Daily Archives: July 21, 2015
Social Engineering Is a Lot Like Socialism
By: Nancy Salvato
Recently, two articles gave me pause. The first by Alana Semuels, “How Chicago is Trying to Integrate its Suburbs” caught my attention because I spent many formative years in Glenview, the suburb highlighted in the article. Reading about the new low income housing there, a collaboration between the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and Regional Housing Initiative (RHI), I recalled a conversation with a long term resident and respected member of the community (prior to the shut-down of the naval air base and subsequent redevelopment), one in which she explained that Glenview, a Chicago suburb, got around a previous Section 8 requirement by building low income senior housing. She had no qualms about the community’s position in this matter. Many middle class communities felt this way about Section 8 moving into their neighborhoods. In a SPOA article called The Great Housing Experiment That Failed, the author writes:
Starting back in 1977, families living in housing projects began to be relocated to middle-class suburban neighborhoods with good public schools. If these families could see a different way of life, the middle-class way of life, they could learn to live like the middle class – or so everyone thought…But then the crime rate started to go up in suburbia where they moved. As one former housing project tenant said: “You move from one place to another and you bring the element with you. You got some [people] trying to make it just like the projects.”
Landlords in more affluent suburbs did not want to rent to Section 8 tenants. Erin Eberlin writes in, “Disadvantages of Renting to Section 8 Tenants”
There is a stigma that Section 8 tenants are very destructive. There have been horror stories about floors being destroyed, cabinets being pulled off the walls, toilets being cracked, garbage and filth everywhere and many more people living in the unit than are listed on the lease… Tenants who do not collect rental assistance may be turned off by the fact that you allow Section 8 tenants in your property. They may believe that you are a “slumlord,” that the property will be dirty or that the tenants will be disrespectful and noisy.
In “Let’s End Housing Vouchers” Howard Husock provides insight into why Section 8 vouchers have failed in integrating classes of people.
Better neighborhoods are not better because of something in the water but because people have built and sustained them by their efforts, their values, and their commitments. Voucher appropriations are based not only on the mistaken belief that it is necessary to award, at public expense, a better home to all who can demonstrate “need,” but also that it is uplifting to do so, when in fact it is the effort to achieve the good home, rather than the good home in itself, that is the real engine of uplift.
What he is saying is that the effort and goal to achieve a better life for one self is a major factor in the ability to contribute to and better a community. Those residents who achieve the American dream by saving their hard earned money and purchasing and maintaining their homes in a neighborhood of their choosing understand the sacrifice involved in making that happen. They want a return on their investment. They have made a decision to become a part of something larger and want to belong.
Husock explains how the voucher program ends up segregating classes of people and “accelerate neighborhood decline.”
For properties in precariously respectable neighborhoods, the government-paid rent is more than the market rent. Reason: the Section 8 program allows voucher holders to pay up to the average rent in their entire metropolitan area, and landlords in working-class or lower-middle-class neighborhoods, where rents are below average, simply charge voucher holders exactly that average rent. Assured payment and a more-than-generous risk premium: no wonder some landlords in neighborhoods teetering on the brink of respectability gladly welcome voucher tenants over working-class families offering lower rents and so accelerate neighborhood decline. South Philadelphia state representative William Keller tells of local property owners who “couldn’t rent their place for $500, but they can get $900 from Section 8.” The result is a familiar government-subsidized racket: landlords who specialize in Section 8s—who advertise for them and know the bureaucratic rules about what it takes to get paid.
Homeowners pay more to live in affluent neighborhoods to ensure safety and opportunities for their families. Residents of these communities are expected to maintain their homes and want to participate in events sponsored by their communities. Shared values are what makes people come together as a community. Section 8 disrupts this.
In the Chicago suburb of Riverdale, here is how it went.
