The Corner

Obama’s Regionalist Revolution, Step Two

Earlier this week I wrote about California’s new regionalist initiative, Plan Bay Area, as a harbinger of President Obama’s attempt to densify America’s cities and undercut the political and economic independence of the suburbs.

If that was the beginning of Obama’s second-term assault on the suburbs, the next step is about to be taken in Minnesota. Katherine Kersten writes about “Thrive MSP 2040,” a soon-to-be-released plan that may take regionalism to unheard of levels. At a minimum, when it comes to densification, we’re likely to see the thrust of Plan Bay Area replicated in the Twin Cities.

Potentially, things could get more radical still. Kersten talks about a proposal to create a giant, seven-county metropolitan school district to enable apportionment of students by race and income across current district lines.  This plan would be the product of unelected regional bureaucrats, not local officials.  I wonder if Minnesota’s Met Council will go that far.  In any case, the dream scenarios of the most committed regionalists are now at least in play.

Contemporary regionalism began as a drive to have cities annex suburbs, without consent.  Once it became evident that state law would not permit this, regionalists started cooking up ways to annex in practice, if not in law.  Something like that seems to be going on here.

The drift of Kersten’s account matches closely with what I noted we were in for in Spreading the Wealth, where I explain the history, philosophy, and technique behind the president’s regionalist policies.

The Obama administration is deeply involved in Thrive MSP 2040, and I’ll have more to say about that in the days ahead.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Most Popular


An Idea for Student Loans: Get Rid of Them

Here is a three-part plan for something practical the federal government could do to relieve college-loan debt. Step 1: The federal government should stop making college loans itself and cease guaranteeing any such loans. Step 2: It should prohibit educational lending by federally regulated financial institutions ... Read More
White House

The Problem with the Mueller Report

So much for collusion. The media conversation has now officially moved on from the obsession of the last two years to obstruction of justice. That’s because the first volume of the voluminous Mueller report, the half devoted to what was supposed to be the underlying crime of a Trump conspiracy with Russia, ... Read More
White House


Some of you will be familiar with a lefty, partisan Democratic organization called MoveOn, formerly MoveOn.Org. It was founded during an investigation into President Bill Clinton’s shenanigans (which were not, Democratic mythology notwithstanding, strictly sexual in nature) and argued that it was time for the ... Read More