Do you live in South Jersey, Delaware County, the Main Line or elsewhere in Philadelphia suburbia? Enjoy it while you can, because your way of life may soon be headed for forced extinction.
That’s the thesis of a new book that argues that President Obama, in his second term, will take steps to “get rid of” the suburbs. But I wouldn’t schedule that moving van quite yet.
The book is Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities, and it’s written by longtime National Review writer Stanley Kurtz. According to an excerpt published on that magazine’s website, Kurtz argues that Obama “intends to abolish” suburbia, and in the process funnel resources to cities, with the goal of “income equalization via a massive redistribution of suburban tax money to the cities.”
Where’s the evidence that Obama plans to do this, aside from the President’s inherent hatred for all that is American? Some people the president worked with as a community organizer in the early 1990s apparently have gone to work for organizations that campaign against suburban sprawl, and these people, and those associated with them, have occasionally briefed administration officials.
The scenario imagines the President as a sort of Mao/Pol Pot figure, seeking to force the uprooting of millions of people in order to implement utopian, Marxist ends. But don’t worry, everyone. An alien invasion of the suburbs is probably a more likely scenario for the next four years than an Obama-forced emptying of American suburbia.
For one thing, the president doesn’t have the executive power to abolish suburbs, nor could I imagine Congress having much interest in going along with such a move. Not to mention, people in suburbs vote. Even if Obama wouldn’t have to run for re-election again, other Democrats would.
Sure, the Obama Administration has been supportive of mass transit and urban walkability. But it’s quite a sizable leap from there to the notion that suburbs shouldn’t exist at all.
The anti-sprawl movement has generally been understood to support slowing the growth of suburban sprawl, as opposed to wiping the likes of Gladwyne and Media off the map. It’s also germane, I think, that the movement against sprawl hasn’t exactly been the most successful of American political causes over the past couple of decades. In fact, just about every trend in the last 30 years has gone the opposite way of their goals.
The alleged threat to abolish suburbia is yet another of the supposed “secret plans” that Obama has for a second term, without so much as hinting at it in his first. Obama will get rid of the suburbs, I’m sure, the same day he bans all gun ownership and institutes sharia law. Where’s the evidence? If we had any, then it wouldn’t be a secret, I guess.
When it comes to a lot of anti-Obama conspiracy theories, the thought process, from what I’ve seen, goes something like this: “The Left” wants to ban guns and suburbs, Obama is part of “The Left,” ergo Obama plans to do exactly that.
You know who on “The Left” wants to cut back on gun ownership and make it harder to live in the suburbs? A handful of obscure academics, the occasional pundit, and people on Twitter and blog comment sections. You know who doesn’t? The President, and the Democratic leaders in Congress, and just about anyone else who might conceivably have the power to do it.
I come not to bury the suburbs. I grew up in suburbia. I live there now, and I’ve long felt that the suburbs get a bad rap, especially when they’re denounced as soulless zones of cookie-cutter conformity. If there were any major movement to ban suburbia, I’d be the first to denounce it. But it can’t happen, it won’t happen, and no one wants it to happen, least of all the President.