EMT crews respond to emergency calls to find callers, accustomed to city emergency rooms, simply saying they’re “feeling ill.” Riverdale’s Potter elementary school, once boasting a top academic reputation, now has the state’s highest student turnover. Student achievement has dropped—putting paid to the idea that shipping poor families to good schools in the suburbs will cause an education ethic to rub off. Instead, the concentration of disorganized families has undermined a once good school. School funds, says the mayor, must now be diverted to the legions of “special needs” students. Crime is up, too—”we have real legitimate gang issues now,” the mayor says—and the city has had to increase its police force by 35 percent, from 26 to 35. That’s pushing the tax rate up, which the mayor fears will discourage new home buyers, pushing the small city into a cycle of decline. A lack of local buying power—a function of the voucher program’s preference for very low-income renters—has already left storefronts abandoned on Riverdale’s main street.
It’s no wonder that higher socioeconomic neighborhoods fear Section 8. But it is not about race. As Husock points out, “Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson famously argued that class, not race, is the most powerful divide that separates Americans today.” So, why then does the current administration want to make socio-economic inequities about race?
In “Obama Collecting Personal Data for a Secret Race Data Base” Paul Sperry writes that the fed is collecting sensitive data on Americans by race… to make “disparate impact” cases against: banks that don’t make enough prime loans to minorities; schools that suspend too many blacks; cities that don’t offer enough Section 8 and other low-income housing for minorities; and employers who turn down African-Americans for jobs due to criminal backgrounds.”
In its justification for social and economic engineering, this administration is saying that inequities are a result of prejudice, not the values and work ethics displayed by different classes of people. Yet, social and economic engineering is a means to redistribute wealth, not integrate and diversify communities of people. Probably the biggest redistribution of wealth came during the mortgage crisis when thousands upon thousands of middle class people had to walk away from their homes, which were then repossessed by banks and re-purchased by the very rich or rented to Section 8 voucher holders, creating greater class divisions. In American Spectator’s, “The True Origin of this Economic Crisis,” this crisis came about in part because of a “1992 Boston Federal Reserve Bank study of discrimination in home mortgage lending,” which concluded,
While there was no overt discrimination in banks’ allocation of mortgage funds, loan officers gave whites preferential treatment. The methodology of the study has since been questioned, but at the time it was highly influential with regulators and members of the incoming Clinton administration; in 1993, bank regulators initiated a major effort to reform the CRA regulations.
Clearly, the Obama administration is pursuing a policy of social and economic engineering and saying it is about race.
Federally funded cities deemed overly segregated will be pressured to change their zoning laws to allow construction of more subsidized housing in affluent areas in the suburbs, and relocate inner-city minorities to those predominantly white areas. HUD’s maps, which use dots to show the racial distribution or density in residential areas, will be used to select affordable-housing sites.
In a Crain’s Chicago Business article, Why one suburban development soared, and the other staggered, Dennis Rodkin writes,
Because the Glen is a tax increment financing district, all property taxes go into the pot; after the TIF expires in 2018, tax collections will stream into the city’s general fund. Planners behind the Glen expect the previous 23 years will have generated $820 million, according to Messrs. Owen and Brady. That figure includes $250 million in land sales, $20 million in federal grants and $500 million in property and sales taxes, Mr. Owen says.
The Glen received $20 million in federal land grants. Therefore, Glenview is a federally funded city. Thus, it is susceptible to the Obama administration’s social and economic engineering plans.
It has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that money has allowed federal overreach to influence local and state decisions about schools, housing, churches, and other services that fall under the states’ purview in our federalist system of government. This division of power is failing. Strongholds put in place in our Constitution to prevent centralized government are surely toppling. Our Constitutional Republic, which generates great wealth and allows for social mobility is being replaced by social and economic engineering, i.e., socialism. I am moved to wonder how this will affect voter demographics.
Copyright ©2015 Nancy Salvato
Nancy Salvato is the Director of Education and the Constitutional Literacy Program for Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan research and educational project whose mission is to re-introduce the American public to the basic elements of our constitutional heritage while providing non-partisan, fact-based information on relevant socio-political issues important to our country. She is a graduate of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ National Academy for Civics and Government. She is the author of “Keeping a Republic: An Argument for Sovereignty.” She also serves as a Senior Editor for NewMediaJourna.usl and a contributing writer to BigGovernment.com and FamilySecurityMatters.org.
THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE
It is Obama himself who has primary responsibility for having moved – traitorously – to empower a dangerous and radical terrorist entity (and more on this below).
