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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Climate Change Dogma Comes to HUD

In an interview with Parade Magazine, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said the most remarkable thing about climate change.

As head of HUD, is climate change really your problem?

We need to stop thinking in the traditional silos, the way the federal government usually thinks. We've got to stop thinking about programs and start thinking about places and how they work. The way we plan our cities, towns, and rural areas needs to change.

Now, having spent seven years in mortgages, I have a general understanding of what mortgages should be. They should measure risk: risk of the borrower, risk of the property, etc. Apparently, Secretary Donovan is extending this measure of risk to the risk each and every property have to the environment at large.

Now, we have all learned the painful lesson that it is difficult enough to measure risk in traditional means. Now, Secretary Donovan is suggesting that we add yet another variable into the overall mix.

I can only assume, and hope, that this is an off handed comment that will likely go nowhere. Yet, this is now the third cabinet secretary (along with Secretary Clinton and Chu) to make the statement that climate change is a part of their job description. This doesn't even account for the czar created specifically for climate change the president himself.

Unfortunately, we all know where such well meaning but totally misguided beliefs lead and that's to much bigger government. We've seen this with the Endangered Species Act which has created some of the most powerful bureaucracies in the government. The ESA can ground business to a halt if it deems said business dangerous to an animal that the ESA deems "endangered". In much the same way, HUD can under much the same philosophy make a home very difficult or even impossible to finance if it deems that home a danger to the environment.

The Obama administration has stated that they don't believe the traditional form of governing is effective any longer. That's why there are so many "czars". That's the tone of Donovan's statement. In fact though, it appears that for the most part revolutionizing the way in which government operates often leads to consolidating more power in the hands of Obama and his top deputies. That's the end result of Donovan's vision, and frankly, it's the end result of much of Obama's policies.

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