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REPUBLICANS AND THE END OF FEDERAL ASSISTANCE In the campaigns of 1980 and 1984, the Republicans virtually

wrote off the African American vote. Richard Wirthlin, Ronald Reagan’s campaign strate gist, advised before the 1980
election that the “Reagan for President 1980 campaign must convert into Reagan votes the disappointment felt by Southern
white and rural voters.”39 Reagan won only 10 percent of the black vote in 1980 and slightly less in 1984. In 1984, however,
three out of four southern whites supported him. The Reagan White House actively worked to undo civil rights guarantees,
slashing the budgets of civil rights enforcement units and of eight years it largely succeeded. President Reagan’s agenda
mapped out a radical new departure in federal policy. Philosophically, Reagan believed that the federal government should
stop helping the cities altogether. Instead, he thought, they, and the people who lived within them, should help themselves.
In a press conference held in October 1981, President Reagan suggested the residents of cities where unem ployment was
high should “vote with their feet” and move to more prosperous areas ofthe country.“ His remark ignited an instant political
controversy, but, in fact, it was consistent with the recommendations of a presidential commis sion appointed by his
predecessor, Jimmy Carter. In a report issued only a few weeks after Reagan took office, the Presidential Commission on
the National Agenda for the Eighties urged that the national government stop helping cities. The commission emphasized
that federal policies should be used to promote national economic growth, but these policies should be neutral about where
that growth occurred: It may be in the best interest of the nation to commit itself to the promotion of locationally neutral
economic and social policies rather than spatially sensitive urban policies that either explicitly or inadvertently seeks to
preserve cities in their historical roles.42 Recommending that the federal government let the process of decay in some areas
and growth in others take its natural course, the commission noted that cities adapt and change in response to economic
and social forces. This process of adaptation, said the commission, should be facilitated, rather than altered, by
governmental policy: Ultimately, the federal government’s concern for national economic vitality should take precedence
over the competition for advantage among communities and regions.“3 To attempt to restrict or reverse the processes of
change—for Whatever noble intentions—is to deny the benefits that the future may hold for us as a nation.44 The policies
subsequently pursued by the Reagan administration consti tuted a historic turn. For the first time since urban policy was first
enacted in the 1930s, policymakers operated on the assumption that cities were valuable only if they contributed in a
positive way to the national economy. Three University of Delaware researchers characterized this new policy direction as “a
form of Social Darwinism applied to cities.”“ Cities would survive if they could manage to re generate their local economies.
Otherwise, they would be allowed to wither away. The Reagan administration began to slash federal urban aid, proclaim ing
“the private market is more efficient than federal program administra tors in allocating dollars.”“ Cities were instructed to
improve their ability to compete in a struggle for survival in which “state and local governments will find it is in their interests
to concentrate on increasing their attractiveness to potential investors, residents, and visitors.”47 The assumption was that
free en terprise would provide a bounty of jobs, incomes, and neighborhood renewal, and such local prosperity would make
federal programs unnecessary. The CDBG and UDAG programs were spared deep cuts in the 1983 budget, as was revenue
sharing. The administration had wanted to reduce these pro grams too, but the White House heard the pleas of governors
and mayors, quite a few of them Republican. Local government representatives came away relieved the budget cuts were
less drastic than they had feared. Only two years later, however, the administration realized its goal of eliminating most
urban programs. Urban programs gave way to a new priority: cutting taxes. On February 18, 1981, President Reagan
proposed a massive tax cut to stimulate the economy. The legislation quickly sailed through Congress, and when Reagan
signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act on August 13, 1981, he proclaimed “a turnaround of almost a half a century of . . .
excessive growth in government bureaucracy, government spending, government taxing.”48 In its final version the act
reduced individual tax rates by 25 percent over three years and also substantially re duced business tax liability. The
revenue losses were huge. In just the first two years, $128 billion was lost to the federal treasury, and by 1987 this figure
rose to more than $1 trillion.49 In combination with massive increases in military spending, the 1981 tax cuts created huge
budget deficits. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 reduced federal revenues even further. Tax rates fell only modestly or not at all
for most taxpayers, but they were cut drastically for the rich. In subsequent years, a perception that tax burdens fell unfairly
on the middle class helped fuel a tax revolt. George H. W. Bush won the presidency in 1988 partly with the promise, “Read
my lips: no new taxes.” Within a few months, the administration slashed spending for programs for education, housing,
health, and welfare. (It should be pointed out, however, that later in his term President Bush went along with a bill raising a
few taxes in order to reduce the accumulating federal deficit. By some accounts, this cost him his bid for a second term.)