But Obama doesn’t operate in a vacuum: Those members of Congress who truly know better, but hesitate to stand up to him (because as Democrats they believe they must ally themselves with a Democratic president or for other political reasons) certainly also have responsibility for the current situation.
And lastly, there are those American citizens who also know better, but have been too busy with their own lives, or too apathetic, to stand up and make their voices heard. The United States is a democracy, and so the people must assume a measure of responsibility. There is much to be done – and no time to be lost! Elected representatives in Congress must hear from their constituents, calling for a resolute stand against the accord with Iran. They must know that they will be held accountable for what transpires.
America, my friends, has lost her way. I do not write this lightly. I grieve. Lose sleep. But I face the reality. And so must each of you.
The reality is that only the people of America can redeem the situation, which has gone beyond horrendous.
Only the people can instill in hesitant members of Congress the motivation to act, when they are focused on what they perceive to be politically expedient. They must understand what is expected of them – starting, but not ending, with a vote against the Iran accords.
As for those elected representatives who have had the courage to stand up, they must be supported and encouraged: They must be urged on to ever greater strength and acts of leadership.
Please, share this with everyone you know, and in every possible venue – on FB, on websites, on discussion group lists. Now. Because if you decide to do it later, you run the risk of forgetting to do it at all.
Contact your Senators. You can locate them here:
Contact your Congresspersons. You can locate them here:
Emails work. Phone calls are much better. Go for it. Now. Because if you put it off for later, you may forget.
Keep your communication short and polite, but deliver a message that is strong and clear.
I want to urge everyone living in New York to contact Senator Chuck Schumer:
I have read several reports indicating that he may be waffling on his challenge to Obama. Let him hear from you.
Also for those in the NYC area and those prepared to travel to NYC tomorrow:
The STOP IRAN NOW RALLY -Times Square, 7th Avenue and 42 Street in Manhattan. Wednesday, July 22, 5:30 PM.
A huge turnout is needed and you are urged to do your best to make it.
In conjunction with the NYC rally, there will be a rally in Broward County, Florida:
Federal Courthouse in Ft. Lauderdale, corner of Broward Boulevard and 3rd. Avenue, Wednesday, July 22, 5:30 – 7:30 PM.
Bring your signs to these rallies, please!
In Phoenix, Arizona:
An Emergency Meeting on the dangers of the Iran accord and what you can do to stop it.
Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus, Room 101-102, Wednesday, July 22, 6:30 PM.
In Toronto, Canada:
A rally opposite the US Consulate, 360 University Avenue, Wednesday, July 22, Noon – 1:30 PM.
Additionally in NYC:
TODAY, Tuesday, July 21, 7:00 PM
STOP IRAN FROM GOING NUCLEAR – Bipartisan Iran Education Campaign
Featured Speaker: Josh Block, President & CEO of The Israel Project
Community-Wide event at Lincoln Square Synagogue, 180 Amsterdam Ave., NYC
Wednesday, July 22, 1:00 – 2:30 PM.
Analysis of the Iran Deal & Global Islamic Jihadism Featuring Lieutenant Colonel Allen West, sponsored by EMET.
Lunch (dietary restrictions observed)
For more information and to register: [email protected] . $10 entrance fee, bring an ID for security clearance.
I have previously mentioned EMET, which is working hard at lobbying Congress. Here I also want to note AIPAC, the largest lobby group for Israel – which is working overtime to deliver the message to Congress about the dangers of the Iran deal.
For clarity on some of the major issues regarding the accord, see this column by Charles Krauthammer, “Worse than we could have imagined” (emphasis added):
“When you write a column, as did I two weeks ago, headlined ‘The worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history,’ you don’t expect to revisit the issue. We had hit bottom. Or so I thought. Then on Tuesday the final terms of the Iranian nuclear deal were published. I was wrong.
“Who would have imagined we would be giving up the conventional arms and ballistic missile embargoes on Iran? In nuclear negotiations?
“When asked Wednesday at his news conference why there is nothing in the deal about the American hostages being held by Iran, President Obama explained that this is a separate issue, not part of nuclear talks.
