President Joe Biden’s announcement that he will run for reelection in 2024 has made us (and many others, we’re sure) think about what we could expect from a second Biden-Harris Administration. Putting partisan politics aside, there is much to be concerned about for Americans on both sides of the political aisle.
Take, for instance, President Biden’s unprecedented mortgage redistribution policy, which went into effect this past Monday. Whereas the Clinton administration’s pressure on banks and other lending institutions to make risky mortgage loans to minorities ended in a plague of defaults, the Biden team is now forcing people with good credit scores to subsidize high risk mortgages to minorities by requiring them to make extra payments on their own mortgages that would be credited to the loans of higher-risk borrowers. The policy was proposed by Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Sandra L. Thompson, a Biden appointee known as an advocate for programs to promote access to credit and home ownership, particularly for people of color.
Ms. Thompson’s proposal is a perfect fit with the Biden administration’s “equity for all” approach to governance. On his very first day in office, he signed Executive Order 13985, “Advancing Equity and Racial Justice Through the Federal Government,” an explicit proclamation it is “the policy of my Administration that the federal Government should pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty, and inequality. Affirmatively advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice, and equal opportunity is the responsibility of the whole of our government.”
What leaps out here is that there is a clear distinction here between “equality” and “equity.” Equality is generally defined in terms of the absence of arbitrary barriers to accessibility and opportunity, regardless of personal circumstance. Equity, on the other hand, has come to mean the allocation of the resources necessary for an individual to match the outcomes of others, taking into account the differing personal circumstances.
Lest anyone think this is all simply a restatement of the backdoor quotas that were at the core of the old affirmative action policies, what Mr. Biden has in mind is affirmative action on steroids.
Consider his choice to nominate Julie Su to be his Secretary of Labor. Ms. Su has been a leading proponent of Critical Race Theory (CRT) for decades, dating back to her time as a civil rights lawyer. CRT posits that race is not a biologically-grounded feature but a culturally invented category used to oppress people of color; and that U.S. laws and legal institutions are inherently racist, being designed to create and maintain social, political and economic inequalities between white and non-white people. According to Fox News, the Asian-American Pacific Islanders Civic Engagement Fund credited Su last year with continuing to “push the leading edge of CRT in the legal academy.”
Notions of equity are part of the CRT doctrine, but CRT also argues that anti-discrimination laws and policies can only address the most egregious and visible forms of race-based discrimination but not the embedded racism that thwarts equal outcomes for all. The only solution for CRT proponents, therefore, is the wholesale revamping of the American political, social, and legal systems.
Thompson and Su’s presence in the administration are but two of many indications of the outcomes-focused future President Biden wants. In February, he issued an executive order directing every federal agency to report on “equity” in their organizations, both in terms of formulation of outreach policies and the formation of “equity teams.” Some agencies have reportedly set up distinct “equity departments.”
While many will benefit and some will lose because of these race-based initiatives, all this is much ado about very little. What it does show is how a second Biden term will attempt to continue reshaping American life.