When an industry succeeds in taking over the legislative and/or regulatory process concerning itself, so that laws and regulations are designed to protect the incumbent 'powers that be' in that industry rather than the public interest, we call that 'regulatory capture'. It's (rightly) regarded as a form of corruption. What if a political, social and economic philosophy does the same thing, taking over the bureaucratic, regulatory and administrative side of government so completely as to be able to impose its partisan agenda by riding roughshod over the wishes of those who don't agree with it?
We've seen that with the IRS, which is under fire for (but which hasn't stopped) 'investigating' political opponents (individual and corporate) of the present Administration, using its powers to impede their lawful, legitimate activities. We're seeing it again with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The New York Post reports:
President Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development is accusing expensive towns of racism, simply because most minorities can’t afford to live there.
. . .
HUD’s soon-to-be-released regulation, in the works since 2013, will compel affluent suburbs across the nation to build more high-density, low-income housing, plus sewers, water lines, bus routes and other changes needed to support it.
Obama’s social engineers will eliminate local zoning requirements to achieve what the HUD rule calls “inclusive communities.” Property values be damned.
If you’ve worked hard to afford a home in an affluent neighborhood of single-family houses, you have a lot to lose under this HUD plan.
The HUD rule twists the original and laudable intent of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which is to bar housing discrimination.
The new rule states towns must “affirmatively further” diversity. If low-income minorities want to move to a town but can’t afford it, the town must “provide adequate support to make their choice viable.”
. . .
HUD’s plan is frightening. Phase one will collect data on poverty, school-testing scores and public-transit sites from every Census division to spot towns that have too few poor residents.
If a town’s guilty, HUD will charge racism and demand more public housing.
Race is being cynically exploited by officials as a pretext to accomplish something else entirely — economic integration.
HUD’s plan is a power grab. Nothing in the Constitution empowers the federal government to do this.
Zoning is a local power.
There's more at the link.
There's nothing wrong with HUD encouraging towns and cities to provide more low-cost or subsidized housing for poorer families. What's wrong is when HUD uses its powers to forcibly integrate different income and social levels into a 'homogenized' society. That's never worked anywhere in the world - unless you count an elevated level of social misery as evidence of success. Just look at the tenements of the Soviet Union or Eastern Europe. Everyone was reduced to a lowest common denominator of misery, not raised to a highest common factor of success and achievement. That's what bureaucracy always does. It's the nature of the beast.
This is also allied to utterly ridiculous, politicized ideologies of poverty. We've examined that in these pages before - but the US is not alone in such folly. Just this week, the Telegraph reported in England:
The current rules, originally dreamt up by Left-wing academics in the Sixties, state that somebody is poor if they live in a household on below 60pc of median earnings, regardless of their actual quality of life or access to essentials.
But this measures income inequality, not poverty. Under that definition, poverty can never realistically be eradicated in a capitalist society. If median incomes go up by 10pc, and that of the bottom 20pc by 9pc, delivering huge improvements to the living standards of everybody in the country, poverty would still be deemed to have gone up. It’s bonkers. “Poverty” would remain rife even if the bottom decile earned £100,000 a year, unless – or until – all top earners were taxed out of existence.
It gets worse. As David Cameron pointed out this week, hiking the state pension under current conditions automatically increases reported child poverty, even if no child has actually lost access to any income and some receive greater help from grandparents. In fact, poverty supposedly went down during the recession – because rich bankers lost their jobs or saw their bonuses cut, which reduced inequality. Any measure of poverty that goes down in depressions and explodes in booms is an insult to the public’s intelligence and should be scrapped.
. . .
We are trapped by a metric that has been deliberately rigged to ensure a socialistic bias in public policy, to extend welfare dependency and to make it harder to cut public spending. Worse, Gordon Brown made it legally binding for the government to slash child poverty on this warped definition by 2020. The only way this can be achieved is by endlessly increasing tax credits to push as many as possible above the critical 60 per cent threshold. Unless the rules are torn up soon, George Osborne’s welfare cuts could be ruled illegal.
It’s a trick that the Left is brilliant at: redefining words and corrupting their meaning to fix the debate. Inequality becomes poverty, wasteful public spending is rebranded as investment and calls for a dramatically higher minimum wage are presented as a common-sense suggestion for a “living wage”.
. . .
Ever since Karl Marx, the Left has been obsessively materialistic. Yet there is far more to poverty than just money; being deprived of social capital during one’s childhood is even more important than suffering from too little financial capital. Family structures and educational opportunities are crucial, as is security and stability.
Again, more at the link.
The Telegraph's observation bears repeating. Inequality is not poverty. Furthermore, equality does not consist of, and cannot be measured against, economic factors alone. What the framers of our Constitution sought was equality of opportunity. What the progressive left seeks is equality of outcomes - and they'll impose that on us by legislative fiat if they can, regardless of its (lack of) truth and the failure of every society in history to accomplish anything of the sort by direction.
It's a frightening prospect to consider how much damage social justice warriors can do at the helm of every administrative department in the government. That's yet another reason to reduce the size of that government to the necessary minimum, and ensure that its bureaucrats are aware that they serve in accordance with the Constitution and are subordinate to its requirements. They don't have the authority, or the right, to ignore it and/or reinterpret it according to their whims.