Yes, it is socialism, and yes, it is happening here

Simon's post about forced change being wasteful was so good that I'm glad I haven't had time to blog.

However, the whole issue of the government forcing change on people is a pet peeve, and I recently read a horror story about New Jersey (where else?) legislation forcing local governments to provide "affordable housing":

Actually, the landmark bill Corzine signed last week reformed the state's affordable-housing policy by doing two things. One, it requires every municipality in New Jersey to provide for poor, as well as moderate-income, families. (Before, towns got around the requirement by building only for moderate-income residents and seniors.)
My initial reaction was that this makes no sense. It is not the government's function to build housing, and local governments are supposed to be run by the people who live in the communities which elect them. The state has no business telling municipalities to build housing at all, much less "affordable" or "low income" housing.

I found more details here. Apparently, local governments have been evading their "responsibility" to provide the housing by entering into regional contribution agreements. No more!

...[local governments] have a constitutional responsibility to provide the opportunity for low- and moderate-income housing

The new measure signed by the governor closes a loophole in those laws that allowed suburban and rural towns to enter into regional contribution agreements with cities and poor towns to accept part of their required share of affordable housing in return for funds to rehabilitate existing low-income housing.

Since 1990, Burlington County towns have paid other towns a total of $19.3 million to rehabilitate 953 units of affordable housing, according to statistics from the state Department of Community Affairs.

Advocates for the poor say these agreements enabled rich suburbs to circumvent their court-ordered obligation to provide affordable housing.

But officials in suburban towns worry this new law -- as well as new administrative rules that increase the number of affordable housing units they are required to provide -- will allow developers to build large housing developments that could be burdensome for existing taxpayers.

Corzine and other supporters, however, contend that existing land-use laws still would be enforceable and that towns would be free to negotiate with the state Council on Affordable Housing to devise acceptable plans for reaching their fair share of affordable housing.

He noted the new law creates a fee on new commercial development that will provide $20 million annually for grants for building new affordable units or rehabilitating existing affordable homes and apartments. The law also requires that towns provide housing for the very poor -- including some earning less than 30 percent of the area's median income.

This is government at its worst. Central planning from the state commissars.

It is nothing less than unadulterated socialism.

A brave few are calling it just that:

According to the latest affordable housing guidelines no longer can towns pay to have their affordable housing mandate shifted to another community that wants or needs housing. That means that Bergen County will have to add 4,689 more affordable housing units and 554 rehabilitated housing units to meet the state mandate. Those figures do not include the thousand or more housing units that would have to be built in East Rutherford to accommodate housing mandates for the 2.2 million square-feet Xanadu mega-mall.

At a 5 to 1 ratio of market rate housing to affordable units granted to builders by the state, Bergen County could end up hosting more than 23,000 new units of housing. Additionally the new rules require one affordable unit be built for every 16 new jobs created in a town and levy a 2.5 percent tax on new non-residential development.

The new eligibility income limits for those eligible for affordable housing, said Calabrese, are more than the median income in most South Bergen Municipalities. Now families of four with incomes exceeding $77,000, and families of five with incomes topping $83,238 will get subsidized housing.

"If this isn't Socialism, then I don't know what is," said Calabrese, a real estate executive.

Welcome to the Land of Opportunity!

Now go back to China, you fools who thought you could come here and enjoy economic freedom. The text of the legislation is summarized here with links to the bill's language.

It's a disgrace, seeing such top-down tyranny in a supposedly free country. If they keep this stuff up, I wouldn't be surprised to see an exodus of the productive classes from New Jersey. They better leave now, before the state planners decide that people should be told where they can and cannot live subject to government approval, and restrictions are placed on selling or moving.

Think this is paranoia? Think they wouldn't do it if they could?

Already, big lefties like former California Governor Jerry Brown (who's gearing up to run again) promote deadly serious dreams of creating a Better World in which people are told where to live:

Today he is mulling a run for governor in 2010, when he will be 72.

In the meantime, Mr. Brown is taking aim at the suburbs, concerned about the alleged environmental damage they cause. He sees suburban houses as inefficient users of energy. He sees suburban commuters clogging the roads as wasting precious fossil fuel. And, mostly, he sees wisdom in an intricately thought-out plan to compel residents to move to city centers or, at least, to high-density developments clustered near mass transit lines.

Mr. Brown is not above using coercion to create the demographic patterns he wants. In recent months, he has threatened to file suit against municipalities that shun high-density housing in favor of building new suburban singe-family homes, on the grounds that they will pollute the environment. He is also backing controversial legislation -- Senate bill 375 -- moving through the state legislature that would restrict state highway funds to communities that refuse to adopt "smart growth" development plans. "We have to get the people from the suburbs to start coming back" to the cities, Mr. Brown told planning experts in March.

The problem is, that's not what Californians want. For two generations, residents have been moving to the suburbs. They are attracted to the prospect, although not always the reality, of good schools, low crime rates and the chance to buy a home. A 2002 Public Policy Institute of California poll found that 80% of Californians prefer single-family homes over apartment living....

As if they care what the people want.

I've been complaining about socialism, and I realize that it's a politically unacceptable term to use. But the forces of socialism are closing in for the kill. With socialized health care, the government confiscating an ever greater share of your money, restrictions on where to live, and the clamor for restrictions on the ability to travel, the noose is tightening.

Socialism can still be stopped, but if it isn't stopped soon by the people who have the majority to stop it, it may be too late.

posted by Eric on 07.23.08 at 06:30 PM










Comments

Thanks!

M. Simon   ·  July 23, 2008 7:05 PM

We have an affordable housing movement going strong here in Brookline Massachusetts too. Developers are required to construct a certain number of "affordable units" when putting up a new development. It's essentially a way for the liberal-minded to feel good about themselves by forcing someone else to give to charity. And what a bizarre charity it is. Rather than, say, helping a large portion of the relatively poor with a tax rebate, or by increasing spending on under-funded schools, a tiny select few are given a $100,000+ windfall. And who gets those units? How many of those units end up in the hands of someone connected to affordable housing advocacy groups?

SteveBrooklineMA   ·  July 23, 2008 7:36 PM

"But the forces of socialism are closing in for the kill. With socialized health care, the government confiscating an ever greater share of your money, restrictions on where to live, and the clamor for restrictions on the ability to travel, the noose is tightening."
You think that's scary, take a look at these Volokh posts on the mandatory "volunteerism" movement. http://volokh.com/posts/1216794178.shtml
Here's the new serfdom, same as the old serfdom.

LLB   ·  July 23, 2008 8:01 PM

This is likely to be unpopular in NJ's gentrified communities with the million dollar lots.

Affordable housing next door to the judges is the usual way to go.

Ron Hardin   ·  July 23, 2008 8:08 PM

M. Simon, there's another point related to yours: why should anyone assume there are in fact poor people in every municipality who need the housing?

Any cursory examination of per capita by county data will reveal what common sense should have - some counties are wealthier than others. I'd say you have to be a fool to miss this were it not for the likelihood that the disparity is exactly what motivates our shameful little tyrants into inflicting this sort of thing on the rest of us.

What happens when that housing goes fallow, when nobody uses it, or do they just assume that if you build a poorhouse, the poor will come?

amos   ·  July 24, 2008 6:02 AM

do they just assume that if you build a poorhouse, the poor will come?

Oh, heck yeah. Who wouldn't want a free apartment in a tony ZIP code?

Heather   ·  July 24, 2008 4:54 PM

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