news coverage. To its credit, Westchester fought back, because it could afford good lawyers, and eventually won in court. But most jurisdictions are not as rich as Westchester so they had to relent. Under pressure from federal ideologues, communities in Oregon and Minneapolis, for example, have abolished single-family zoning in recent years.
Why is this happening? The goal isn’t to eliminate racism. The goal is to eliminate suburbs. So rather than improve the lives of people who live in crappy places, the goal is to destroy the lives of people who live in nice places. Why would you want to do that? There’s a very clear political reason. Suburbs are typically purple politically. Republicans win as often as Democrats. If your goal was to make America a one-party state, you’d Republicans can win just as Democrats can but if your goal is to make the country a one-party state, you want to change this. You want to make suburbs into cities and if you did that, you’d win every time. Democrats win cities. Of the ten biggest cities in the United States, Democrats run nine of them. Of the 50 biggest cities, they control two-thirds. It doesn’t mean they are good at running cities, they’re not. Many are on the verge of collapse. But running things isn’t the point. Winning elections is the point. Democrats are happy to admit this. Here’s Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts from yesterday.
Ayanna Pressley, MSNBC, June 27: This is about human and physical infrastructure. Progressives in Congress have been leading this fight. Care economy is infrastructure. Climate justice is infrastructure. Housing justice infrastructure. Public transit justice is infrastructure. These bold investments must be made to support workers and families in order for us to have a just, equitable, robust recovery from this pandemic
“Housing justice.” It sounds like a new term that Ayanna Pressley just made up. What’s it mean? If most people were asked, they would say it means you’re not allowed to prevent people regardless of what they look like or where they’re from, from moving into a specific neighborhood and that’s true, and that’s true. It’s been federal law for more than fifty years, you can’t discriminate in housing sales and you shouldn’t be able to. But that’s not what she’s talking about, she’s talking about something very different saying if neighborhoods look different then by definition, they are racist. If one is nicer than the other, you have to make it less nice, or else that’s not equity.
The Obama administration was on this early. In 2015, the Department of Housing and Urban Development under Obama issued a final rule on what it called “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.”
According to the HUD Secretary at the time, Julian Castro, the “Fair Housing Rule” was simply intended to enforce the “Fair Housing Act of 1968.” That law makes it illegal to discriminate in housing sales or rentals on the basis of race.
The law also requires local jurisdictions that receive federal money to take steps to “affirmatively further” the goal of eliminating race discrimination in housing. This is a complex wordplay, but here’s what it means. Under the Obama Administration, HUD went one important step further.
According to Castro, the existence of “concentrated poverty” in urban centers — as opposed to suburbs — constituted de facto evidence of racial discrimination. In other words, as long as there is a place that is poorer than the place you live, then the place you live is racist. That’s insane, but on the basis of that assumption, they moved forward and local jurisdictions were told to eliminate single-family zoning and increase density in business districts. And if they didn’t comply, they might lose millions of dollars in Community Development Block Grants from HUD.
That was a very radical step and most Americans were unaware it was even happening and people who lived outside the cities are very against it including faithful Democrats. None of them are for that—if they wanted to live next to section eight housing, they would have stayed in the city in the first place. People hate this idea. Suburbs are very complicated organisms just like everything humans build, they’ve developed it for a century or more for good reason and to have federal ideologues come in and destroy them is threatening to people—they’re not for that. Even Democratic voters are not for that. Of course, Joe Biden understands this—of course, he’s no genius, but he understands that. So when asked about it during the last campaign, he lied. Watch Biden reassure you that it’s racist even to suggest he wants to change America’s suburbs:
Joe Biden, July 2020: Look what he’s doing now, the president, he’s trying to scare because an awful lot of suburbanites are now deciding they’re going to vote for me, at least the polling data suggests, as opposed to him. And he’s talking about, “Biden, what he’s going to do, he’s going to send all these folks out to suburbia. They’re going to end up with houses out in suburbia, apartments in suburbia.
A lot of suburban voters did vote for Joe Biden partly on the basis of that claim, that he wasn’t going to send a lot of people to the suburbs but I was a complete lie. Now Joe Biden is preparing to do just that.