President Reagan initiated the first reductions of consequence in grants in-aid expenditures since the 1940s. Broad
entitlement programs with middle class recipients, such as the old-age and survivors’ benefits funded through the Social
Security Act of 1935, veterans’ benefits, and Medicare, were affected only marginally. By contrast, deep cuts and new
eligibility restrictions were imposed on public assistance programs for the poor. Medicaid, which was available through the
states to welfare recipients, was subjected to tighter eli gibility requirements, but Medicaid outlays soared anyway because
of rising medical costs. Enrollment in Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) fell by half a million. A million people
lost food stamps. It became harder to get unemployment benefits; whereas 75 percent of the unemployed received benefits
during the recession of 1975, only 45 percent were able to qualify dur ing the 1982—1983 recession.50 first term, including
revenue sharing and federally assisted local public works. The UDAGs were eliminated in 1986, although a trickle of money

contin ued to flow in the administrative pipeline for several years (the total spend ing fell from an annual level of between
$400 and $500 million for the first 10 years of the program [fiscal years 1978 to 1987] to $200 million in fiscal 1988 and dried
up to a nominal $3 million by fiscal 1994).51 Other budget cuts also affected the cities. Most subsidies for the construction of
public housing were eliminated. Only 10,000 new units a year were authorized af ter 1983, compared with the 111,600 new
or rehabilitated units authorized for 1981.52 Despite his opposition to urban programs of almost any kind, President Reagan
moved to put his stamp on the “Republican” approach to the cities by pushing legislation meant to stimulate investment in
troubled inner-city neigh borhoods. On March 7, 1983, Reagan sent the proposed Urban Enterprise Zone Act to Congress,
claiming the legislation represented a sharp break from past policy: Enterprise zones are a fresh approach for promoting
economic growth in the inner cities. The old approach relied on heavy government subsidies and central planning. A prime
example was the model cities program in the 19605, which concentrated government programs, subsidies and regulations in
distressed urban areas. The enterprise zone approach is to remove government barriers, bring individuals to create, produce
and earn their own wages and profits.53 No matter what claims the president made, the legislation was not a “fresh
approach” but a logical extension of past policies. Since the latter years of the Carter administration, federal policy had
stressed the role of government in subsidizing private investment. Throughout the Reagan years, the enterprise zones idea
surfaced from time to time, but the administration never gave it pri ority. After George H. W. Bush’s election to the presidency
in 1988, the idea continued to receive an occasional nudge from the president or from HUD, but urban policy of any kind did
not surface as a meaningful item on the presi dent’s legislative agenda until very late in his term. The administration of
George H. W. Bush was not motivated by its elec toral base or its ideology to propose urban legislation. In the 1988
presidential election, Bush used racial issues to mobilize his base. Republicans ran an at tack ad that featured a police
photograph of Willie Horton, who had raped a woman in Maryland and stabbed her fiancé while on a weekend pass from a
Massachusetts prison. The Democratic candidate, Michael Dukakis, had been the governor of Massachusetts at the time.
