One of the tricks that Obama has done from the beginning is to use crises to his advantage. Right now he has three crises (scandals) which have gained everyone’s attention. We should be watching what the other hand is doing. This article is about one such program that they are trying to sneak up on us.

Yesterday I got a message from “Building One America”, announcing the “2013 Second National Summit for Inclusive Suburbs and Sustainable Regions” in Washington. The event will be held July 18 and 19.

The event will be highlighting a new book from the Brookings Institution called Confronting Suburban Poverty in America. According to the message, “the report attributes the spread of suburban poverty multiple causes, including the role of more affordable homes, the push of urban gentrification, desire to seek better schools and safer neighborhoods and new immigrants following service sector jobs to the suburbs.”

This got my attention since it sounded like another attack on the pleasures of suburban living. Of course, Building One America is a very suspect organization. So is Brookings. It should create a very unpleasant situation when combined.

I followed the links and my suspicions were validated. Here is the link to the event’s website: The first thing you notice is that the purpose of the summit is to have inclusive suburbs and sustainable regions. It will involve local leaders and federal policymakers to seek bipartisan solutions to the unique the common challenges around housing, schools and infrastructure facing America’s metropolitan regions in this diverse middle-class suburbs. The “elite”, not the citizens, will gather to fix it.

The undercurrent is that middle-class suburbs are not welcoming to the poor and something needs to be done about it. If you go to the agenda, you’ll see that this is indeed what they want. Topics include:

Transportation for all Americans.
Schools and diverse, middle-class suburbs.
Water infrastructure
Housing and sustainable communities.
These are straight out of Agenda 21. In fact, you can find them in the goals for Building One New Jersey and Together North Jersey. As with other Agenda 21 subjects on the surface these seem quite benign. However, they all involve redistribution of wealth, central planning, and national control of our education, transportation, and housing. They take everything out of the hands of the people and put decisions in the hands of the bureaucrats.

Since the meeting is highlighting “confronting suburban poverty in America.”, I decided to go to the Brookings site and download the “toolbox,” for this book. Again, my fears were validated.

Interestingly, they compared urban and suburban poverty areas. There seemed to be a fairly close correlation. Those areas of suburbia which seem to have high poverty rates were adjacent or close to declining cities. It was as if the cities have the disease and their suburban areas are becoming infected. The solution seems to be throwing more money at suburbia in order to make them as inefficient as the cities. There was nothing that dealt with the issue of improving the economy or job growth as a technique for reducing poverty. Rather, it was focused on redistributing the wealth of those who lived in the suburbs to those poor who were living there. Of course, the result is fairness: everybody is equally poor.

The authors recognize that there is nothing that the federal government can do directly to make things happen. The bureaucracy just does not have the direct power or authority. However, through the use of grants, NGOs, and public-private partnerships, as well as arm twisting at the state and local levels, the federal government has plenty of leverage.

Their main recommendation is something they call the “Metropolitan Opportunity Challenge”. This would be something like the Department of Education’s race to the top, which provided grants to states which successfully implemented Common Core Curriculum. As you know, Common Core is not a federal program per se. Rather, it is a program designed and administered by a consortium of educators and nongovernment organizations for which states would receive sizable grants if they implemented it. Thus, the federal government could say that it had nothing to do with the creation of this program, but in actuality had everything to do with its existence.

They want to do the same thing with the Metropolitan Opportunity Challenge. In fact, it would be the common core for poverty in the suburbs. They suggest that the program could “require eligible states to have implemented automated eligibility determinations and data sharing among the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid/CHIP, and childcare programs. Unelected planners would determine what the best things for our communities and the federal government would encourage the states and regional entities to implement them. In doing so, they would take solutions and decision-making away from the people. This is okay in their minds, since the people don’t know enough to do anything. Again, improving the economy and jobs was never really a consideration (except forcibly moving the jobs closer to where people live).

Here are some specific short-term steps they recommend.

States and counties can do more to eliminate fragmentation by creating incentives for collaboration across jurisdictions either through existing funding streams or by carving out program dollars specific to those efforts.
Counties, councils of governments and metropolitan planning organizations, which operate at a more effective scale for addressing the growing scope of poverty, also have a clear role play.
The Sustainable Communities Partnership Program should be continued and even enhanced. (This is the program which created together North Jersey. It promotes regional planning by unaccountable nongovernment organizations. Basically, it is central planning by bureaucrats who have a preconceived notion as to what is best for those of us who live in the suburbs).
HUD and the Department of Education should ensure that neighborhood focused programs such as Choice Neighborhoods and Promise Neighborhoods encourage on the ground coordination in low income communities eligible for both investments. These are programs that provide grants to nongovernment organizations who are responsible for collecting data from residence of low income communities. The data comes from individual interviews, from school records, and from medical records, as well as some other sources. No one says how this information will be used… Rather, it is intended for long-term (15 years). Statistical studies. However, given the record of the IRS, it is highly likely that the information will be selectively leaked to other government and nongovernment organizations. The promise neighborhood program will do nothing to provide any immediate or long-term solutions. Rather, it is pure data collection on every element of our lives.
According to the study, federal policies in areas such as economic and workforce development and homeland security are focusing on elevating regional action. All we need is the presence of the Homeland Security Police Force to help implement these programs.

