Liberals say Donald Trump’s choice to head the nation’s housing agency could scrap a recent regulation that subordinates housing rules in Americans’ suburbs and small towns to the political preferences of political leaders in the nation’s Democratic-run cities.
Trump picked Dr. Ben Carson to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which means that Carson will inherit Obama’s new “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH) program.
The program allows federal officials to grant or withhold federal housing dollars to local zoning boards, depending on their willingness to comply with federal race and diversity demands.
The program is touted as a fix for racial discrimination in cities, and it would allow federal regulators to punish any town in any state than did not offer homes to non-white, low-income residents who are not wanted by Democratic political leaders in New York of Chicago. That power would allow the Democratic planners to move many of their low-income supporters into GOP districts outside cities, and also boost their supporters’ property values in the major cities.
The expansive AFFH rules would prevent also would landlords from asking possible tenants if they had a criminal record, meaning ordinary renters could not be sure their landlord would exclude criminals from moving into the next-door apartment.
There have been few statements by either Carson or the President-Elect on what either have in mind for HUD policy, but Carson has spoken against some of Obama’s schemes. In an 2015 opinion article, for instance, Carson criticized Obama’s AFFH program as little else but “experimenting with failed socialism.” In the Washington Post article, Carson said Obama based his scheme on a “tortured reading of the Fair Housing laws” and concluded that the plan is “downright dangerous.”
According to National Review’s Stanley Kurtz, the AFFH rule “gives the federal government a lever to re-engineer nearly every American neighborhood — imposing a preferred racial and ethnic composition, densifying housing, transportation, and business development in suburb and city alike, and weakening or casting aside the authority of local governments over core responsibilities, from zoning to transportation to education.”
“In significant measure, the rule amounts to a de facto regional annexation of America’s suburbs,” Kurtz added.
Washington State’s Democrat Senator, Patty Murray, says she will oppose Carson because she says he doesn’t understand “the essential functions of HUD.”
Patty Murray says she'll likely oppose Carson as HUD Sec'y, says his past statements "suggest he rejects the essential functions of HUD": pic.twitter.com/4UO7kWOeTl
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 5, 2016
More Democrats are expected to oppose Carson.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.