According to Bush’s campaign di rector, Lee Atwater, the fact that Willie Horton was black was the key element explaining
the ad’s emotional impact. In the 1992 election, the Bush campaign refined its racial appeals by re sorting to a code
language that used attacks on cities as a signifier of race and welfare-state liberalism. In one of the opening salvos of the
campaign, Vice President Dan Quayle attacked New York City by saying, “The liberal vi sion of a happy, productive and
content welfare state hasn’t even worked on 22 square miles of the most valuable real estate in the world.”54 A later Quayle
attack prompted a New York Post headline: “City to Dan Quayle: DON’T DIS’ US!”55 An editorial in the New York Times
called Quayle’s attacks an at tempt to make New York City “The Willie Horton of 1992.”56 Despite the administration’s
rhetoric, late in his term President Bush made some gestures, mostly symbolic, in the direction of urban policy. The pressure
to do so came on April 29—May 3, 1992, when serious rioting broke out in Los Angeles. Measured by the number of deaths
(53), injuries (2,383), property damage (over $700 million), and the response required to reestablish order, the Los Angeles
riot was the country’s worst episode of civil disorder in the twentieth century.” Many people thought the riot could be used as
an oppor tunity to call attention to the problems of urban America. Two weeks after the riots, 150,000 people descended on
Washington for a Save Our Cities/Save Our Children rally. As the atmosphere ofcrisis faded, however, urban issues got lost
in election-year politics. Democratic candidate Bill Clinton initially blamed the riots on “twelve years of denial and neglect” by
Presidents Bush and Reagan, but fearing he might be accused of advocating new spending programs, Clinton soon muted
his criticisms.58 On Monday, May 5, Bush’s press secretary, Marlin Fitzwater, said the Great Society’s programs ofthe 1960s
were to blame for the rioting. Nevertheless, in an attempt to look like he was responding positively, President Bush proposed
an emergency aid package. In June Congress passed $1.3 billion in emergency aid that allocated $500 million for summer
jobs, $382 million for loans to businesses damaged or destroyed in the riot areas, and some flood relief for the city of
Chicago. Through the summer and early fall of 1992, Congress worked on a larger urban aid bill. A version was finally
approved by the House on October 6 and the Senate on October 8. The legislation would have created 25 urban and 25
rural enterprise zones and financed so-called weed and seed programs that combined enhanced law enforcement with job
training and education programs. The bulk of the legislation, however, was made up of a long list of items that had nothing to
do with cities, including liberalized (tax-free) retirement accounts for upper-income people and a provision for the repeal of
luxury taxes on yachts, furs, jewels, and planes (Democrats backed this amendment as enthusiastically as Republicans). It
was estimated that of the $30 billion the bill would cost over five years, about $6 billion would be used to help depressed
areas in cities.59 By the time the legislation was passed and sent to the White House for President Bush’s signature, the
election was over. Bush vetoed it, claiming it was contaminated by pork-barrel amendments. The CDBG program was the
only major urban program to survive the Reagan/Bush years. CDBG spending fell from $4 billion in the 1981 fiscal year to
$2.8 billion in fiscal 1990 before rebounding slightly in fiscal 1992, the year the Democrats reclaimed the White House.
Under President Clinton, CDBG spending rose modestly to $4.6 billion by the 1996 fiscal year,60 and to $5.1 billion by
Clinton’s last budget, the 2001 fiscal year (when adjusted for inflation, however, funding for the program actually stayed
even). Under President George W. Bush, the level of funding fell, but the program was not eliminated entirely.61

POLITICAL REALITY AND URBAN POLICY As a self-styled “new Democrat” who wanted to project an image as a friend of
the “forgotten middle class,” Bill Clinton could not be expected to place aid to cities or to the poor on the front burner. In the
1992 presidential election the Clinton campaign decided to concentrate on appealing to the white suburban middle class and
to assume that inner-city voters would support him anyway because they had no place else to go. Clinton’s electoral strategy
succeeded in making him the first Democrat to be elected to two full terms since Franklin D. Roosevelt. Clinton succeeded
by winning back many of the white suburban vot ers who had deserted the party in 1980. Even so, he still lost the overall
white vote by a 39 to 41 percent margin. He carried huge pluralities in the cities, com ing out of New York City, for example,
with almost a million-vote lead. His abil ity to capture 82 percent of the African American vote was crucial to his victory. The
logic behind Clinton’s suburban strategy was compelling. By the 1990 census, 48 percent of the nation’s population lived in
