President Obama said Saturday he will use the power of the federal government to pressure communities to integrate low-income minorities into affluent areas.
Obama said his administration is implementing a new rule that will require communities to frequently review the racial and socio-economic makeup of local neighborhoods and regularly report the results to the federal government.
"Just a few weeks ago, the Supreme Court ruled that policies segregating minorities in poor neighborhoods, even unintentionally, are against the law," Obama said, referencing a ruling on the Fair Housing Act largely ignored by the media due to attention on the Obamacare and gay marriage rulings.
The Fair Housing Act was passed under President Lyndon B. Johnson to initiate his failed "Great Society," which sought to eliminate poverty through a series of government programs. Critics charge that its programs, which included housing projects in cities and welfare payments to single mothers, led to the destruction of the black family.
"In some cities, kids living just blocks apart lead incredibly different lives," said Obama in his weekly Saturday address. "They go to different schools, play in different parks, shop in different stores and walk down different streets."
"And often, the quality of those schools and the safety of those parks and streets are far from equal — which means those kids aren't getting an equal shot in life," he said.
Besides the regular reports from local communities, Obama mentioned one other specific way his administration plans to equalize neighborhoods.
"We're using data on housing and neighborhood conditions to help cities identify the areas that need the most help," he said. By opening this data to everyone, Obama argued "everyone in a community — not just elected officials –— can weigh in. If you want a bus stop added near your home, or more affordable housing nearby, now you'll have the data you need to make your case."
The Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a ruling Wednesday that would withhold funding from communities if they fail to provide data on racial segregation patterns, set goals and track results.
"This overreaching new regulation is an attempt to extort communities into giving up control of local zoning decisions and reengineer the makeup of our neighborhoods," Rep. Paul Gosar, R., Ariz., said as he introduced several pieces of legislation designed to prevent the implementation of the new HUD rule.
"Local government is designed so people can have an input on those things that matter most to them," Rick Manning, the president of Americans for Limited Government, said in an interview with CNN. "The federal government is ill-equipped to superimpose their vision of what local communities should look like, because they don't have their fingers on the pulse of those communities."
"Just as the president has used the DOJ, IRS and DHS as a political weapon, he has now expanded his arsenal to include HUD as a way of punishing neighborhoods that don't fall in line with his liberal agenda," said Gosar.