Roger’s Rules

Obama’s War on the Suburbs

Enjoying your summer?  Stanley Kurtz is just about to darken it.  His brilliant new book, out next week but available for pre-order now,  is Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities. I’ve just been looking at an advance copy and can report that it is  a depressing yet tonic exposé, replete with the meticulously researched investigative reporting and sober political wisdom that are hallmarks of Kurtz’s work. Here are a couple of paragraphs from the introduction

While public attention has been riveted on high-profile congressional battles over the stimulus, health care, and the debt ceiling, Obama has been quietly laying the regulatory groundwork for a profound transformation of American society. The founders would not approve. From the Pilgrim fathers to the frontier settlers to the post-World War II exodus to the suburbs, Americans have enjoyed the freedom to move and to govern themselves as they have seen fit in their new homes. Yet the spirit of enterprise and self-government that made our country great looks very different to Obama.

In the eyes of Obama’s community organizing colleagues – close followers of Saul Alinsky, the leftist radical who founded the profession – America’s suburbs are instruments of bigotry and greed. Moving to a suburb in pursuit of the American dream of an affordable family home and quality, locally controlled schools looks to Obama and his organizing mentors like selfishly refusing to share tax money with the urban poor.

Obama means to fix that with regulations designed to force Americans out of their cars and into high-density urban centers, squeezing the population into a collection of new Manhattans. Obama also aims to force suburbanites to redistribute tax money to nearby cities while effectively merging urban and suburban school districts so as to equalize their funding. If you can afford to move to a suburban all, there will no longer be a point. In effect America’s cities will have swallowed up their suburbs. The result: your freedom of movement, America’s tradition of local self-rule, the incentive to better your circumstances, and therefore national prosperity all will have been eroded.


As I say, Kurtz’s argument is depressing. It is also infuriating. No one who reads this passionate and well-argued book would even dream of voting for Barack Obama. Which is one reason why everyone who has the franchise should read it.

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