suburbs. Because they tended to turn out for elections at a relatively high rate, it seemed certain they would cast a majority
of the national vote in the 1992 election.62 In addition, large proportions of suburban voters were so-called Reagan
Democrats, blue collar and middle-class voters who had abandoned the party to vote Republican in the three previous
presidential elections. They were heavily concentrated in the older suburbs in key states such as New Jersey, Michigan, and
California, which could deliver the big blocs of Electoral College votes coveted by every presidential candidate. To bring
them back to the fold, Clinton wanted to avoid identifying himself with policies that were targeted to cities, and especially to
blacks. In developing his strategy, Clinton followed the advice of a well-known African American sociologist, William Julius
Wilson, whose 1987 book, The Truly Disadvantaged, warned against race-specific policies. Wilson, who was a friend and
adviser ofthe president, recommended a “hidden agenda” in which inner-city minorities might be helped “by emphasizing
programs to which the more advantaged groups of all races and classes can positively relate.”63 In an interview before the
election, Wilson praised Clinton’s programs for targeting “all low- to moderate-income groups, not just minorities.”64 Clinton
ended up developing what two scholars called a “stealth urban policy” composed of programs that were not specifically
targeted to cities but would help them.“ In their campaign book, Putting People First, Bill Clinton and Al Gore advocated
cross-cutting policies designed to help both the middle class and the disadvantaged. Clinton’s highly successful campaign
bus tours avoided the inner cities and provided the media with ample opportunities to photograph the candidate against
small town and rural backdrops. After winning the nomination, Clinton did attend a meeting of the United States Conference
of Mayors (USCM) and lent his support to a public works ini tiative. Clinton stressed, however, that the primary goal was to
stimulate the economy and that aiding cities would be a secondary effect. Clinton began his presidency with the intention of
rewarding the cit ies that had voted lopsidedly for him. To accomplish this, he put together a $19.5 billion economic stimulus
bill that included $4.4 billion for public works (mostly in cities), $2.5 billion for community development grants, and $735
million for inner-city schools and jobs. Led by minority leader Bob Dole (R.-Kans.), Senate Republicans filibustered the bill,
refusing to let it come up for a vote. Lacking the 60 votes necessary to end the filibuster, the Democrats were forced to back
down. Eventually, all that was passed was a bill not tar geted at the cities at all, a $4 billion extension of unemployment
benefits for the chronically unemployed.66 The only significant new urban initiative that the Clinton administra tion could
claim was the Empowerment Zones/Enterprise Communities (EZ/EC) program, which was included as Title XIII of the
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993. Republicans and even many conservatives had sup ported the enterprise
zones idea in the Reagan and Bush years because it was based on a strategy of cutting taxes and regulations in inner cities,
with the intention of stimulating investment in depressed neighborhoods. Conservatives liked it because it mirrored the
Republicans’ national-level policies. The Clinton administration adopted this same free-market approach. To promote
investment in EZ/EC zones, tax credits were provided for employers who hired workers who lived in the zone, and
businesses located within the zones became eligible for accelerated depreciation on business property and tax-exempt bond
financing for new construction. Grant money was also made available to assist zone residents in obtaining education, job
training, and child care so that they could work. Ultimately, 31 Empowerment Zones were created across the coun try, and
74 additional distressed areas (33 in rural areas) also won grants, but these were small in comparison to the full-fledged
Empowerment Zones. Empowerment Zones proved to be the only politically viable urban pro gram left. The midterm 1994
elections dealt a deathblow to urban and so cial welfare policies. Led by House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his Contract
with America (labeled Contract on America by detractors), the Republicans won control of both houses of Congress for the
first time in 40 years. The Republicans were hostile to the little that remained of federal urban programs. Speaker Gingrich
called for the elimination of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, asserting, “You could abolish HUD
tomorrow morning and improve life in most of America.” He was blunt about why HUD was being singled out for especially
harsh treatment: Its “weak constituency,” he said, “makes it a prime candidate for cuts.”67 In a desperate attempt to stave off
disaster, HUD secretary Henry Cisneros proposed to “reinvent” his department in ways pleasing to conservatives.
