Letter: Let’s take a closer look at the Fair Housing Act | Savage Letters to the Editor

Every election season offers misrepresentations, gaffes, blunders and general baloney from candidates. These statements can entertain us, bewilder us or hurt our feelings. Two statements that have lived on due to their entertainment value are Hillary Clinton’s misrepresentation of a bloc of American women, perhaps suburban women.

She said, “I wouldn’t be some little woman standing by my husband like Tammy Wynette. I suppose I could have stayed at home and baked cookies and had teas”; and President Bush’s, “our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country, and neither do we.” More often today, the go to response is simply racist, for any statement or action from a candidate we don’t like. No further thought is necessary.

I came in late on a Trump press conference last week. He was riffing on a variety of subjects, like he does. The reporters’ question period hadn’t started. Trump mentioned the suburbs being over 30% non-white. I thought, what did you do? Whatever it is you’re going to be called a racist.

His riff was in reference to the repeal of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, a regulation in the Fair Housing Act. By now we have all been told his statement to suburban housewives is racist, even though he addressed his statement to suburban housewives of all ethnicities. 

Some reasons the short lived, 2015 to 2017 AFFH regulation was removed from FHA: thousands of communities weren’t complying with it due to it’s crushing user unfriendly forms and language, when Obama left, his administration left almost 24,000 open cases, communities who’s grants were delayed or denied because of AFFH paperwork.

In 2010 before AFFH, the Government Accountability Office told Housing and Urban Development that communities weren’t complying with FHA rules in filing their paperwork. Obama let FHA non-compliance go on for 5 more years, (was he racist?) then instituted AFFH in 2015. It had a lot more in it than more oversight on compliance.

What else was in it? Non-elected bureaucrats in D.C. deciding what is credit-worthy for a renter; not the landlord, D.C. overseeing local contractors, control of business development, moving target definitions of discrimination, even “race neutral” policies could become racist, HUD becoming a national zoning authority.

There are plenty of suburbanites who want duplexes, senior housing, quadplexes and affordable housing. The free market, local leaders who are elected by local citizens are capable of overseeing it. Apparently Trump thinks the same. Apparently Trump thinks the AFFH is a highly ineffective way to expand and comply with FHA affordable housing mandates. Apparently Ben Carson thinks his forms are better.

Eric Fruits, Chief economist at the International Center of Law and Economy said, “as with most issues, this is too complex to be distilled into left vs right, us vs them. But if we had to simplify it, the clearest divide is the conflict between choice and coercion.”

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