Joe Biden’s “American Jobs Act” is another delivery of radical campaign promises, but not the ones you might expect from a transportation branded bill – it’s the beginning of the end for America’s suburbs.
Through this policy proposal, municipalities will be incentivized to cancel single-family zoning, the cornerstone of suburban neighborhood development.
This plan builds on the Obama-Biden administration’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing policy that was revoked during my time at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by Secretary Ben Carson because it was, “unworkable and ultimately a waste of time for localities to comply with, too often resulting in funds being steered away from communities that need them most.”
President Biden campaigned to take Obama’s already dangerous policies one step further, citing the Home Act of 2019 of Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., which would eliminate “exclusionary zoning policies and local regulations that contribute to sprawl.”
In case you missed it in all the political jargon, “exclusionary zoning policies” is the rebrand from what we all know as single-family zoning – meaning your neighborhood and mine. In fact, Booker’s press release defines it here: “exclusionary zoning laws, for example, are local ordinances that ban apartment buildings from certain residential areas.”
I live in Irving, Texas, or as the leftists in Biden’s administration would call it, sprawl. If you live in a home that dares to have a yard, trees, space between you and a neighbor, and you work hard to pay a mortgage, you are likely a target.
The goal of this is to dismantle local control of municipal zoning by using federal housing grants. With many cities struggling to deal with budget cuts due to the loss of revenue during the pandemic, it’s understandable why Biden includes this under the guise of a transportation bill.
Owning a home is one of the best ways to build and accumulate generational wealth. But in liberal states, stopping the growth of single-family neighborhoods has already begun to take root.
Last year, Oregon passed legislation eliminating single-family zoning for most of the state. A bill reintroduced in the California legislature would allow six to eight units where one home stands now. Across the nation there are over 200,000 homes owned by corporations, which amounts to over $220 billion in housing wealth that could be owned by working families. Instead, corporations are managing single-family rentals.
If you live in a home that dares to have a yard, trees, space between you and a neighbor, and you work hard to pay a mortgage, you are likely a target.
North Texas is home to some of the best and most desirable suburban communities in the country. Biden’s plans are taking direct aim at stopping the very aspect that has made these communities so exemplary. As a former mayor, I know that zoning, grants and local control don’t make for sexy headlines, but it is this kind of foundational planning that has empowered generations of working families with the opportunity of home ownership.
Rather than demonize and begin a federal assault against our suburban communities, we would be far better served as a nation by focusing on policies to expand generational wealth accumulation and home ownership and revitalize urban areas.
The strength of our communities lies in their differences, and the ability of people to choose the kind of city where they want to raise their family or retire. It means stopping the heavy hand of federal social engineering from taking away local control and destroying the single-family zoning that has made our suburbs affordable and attractive for all kinds of families.
After suffering severe losses during the 2020 election in suburban districts, Democrats believe they have found a solution to improve their election prospects: urbanize the suburbs.
Using language like “The American Jobs Act” to disguise another federal power grab is becoming a common theme with the Biden administration. Or calling this a transportation bill when only 6% actually funds highways, roads and bridges. And let’s not forget that “exclusionary zoning” is nothing more than a smokescreen to eliminate single-family zoning and break the burbs.
Democrats know this must be done before their own primary fights start and they find themselves back on the campaign trail trying to win over the same suburbs they desperately want to dismantle.
Their desire to restructure America using single-family zoning reveals clear differences between America’s political parties: Republicans want you to own your home and control your money, while Democrats want to own your home and control you.