Biden Administration's New Equity Atlas: An Unconstitutional Equity Redistribution Scheme
The Biden administration's $1.2 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) gives cities a blank check for hundreds of billions of dollars in federal grants. An astonishingly massive windfall for municipal budgets. Janet Yellen, U.S. Treasury Secretary, followed up by forming an Advisory Committee on Racial Equity (a.k.a. TACRE) to ensure cities channel those funds and future federal grants towards racial equity justice.
The Committee's mission is to "identify, monitor, and review aspects of the domestic economy that have directly and indirectly resulted in unfavorable conditions...for persons of color."
The ulterior motive is to produce a permanent mechanism that is a data-driven approach forcing racial equity justice outcomes. Leftists refer to the concept as "democratizing data," a contrary term that is an affirmative action contrivance.
At the TACRE launch, Ron Nirenberg, ultra-leftist Mayor of San Antonio, promoted (see this 45-second clip) the City’s first-of-its-kind working Equity Atlas model as the best practice for measuring and doling out resources based on equity. The City’s Equity Atlas is a workaround to the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
San Antonio's model assigns equity scores by census tracts and then aggregates them by districts. Census tracts can earn a favorable score based on the higher percentage of Spanish as a first language, high illiteracy, people of color, and below-median household income. Census tracts with the highest scores receive prioritized resource allocations—violating the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and Article 1 of the Texas Constitution. Shouldn't the City focus on tracking spiking crime rates and street potholes instead?
The City of San Antonio's Equity Atlas is an ideal case study of how data-driven narratives are used for citywide equity goals and strategies. No surprise, the City is dedicating most of its $465.5 million in ARP grants for affordable housing, drug rehabilitation, violence prevention, small business equitable outcomes, and community benefit navigators. Like a spoiled trust-fund baby, the City foolishly spends on those progressive pet projects will likely result in fraud, waste, and abuse - bank on it. All the while ignoring over $6 billion in crumbling infrastructure.
Below is the City’s equity map using GIS technology. The darker the shade, the greater allocation of resources and opportunities. The lighter shade areas have the highest tax burdens and coincidentally contain the most significant share of the City’s 23% non-Hispanic white minority population. This is blatant and shameful redlining around the neighborhoods where the City will limit or not invest based on race and affluence.
I filed an Open Records Request for my census tract 1211.10, asking for the data sources and the calculation for race, income, education, language, and combined components.
The census tract has one of the lowest equity scores in the City, with two out of a possible ten. The low score means that the census tract and, indirectly, the district have the lowest priority for resources. Astonishingly, the City coughed up the citywide Equity Atlas database in an Excel workbook which can be downloaded HERE.
The calculations rely on problematic federal government estimates and census data with an unacceptably high statistical margin of error, as high as 16%. As a result, the data lacks precision and has an inherent bias invalidating the Equity Atlas. But, of course, the mandarins couldn’t care less as long as it advances their social justice agenda.
Mark Twain defines it best: “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.”
Large donations and government grants are pouring into nonprofits to promote the adoption of a data-driven system for social justice. One of the most militant and influential nonprofit organizations is PolicyLink, which advocates for wealth redistribution, reparations, and abolishing the police. PolicyLink is supported by overly generous grants from the usual suspects like Gates, Ford, Packard, and Johnson foundations.
PolicyLink partnered with USC Equity Research Institute and created the National Equity Atlas. This platform provides starter dashboards and how-tos for municipalities to advance racial equity.
Michael Bloomberg's Bloomberg Philanthropies has initiatives called "Bloomberg City Network" and "C40," focusing on social justice and climate change. The initiatives promote data-smart city solutions and provide training and grants to cities. Bloomberg, through Harvard University, also has funded Data-Smart City Solutions using what it calls civic engagement technology. Bloomberg, like other billionaires, supports radical nonprofits as 'tribute' to avoid criticism of his pursuit of wealth.
Cities like Portland, Austin, and Tacoma have created custom equity dashboards. Visit your municipal website, and you may discover the city is developing its own custom dashboard or an equity atlas.
So where is your city spending its windfall ARPA grant?
Equity is not Equality
“Equity” is a Neo-Marxist euphemism for resource redistribution to favored racial and ethnic groups. Equity isn’t equality; its meaning and use are deliberately inverted to mislead the gullible and ignorant public. The term clashes with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights’ bedrock principle that the law must equally protect everyone.
Constitutionally protected personal and economic freedom can lead to inequitable consequences based on an individual’s abilities, intellect, deferred gratification, impulse control, and motivation. Yet, it creates a more dynamic and affluent society. On the other hand, equity is utopian socialism destroying personal responsibility and property rights, producing third-world living standards, conflict, and violence.
Bob Bishop is a forensic investigator and a retired CPA.