Jason Riley explains the latest round of liberal outrage directed at former presidential candidate and incoming HUD chief, Ben Carson. In response to criticism of Carson’s lack of experience on housing issues, Riley shoots back that it was the “experts” who have made such a mess of America’s public housing in the first place.
HUD is an outgrowth of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, and its original goal was to address the housing needs of America’s poor. Today, it serves as a blunt tool for social engineers who are hellbent on achieving “racial balance” in residential housing patterns—whether the intended beneficiaries want it or don’t. Surveys going back decades show that blacks and whites alike are more concerned with a potential neighbor’s income than they are with his skin color. Most people don’t have a problem with families from different racial or ethnic groups moving in next door, so long as the newcomers can afford to live there.
Polling done at the national level as well as in cities like Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Omaha also reveals that a large majority of blacks strongly prefer to live in a neighborhood that is at least half black. Despite these findings, the idea that a neighborhood’s racial imbalance could be caused by something other than racial discrimination never seems to occur to the experts at HUD.
The housing expertise that Dr. Carson lacks also played a role in the housing market collapse in 2006 and the subsequent Great Recession. HUD imposed requirements on government lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide affordable-housing loans to low-income borrowers.
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