AUGUST 02, 2011
While Congress raises the nation’s debt limit by trillions to accommodate President Obama’s manic spending spree, the commander-in-chief keeps hurling big chunks of taxpayer dollars at new government programs that aim to bring “social equity” to underserved communities.Among them is an imaginative multi-agency project (Partnership for Sustainable Communities) that helps low-income communities improve access to affordable housing, transportation options and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment. Less than a month ago the administration celebrated its second anniversary by bragging that three federal agencies have doled out more than$2.5 billion in “assistance” to promote “equitable development” while addressing the “challenges of climate change.”A few days ago Obama’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Shaun Donovan, proudly announced an additional $95 million to support sustainable local initiatives through the end of the fiscal year. The money will help expand housing choices, improve connections between employment centers and homes and reduce barriers to achieving affordable, economically vital and sustainable communities. At least that’s HUD’s version of how the tax dollars will be spent.But what exactly does it all mean? Donovan, who refers to the program as “an important commitment” his boss made to American families, explains it this way: “Connecting affordable housing choices with quality schools and jobs not only ensures families will be able to provide a safe environment for their children, but it also provides communities large and small with the resources they need to make a sustainable plan for their future.”The administration repeatedly uses that word—sustainable—in press releases involving the costly initiative that seems to keep with the president’s mission of redistributing wealth. Recipients applying for a piece of the latest $95 million in grants must show they support regional planning efforts that, among other things, bring economic “competitiveness and revitalization” to low-income neighborhoods. This particular chunk of cash will place a priority on the collaboration of arts and culture, philanthropy and “innovative” ideas.Here is a funny line that the public information officer at HUD used to conclude the press release announcing this latest, multi- million dollar allocation: “At a time when every dollar the federal government invests in jumpstarting the economy is critical, the President’s plan ensures that all these agencies are coordinating efforts and targeting resources with precision.”
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