John Hayward at Human Events responds to a new rule from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that would allow the federal government to track diversity in neighborhoods across the country and push policies to change those deemed to be “discriminatory.”

“Some claim” that a blatantly obvious act of social engineering is “tantamount to social engineering?” That’s like those old toothpaste commercials where they said 9 out of 10 dentists recommend brushing your teeth. Dentist Number 10 also thinks a program to “gather data on segregation and discrimination in every single neighborhood and try to remedy it” might not qualify as “social engineering.”

Central planning has been a smashing success in urban areas – just look at Detroit, the glittering Tomorrowland of urban planning! – so why not give politicians a shot at re-designing the suburbs, too? I know we’re supposed to have all sorts of freedoms – freedom of association, for example – laid out in some dusty old scrap of parchment called the “Constipation” or something like that, but surely progressive America has moved beyond such trifling concerns.

May the tax serfs be allowed to ask our betters how much this glorious new diversity program will cost us? I seem to recall the wonderful effort by noble Democrats like Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, and then-Senator Barack Obama to cleanse the last tinges of racism from the home mortgage market ended up costing a lot of money. In fact, it nearly wiped out the financial system of the entire planet. Obama’s trying to get the same program rolling again, but I’m sure he’ll be more careful this time. How much will this latest effort to harvest data on law-abiding but suspicious peons set us back? We’re going to need tons of analysts to collate the data, rules must be formulated for determining when zoning laws and real estate purchases cross the line into sinister racism, and then we’ll have to budget for the brilliant solutions designed by the central planners who created the rapidly growing economy we enjoy today. Could we get a dollar figure on all this?

Well, no, because much like ObamaCare, this is a blind power grab, an open-ended crusade whose high-mindedness is beyond scoring by the puny gnomes of the Congressional Budget Office. “Specifics of the proposed rule are lacking. Now published in the Federal Register and undergoing a 60-day comment period, the rule, ‘does not prescribe or enforce specific’ policies,” says Fox News. I think we can safely assume that when specific policies are eventually formulated, the standard practice of hiding the really gigantic costs outside the 10-year CBO forecasting window will be followed.