Announced a month and a half after the 1994 election, HUD issued a Reinvention Blueprint calling for a consolidation ofthe
department’s programs into three flexible block grants that would be administered by cities and states. The plan also
proposed converting all public housing aid to vouchers, which would allow recipients to find housing wherever private

landlords would take them. Reinventing HUD became the centerpiece of Clinton’s National Urban Policy Report, issued in
July 1995.68 The decline in public housing and urban programs began well before Clinton came into office, but the fact that
a Democrat was now in the White House did not change things very much. In the Reagan and Bush years, HUD
experienced the largest cuts of any cabinet-level department in the federal government. HUD budget authority (what
Congress authorizes it to spend) fell from 7.5 percent of the total federal budget in 1978 to 1.3 percent by 1990. During the
Clinton administration, annual HUD spending recovered slightly, but this only enabled HUD to meet past commitments for
housing subsidies. Four programs of special interest to city governments, General Revenue Sharing, Urban Development
Action Grants, Local Public Works, and Antirecession Fiscal Assistance, were zeroed out—eliminated entirely. The welfare
reform Bill Clinton signed in August 1996 also hurt the cit ies. The Personal Responsibility Act of 1996 converted Aid to
Families with Dependent Children into a block grant run by the states. In addition to a 64 percent decline in welfare spending
from 1990 to 1998, food stamps and community services programs were sharply reduced. Three programs—child nutrition,
supplemental (infant) feeding, and housing assistance—increased somewhat only because they were linked to welfare
reform efforts. Medicaid costs climbed substantially (by 146 percent), but the big winner was justice assistance, which
skyrocketed 1,250 percent in less than a decade. Although some of this money went to cities, the states used most of it to
build prisons. Obviously, crime control trumped any other social purpose.

THE CITIES’ FALL FROM GRACE Until the election of Barack Obama to the presidency in November 2008, both political
parties had largely abandoned the cities. It was a matter of making a political calculus. In the case of the Republicans, party
leaders had long sought to capitalize on white suburbanites’ disaffection from the Democratic-sponsored civil rights and
antipoverty policies ofthe 1960s. What is more interesting is the way the past friend of the cities, the Democratic Party, shied
away from urban issues. In 1968 the Democrats used the word city 23 times in the party platform adopted at their
presidential nominating convention. It did not appear even once in the 1988 platform. The substitute term, hometown
America, signaled recognition of the political importance of the suburbs. In 1992 and 1996, Clinton avoided policies targeted
to cities and concentrated his appeals on the suburban middle class. Notably, in the 2000 campaign, Democratic candidate
Al Gore mentioned urban sprawl as a significant national issue. By the new century, urban policy no longer referred to
central cities but to urban regions. The near-invisibility of cities in national politics can be explained by a simple fact: today,
central-city voters are a very small fraction of the national electorate. The central cities ofthe 32 largest metropolitan areas
reached a high water mark of 27 percent ofthe electorate in 1944, but by 1992 they accounted for just 14 percent of the
national vote69 and 12 percent by the 2000 election. As shown in Figure 8.2, the share of their states’ votes cast by their
largest cit ies has fallen steadily for half a century in New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Massachusetts.70 In
1952, New York City voters represented 48 percent of the statewide electorate, but by the 2000 presidential election their
proportion ofthe statewide vote had fallen to 32 percent. Chicago claimed 41 percent ofthe Illinois presidential vote in 1952
but only 20 percent by 2000. 48% 40 New York Percent of Statewide Total Vote on O | 29% 21% 20— \’_\ 20% Philadelphia
14% 10— Detroit | | | | | | | | | | | 655%| 1952 1956 1960 1964 1968 1972 1976 1980 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 FIGURE 8.2
City Proportion of Actual State Electorate, 1952—2000. Sources: Richard Scammon, America Votes (various issues); U.S.
Bureau of the Census, Census of Population and Housing, various years; and reports of actual city votes from county
boards of elections (and newspapers for 1996 election). Data compiled by Richard Sauerzopf. Data from 2000 from Peter
Dreier, John Mollenkopf, and Todd Swanstrom, Place Matters, 2nd ed. (Lawrence: University Press Representatives.
Between 1963 and 1994, the number of congressional districts with a major ity of the population coming from central cities
fell from 94 to 84, and over the same period the number of districts with a majority of suburban voters increased from 94 to
214. In 1994, after the Republicans took control of the House, the proportion of leadership positions held by representatives
from districts with a sizable proportion of central-city voters fell precipitously, from 30 to 10 percent.71 Similar trends reduced
the influence ofthe big cities in state governments as well.72 The number of states with suburban electoral majori ties
climbed from 3 in 1980 to 14 in 1990, and increased again when seats were reapportioned as a result of the 2000 census. It
is generally assumed the suburbs now hold the key to winning national elections. Suburban votes were critical to the
presidential victories of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush; Reagan won huge landslides in 1980 and 1984
even though he only carried about a third of the central-city vote. In the 1988 election, suburban voters gave Bush such a
comfortable cushion that he could have carried almost all of the northern industrial states without a single vote from the big
cities in those states. By contrast, the central-city electorate was an important part of Bill Clinton’s winning coalition in 1992
and 1996. In 1992 New York City provided Clinton with 92 percent of his nearly 1-million statewide vote margin, and Clinton
lost to Bush in suburban Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk counties). In 1996 Clinton did even better in the cities, winning 67
percent of the vote in Milwaukee, 74 percent in Boston, 76 percent in St. Louis and New York, and 80 percent in Chicago.73

In the 2000 presidential election Al Gore won similar pluralities in the cities, but it was not enough to overcome George W.
