Those who wish to re-engineer our society to better fit their tastes (and usually their own personal financial interests) have been staying quiet about RhodeMap RI and its related plans. The juggernaut keeps moving, though, with the persistence of the Obama Administration; the money never runs out, largely because it’s not real money.
As Ken Blackwell and Rick Manning mention, Congress is in the process of removing funding for enforcement of a rule propagated by the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH). Basically, federal bureaucrats use their limitless resources as a bribe for states, cities, and towns to commit their neighborhoods to social experimentation. (One suspects that we’ll be able to tell who’s really rich and/or influential by the fact that their own neighborhoods will remain untouched.)
This method raises an interesting point:
Refusal to comply with these invasive, unfunded mandates would empower the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to withhold millions of dollars in community development block grants from the area – effectively turning this $3.5 billion annual program into a political redistricting tool.
Like a drug dealer, the federal government has worked, over the years, to hook more-local governments on federal funds, which allows them to skirt mechanisms in the U.S. Constitution designed to prevent an overly powerful national government. The HUD bureaucrats aren’t specifically mandating local zoning rules, but they’re dangling a pretty big lure on that hook.
Some of us find it difficult to understand why it’s so difficult just to refuse the money, but our political system has come to be built for invidious incentives. Doing things with money that comes from a higher tier of government gets elected officials credit for spreading money around and getting things done without their having to suffer the consequences of taking that money away from somebody. The feds take that heat.
But then, they really don’t. Until the early-to-mid 1900s, the federal government ran surpluses more often than it ran deficits. Since then, surpluses have been very rare, and the deficits have been massive. Since Obama took office, the average annual deficit has been nearly a trillion dollars, and the government expects them to continue at around a half-trillion dollars for the foreseeable future.
That is, our local governments are being bought off with money that nobody currently in office has to take responsibility for collecting at any level. That’s not how our government is supposed to function; rather, it’s a recipe for lost rights, followed by disaster.