Here is their blueprint for action:

Getting to scale means taking steps to:

Improve systems and networks,
Promote high-performance organizations, and
Support smart consolidation.
Promoting collaboration and integration requires strategies that:

Identify and reduce barriers to integration and collaboration,
Reward integrated and collaborative approaches, and
Catalyze regional capacity.
Funding strategically and flexibly means that government funding streams should:

Commit to enterprise-level funding,
Promote strategic tools that leverage public and private funds,
Develop and maintain consistent, comparable data sources.
To set the stage for the successful implementation of each of these tenets in regions across the country government should commit to:

Regional planning strategies that prioritize and promote equitable development;
Building capacity in places where it does not exist to ensure that struggling suburbs are poised to absorb and implement resources; and
Strategies that engage and promote the regional intermediaries or “quarterbacks” who can help coordinate interventions across jurisdictions and policy silos.
Note the last items: regional planning, building capacity in places where it does not exist in order to facilitate desired outcomes, and creation of regional intermediaries who can coordinate interventions across jurisdiction and policy silos. This means that their intention is to eliminate counties and townships as viable decision-makers for solving their own poverty problems. The regional “government” as well as the states will be incentivized (their arms will be twisted) by the federal government to do its bidding. We will have no say in the matter.

I would like to hear from anybody who does not see this as the personification of Agenda 21. The solutions, in fact, are merely recycled from other proposals for regionalization. Common Core Curriculum, Together North Jersey, and the planning projects of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area, are already well underway and are being closely studied by the federal government. The data collection is already being done by the IRS, Department of Education, and HHS. Promise Neighborhoods is a Department of Education initiative. The authors propose consolidating all these into a giant bureaucracy that will be administered from Washington.

What should we do about this?

We should continue to press our Congress to reject agenda 21 and its policy outgrowths.
We should infiltrate Building One America and Building One New Jersey to gain early warning regarding their initiatives and to fight the most radical of them. Attending a conference like this would be a good start for someone who can afford it.
We must fight these initiatives at a state level, since the federal government “merely funds grants” to those organizations which do the right thing. We must make sure that state planning does not mirror the planning established by the nongovernment organizations (such as what is happening in New Jersey is practices.
We must dominate politics at county and municipal levels. Strong policies by dedicated patriots can provide better solutions to these problems of poverty (I recognize that there is poverty in the suburbs), than the bureaucrats in Washington. Since the plans and proposals do not have the force of law. They can be effectively nullified by local government. We must make sure that this happens.
Hopefully we can get state legislators elected who are immune to sucking at the teat of the federal government. The state governments have economies that are larger than most countries and they should be able to take care of their own unique problems without intervention from the federal government. The federal government can perform its responsibility to protect us, facilitate commerce, etc. but it doesn’t need to be involved with social engineering. We have learned since the days of FDR and LBJ that social engineering and the war on poverty doesn’t work. Doubling down on these will not solve anything. We should try something new… Putting solutions into the hands of citizens and letting us take care of our own problems. I think we can do it. And I think those who are less fortunate will thank us for it.
We can trust that neither the Democrat nor Republican parties have any real concern about Agenda 21. Their eyes glaze over when you mention it. The progressives in both parties will thank that this is a good idea, and since it is “cost neutral” it should be implemented. They don’t understand or are not concerned how central planning brings us right on the road to serfdom.

My guess is that many would be happy if most of us were indeed serfs. Fortunately, the American Conservative Party has genuine concern about Agenda 21 and programs like this. We can count on its candidates to fight for the rights of citizens to be free to make their own decisions. We can count on its candidates to treat us as adults. We can count on its candidates to have the right priorities rather than the priorities of faceless bureaucrats. We can count on them to rollback such atrocities as Obamacare, common core curriculum, the IRS abuses, the homeland security “police” and other things that have crept into our government. We can count on them to commit to the principles of the Constitution and adhere to the spirit of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. We don’t have to continually vote for progressives of both parties who do not have our real interests at heart.

There is a choice, and it’s about time that we let America know that there are alternatives. The American conservative party is one such organization.

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