by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A house with a white picket fence and a big backyard might have been a staple of the American dream once upon a time, but if the Biden administration gets its way, the dream could soon be out of reach for millions of people.
As part of his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, the Biden administration is pushing local governments to allow apartment buildings in neighborhoods that are restricted to single-family homes. The administration claims it’s a way to ease a national affordable housing shortage and combat racial injustice in the housing market.
Current zoning laws that favor single-family homes, known as exclusionary zoning, have disproportionately hurt low-income people who can’t afford to move to the suburbs, the administration said. Their only choice is living in crowded apartment buildings. Biden’s proposal would incentivize local governments to get rid of exclusionary zoning by awarding grants and tax credits to cities that change their zoning regulations.
While the proposal has had some bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, not everyone is on board.
Critics claim the federal government’s plan would change the landscape of towns and cities across the country and torpedo the American dream.
“The Biden plan’s backers are hypocrites,” former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey said. “Biden himself owns a four-acre lakefront home in upscale Greenville, Delaware, where there is absolutely no public housing, affordable housing, or rentals that accept housing vouchers. And don’t expect any to be built next door to the Bidens.” …
… Regulating land use and zoning has largely been a function of local government. Critics claim that the Biden administration is now dangling millions of dollars in front of cash-strapped local governments in order to pressure them to change.