“Are conventional weapons not a separate issue? After all, conventional, by definition, means non-nuclear. Why are we giving up the embargoes?…
“Obama claimed in his news conference that it really doesn’t matter, because we can always intercept Iranian arms shipments to, say, Hezbollah.
“But wait. Obama has insisted throughout that we are pursuing this Iranian diplomacy to avoid the use of force, yet now blithely discards a previous diplomatic achievement — the arms embargo — by suggesting, no matter, we can just shoot our way to interdiction.
“Moreover, the most serious issue is not Iranian exports but Iranian imports — of sophisticated Russian and Chinese weapons. These are untouchable. We are not going to attack Russian and Chinese transports.
“The net effect of this capitulation will be not only to endanger our Middle East allies now under threat from Iran and its proxies, but also to endanger our own naval forces in the Persian Gulf. Imagine how Iran’s acquisition of the most advanced anti-ship missiles would threaten our control over the gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, waterways we have kept open for international commerce for a half-century.
“The other major shock in the final deal is what happened to our insistence on ‘anytime, anywhere’ inspections. Under the final agreement, Iran has the right to deny international inspectors access to any undeclared nuclear site. The denial is then adjudicated by a committee — on which Iran sits. It then goes through several other bodies, on all of which Iran sits. Even if the inspectors’ request prevails, the approval process can take 24 days.
And what do you think will be left to be found, left unscrubbed, after 24 days? The whole process is farcical.”
Krauthammer wrote this before the vote was taken on the accord in the UN Security Council. Anticipating the vote, he said:
“Approval there [in the U.N.] will cancel all previous U.N. resolutions outlawing and sanctioning Iran’s nuclear activities.
“Meaning: Whatever Congress ultimately does, it won’t matter because the legal underpinning for the entire international sanctions regime against Iran will have been dismantled at the Security Council. Ten years of painstakingly constructed international sanctions will vanish overnight, irretrievably.
“Even if Congress rejects the agreement, do you think the Europeans, the Chinese or the Russians will reinstate sanctions? The result: The United States is left isolated while the rest of the world does thriving business with Iran.
“Should Congress then give up? No. Congress needs to act in order to rob this deal of, at least, its domestic legitimacy. Rejection will make little difference on the ground. But it will make it easier for a successor president to legitimately reconsider an executive agreement (Obama dare not call it a treaty — it would be instantly rejected by the Senate) that garnered such pathetically little backing in either house of Congress.
“It’s a future hope, but amid dire circumstances. By then, Iran will be flush with cash, legitimized as a normal international actor in good standing, recognized (as Obama once said) as ‘a very successful regional power.’ Stopping Iran from going nuclear at that point will be infinitely more difficult and risky.”
Weep for this, my friends, and then let your elected representatives in Congress know that they must not give up. That you expect better of them.
You might also like to see Jennifer Rubin on 17 ridiculous things the president said at the Iran news conference. Her counter to Obama’s major misrepresentations is helpful.
There are matters I did not get to today, which will keep for yet another time. I want to close here with analysis by Omri Ceren of The Israel Project. Along with Krauthammer’s column, what Ceren tells us is the stuff of nightmares (emphasis added):
“[The political debate] is about how dropping the arms embargo will enable Iran to push the U.S. out of the Gulf, about how giving the Iranians $150 billion will bolster their terror and military programs, about how putting Iran on a 10 year glidepath to zero breakout will trigger Sunni nuclear proliferation, about how coziness between the Obama administration and Iran has detonated American alliances in the region, about how an economically resurgent Iran will become a hostile regional hegemon, and so on. The criticism is that even if the deal successfully prevents Iran from building a nuclear weapon for 10 years, the Obama administration will be funding and boosting Iran’s conventional military capabilities.
“The JCPOA introduces an additional wrinkle… The agreement commits the international community to actively helping Iran perfect its nuclear program over the life of the deal (!) On a policy level, it means Iran’s breakout time will be constantly shrinking. On a political level, it means that the deal will be seen as accomplishing the exact opposite of what the Obama administration promised Congress: instead of rolling back Iran’s nuclear program, it will commit the U.S. and its allies to funding and boosting it.”