Bush’s near-sweep of southern and less urban, less populated states of the Plains and the West. Gore won the national
popular vote by more than 500,000 votes, but Bush was able to win the election by commanding a bare majority of votes in
the Electoral College. Even though President Clinton owed a debt to big-city voters for his two election victories, he did not
make urban issues a priority. During his presi dency, federal spending for the cities continued to fall. Clearly, Clinton felt he
could take his urban base for granted, and he was right. This strategy did im pose a potential cost on the Democrats,
however, because as the federal gov ernment turned away from the cities, voter turnout in them went into a steep slide.
Indeed, in the past half century, 40 percent of the loss in the proportion of votes cast in the 32 largest cities can be traced to
falling turnout and not to shrinking population.74

THE END OF URBAN POLICY At first blush it would appear that Barack Obama’s election put the voters of central cities
and their constituency groups into a more favorable position than they had enjoyed for decades. For the first time since the
Carter adminis tration, the president signaled that he might pay attention to urban problems. Only a few weeks after taking
office, the Obama administration announced the appointment of Adolfo Carrion, the president of Borough of the Bronx, as its
“urban czar,” with the charge to coordinate the urban-related programs then on the books. That goal has not been realized. It
would be a daunting job merely to identify the programs that influence cities and urban regions. An even harder task would
follow. These programs are located in dozens of agen cies operating under almost all of the cabinet-level departments. Even
with a lot of attention and political muscle from the White House, it is not clear what “coordination” would amount to.
Probably for this reason, as time passed lit tle was heard from the urban czar, and there was no prospect that urban issues
would be able to compete in a crowded political agenda any time soon. Still, it should be noted that more than at any time in
decades, programs ini tiated by the Obama administration will significantly influence metropolitan de velopment and the
fiscal condition of states and cities. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which authorized the expenditure of
$787 billion over a 10-year period, are critically important to states and localities. The act allocated $79 billion to provide
fiscal assistance to states, an important initiative because the states were imposing deep budget cuts that threatened to
make the post 2007 recession worse. In addition, the legislation authorized $144 billion for infrastructure projects, which
included $32 billion for transportation projects, $10 billion for rail and mass transit, and $2 billion for airports.” School dis
tricts were slated to receive $41 billion in grants for construction projects and other activities. The legislation set aside money
for a wide array of activities to promote clean energy and conservation. Among other initiatives, the adminis tration also
announced a $1 billion program to put 5,500 more police officers on the streets.76 Organizations representing urban
interests, broadly defined, were invig orated by these programs. On March 14—18, 2009, the National League of Cities
convened its Annual Congressional City Conference, a gathering of local officials from across the country. By contrast to
previous years, the conference revolved around a wide-ranging agenda featuring discussions of new federal initiatives in
many areas, including infrastructure investment, jobs programs, green energy, and transportation. Local officials needed to
share information because they found themselves involved in administering a broader variety of new federal programs than
they had since the 1960s. However, all of these programs taken together do not add up to an urban policy, or even a
collection of policies with similar aims. Even in the heyday of urban and social welfare programs, when federal
administrators of the Great Society showered the cities with money, a coherent urban policy never ex isted. Programs were
created for different reasons and for different purposes, and to satisfy a variety of political needs and influential
constituencies. There are still a large number of programs that influence cities, suburbs, and the people that live within them,
but hardly any of these actually have “urban” aims. The stimulus package illustrates this fact perfectly: although local gov
ernments would be deeply affected, the main policy objective was to stimulate the national economy. Simply put, for a long
time “urban” has not been a category that the federal government cares very much about.