Is Obama Out to Abolish the Suburbs?

Stanley Kurtz traces the mechanisms by which he believes President Obama intends to "abolish" the suburbs in a possible second term, and the roots of his desire, stretching back to his training as a community organizer.

Seeing a vast anti-suburban conspiracy aimed at "sweeping social change" to be executed through a "little-known and seemingly modest program called the Sustainable Communities Initiative," Kurtz warns of the Obama administration's plans to "force suburban residents into densely packed cities," "move the poor out of cities by imposing low-income-housing quotas on development in middle-class suburbs," and expand a "'regional tax-base sharing' scheme currently in place in the Minneapolis–St. Paul area to the rest of the country."

"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," notes Kurtz. "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."


Full Story: Burn Down the Suburbs?



"The Goal: Income Equalization"

Complaining about the threat of income equalization in today's America is like shouting fire when you are overboard and drowning in the middle of the ocean.

A few decades ago, the United States had about as much income inequality as the average developed nation. Now, the United States has the greatest income inequality of any developed nation.

The Congressional Budget Office released a study in 2011 that highlights increased inequality. Between 1979 and 2008, real after-tax income of the top 1% almost tripled, while median income increased only 50% and income of the lowest 20% increased only about 20%.

This excessive inequality is currently a political issue, with the Republicans calling for more tax cuts for the very rich at the expense of the middle class and the Democrats calling for modest tax increases on those earning over $250,000.

These are the parties' explicit policies, and Kurtz is hardly making a great discovery by saying that the Democrats want to reduce inequality - hopefully to restore our level of inequality to what it was a few decades ago. Kurtz only leaves out the fact that the Republicans are trying to increase inequality: Romney's plan would decrease taxes on those making $1 million or more by an average of $250,000, and would decrease after-tax income among families earning less that $200,000.

Charles Siegel

Burning down the fearmongering.

he believes President Obama intends to "abolish" the suburbs

Oh, wow. Another scared white man asserting that progressives, collectivists, and the black president want to bulldoze your American Dream for a collectivist utopia of apartments and transit. Gosh...where have I seen this before...I wonder...I wonder...I wonnnnnnnnnnderrrrrrr...

*eye roll*

These people are like Internet Performance Art.



It's the National Review,

It's the National Review, what do you expect? Try The Nation, Mother Jones or Utne Reader for "the other side"

That said, I don't think the suburbs are going to disappear in the next 10, 20 or even 50 years. Instead, we will probably see a combination of suburban retrofitting/densification (e.g. more apartments, condos and mixed-use projects, along with the downtown projects. Also, what may happen is, as gas goes up, transportation costs will figure more prominently in choosing a place to live (right now it's mostly amenities, crime, and, if there are any kids, school quality...)

Ill Informed

Kurtz's supposition that the Sustainable Communities Initiative will create sweeping social change resulting in the end of suburban living is laughable. The Sustainable Communities Initiative isn't "seemingly modest" it's completely and utterly modest - bordering on insignificant. The funding that has gone to the Sustainable Communities Initiative has certainly resulted in positive impacts but if its main goal is to destroy the suburbs I guess its been a huge failure.

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