At the time, his defense was that the HUD rule, by itself, wasn’t enough to restructure and eliminate suburbs. Local communities that didn’t want to comply could simply refuse HUD grants. They’d lose millions of dollars, but they could survive.
What Joe Biden didn’t say is that the HUD rule was just the first step. In his new infrastructure plan, which you can read online—and you should—Joe Biden calls for dramatically expanding the federal government’s power over suburbs.
The plan calls for implementing the provisions of the “HOME Act,” a bill first proposed by Cory Booker of Newark who is a lunatic and reckless. That legislation goes much farther than anything the Obama administration even attempted. It would cut billions of dollars of federal funding to any local government with, quote, “ordinances that ban apartment buildings from certain residential areas or set a minimum lot size for a single-family home.”
So you, under this law, are no longer in charge of how large your lot sizes can be. You have no control over anything. What’s the point of having a local government at that point? But it goes farther.
The HOME Act doesn’t just cut off HUD funding to suburbs that don’t comply with its equity rules, it prevents states from getting federal transportation grants of any kind if they refuse to allow high-rise apartments and other high-density zoning in their suburbs. And that’s very different.
Unlike the HUD grants, that’s money that states have to have, they can’t refuse it. States need federal transportation dollars to fix their streets and highways — and by the way, it’s their money anyway, dutifully sent to Washington every year by citizens of their state. But the Biden administration is in no mood for negotiation with suburban homeowners—screw them!—with their decent schools and crime-free streets and 1950s America. According to the principles of equity, those people must be bigots. They’ve living better than people in densely-populated cities, therefore we must crush them.
This isn’t a conspiracy theory. Very soon, it could be law—read the bill. Abolishing the suburbs is a major part of the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan. That legislation is still being negotiated, and nothing is finalized yet. But already, the media is rushing to defend it. What shills they are, what liars. According to the shills at USA Today, for example — and we’re quoting —
“Biden’s proposal would award grants and tax credits to cities that change zoning laws to bolster more equitable access to affordable housing. A house with a white picket fence and a big backyard for a Fourth of July barbecue may be a staple of the American dream, but experts and local politicians say multifamily zoning is key to combating climate change, racial injustice, and the nation’s growing affordable housing crisis.”
Really? If you wanted to fix the affordable housing crisis, maybe you would prevent foreign governments from buying up residential housing, which they are doing, or Black Rock from buying up single-family homes and turning them into rentals. Maybe you would make some effort to loosen the housing market a little bit, but they’re not doing that. They’re doing the opposite.
You may ask yourself — Can the federal government really ban you from having a suburban home with a backyard celebrating the Fourth of July with your kids in the name of climate change and racial equity? Can they prevent suburbs from having roads if they don’t build low-income housing projects?
Until existing civil rights law, a plan like this only works if the feds can prove that your roads are somehow racist. And that’s exactly the case they’ve been making, right out in the open. Why has nobody noticed this? It’s not just the Obama administration that says roads and buildings are racist. Pete Buttigieg is now saying it too:
April 2021, The Grio: APRIL RYAN: The interstate system was built to keep certain groups in and certain groups out so it was built on a racist system, correct? BUTTIGIEG: Yeah. Often this wasn’t just an act of neglect. Often this was a conscious choice. There is racism physically built into some of our highways.
Eisenhower’s interstate highway system is racist? I-95 is? Route 5 is? Tell us how, Pete Buttigieg. Does he even believe that? No, no one believes that just like no one believes that Westchester County is bigoted because it has rules about where you can put a sewage drain. This isn’t about racism, stop with that—this is about power. For Democrats, the goal of this infrastructure plan is permanent control over the federal government. For multinational corporations like Black Rock, the point is driving down the costs of homes even further, and building more apartment high-rises in the suburbs. That’s been the goal of the most powerful people in the world for some time.
It was just a few years ago, in 2016, that the World Economic Forum released a video explaining, quote, “You’ll own nothing. And you’ll be happy.”
What’s less clear is why more self-described conservatives — whose job it is to “conserve” things, like America’s self-respecting independent middle class — aren’t objecting to this. It’s not clear if they even notice it’s happening.
They are negotiating this bill. The future of the way Americans live is at stake and you never hear them say that.
This article is adapted from Tucker Carlson’s opening commentary on the June 25, 2021, edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”