Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Right To Desegregated Housing


There is a prevailing attitude among some that inequities are the fault of those that have attained more or gained more or produced more or contributed more. This attitude seems to have become ingrained in our judicial and legislative system.

The New York Times ran an online article about the court ordered development of low-income housing in Westchester County, New York. The particulars are not really important; the principle is.

Westchester County officials have entered into a landmark desegregation agreement that would compel the county to create affordable housing in overwhelmingly white communities and aggressively market it to non-whites in the county and in neighboring New York City.
De facto segregation is de facto racism according to the thinking of the courts. It leads to an inherent disadvantage for the excluded. Government must take action to change that.
“Residential segregation underlies virtually every racial disparity in America, from education to jobs to the delivery of health care,” said Craig Gurian, executive director of the Anti-Discrimination Center, which filed the suit under the federal False Claims Act.
So, in addition to a non-Bill of Rights right for health care, we also have a non-Bill of Rights right to low-income housing among high-income housing. In other words, those who have not been economically successful must be given compensation by those who have been more economically successful because the shortcomings of the less economically successful makes it likely that the less economically successful will suffer the shortcomings of being less economically successful.
“This is consistent with the president’s desire to see a fully integrated society,” said Ron Sims, the deputy secretary of housing and urban development, which helped broker the settlement along with the Justice Department. “Until now, we tended to lay dormant. This is historic, because we are going to hold people’s feet to the fire.”
I live in a nice, middle-class neighborhood... engineers, small business owners, factory supervisors, salemen... that is racially and ethnically mixed. The common denominator is that the home owners have a common attitude toward education and work that has resulted in their ability to afford homes in this neighborhood. There is no distinction or restriction based on race or ethnicity. Italians are free to celebrate their culture; Indians are free to celebrate their culture; Blacks are free to celebrate their culture.

What they don't do is raise these "cultural" distinctions to a level that impedes their economic success. They all recognize that the rewards in this culture are generally proportional to the education one achieves and effort one exerts. There is no expectation of being rewarded for the culture or ethnicity or race of their ancestors.

The U.S. courts, however, continue to make this meaningless distinction that race and ethnicity must be paramount in deciding what is equitable. It has nothing to do with what the individual has achieved or deserves. It is what the individual's race or ethnicity deserves.

One might ask the court why their decision doesn't include a provision for poorer whites who are under-educated, under-skilled, and have avoided the effort necessary to achieve economic success. Why are those whites not given special consideration? Could it be that they do not have a political interest group that the government [politicians] must satisfy?

Perhaps some Washington bureaucrats... or judges... would like this to appear next door.

or this...

or this....

There are certain "cultural" differences between those who aspire to better themselves and become productive members of a community... and those that don't. It isn't racial or ethnic. Court decisions don't change that.

Still, people who live in homes like this...

deserve to be punished for their hard work and success... and for keeping others not as accomplished from living near them by having property values too high. Those who have different aspirations have a right to live where they want to live. They shouldn't be denied their rights simply because they don't value education or personal sacrifice. After all, they were just unlucky.

Maybe they could just subdivide some of those properties and have the government put up some affordable homes.

Health care plan deja vu. I wonder what our new wise Latina Justice would say about this.


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“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
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Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)