American banks are required by law to lend a portion of their money to low income neighbors each year, but what if they could lend that money to super-rich businesses that just happen to be located in low income neighborhoods?
Bloomberg reports that Trump regime regulators have begun the process and opened up public comments on a rule change that will allow banks to count loans to NFL stadiums as loans to the poor if the stadium is located in one of the so-called "opportunity zones" created by the GOP's tax cuts.
That scenario might seem oddly specific, but it’s what two regulators appointed by President Donald Trump said last week they may allow as they undertake the most significant rewrite of the Community Reinvestment Act in a quarter-century. The agencies drafted a long list hypothetical ways banks could seek to meet their obligations, including this sentence on page 100 of their proposal:
“Investment in a qualified opportunity fund, established to finance improvements to an athletic stadium in an opportunity zone that is also an LMI census tract.” (LMI refers to low- or moderate-income.)
There are well over a dozen NFL venues nestled in so-called opportunity zones.
As you may recall, the GOP's $1.5 trillion tax cut bill created the "opportunity zone" as a way for businesses to qualify for a significant tax break.
At face value, the idea is that businesses investing in low income neighborhoods will create "opportunity" for the neighborhood's residents and increase their standard of living, but that hasn't happened.
In empirical reality, businesses and wealthy investors have used the opportunity zone tax breaks to develop luxury properties in low income neighborhoods; fueling gentrification and pushing the neighborhood's residents out.
Rewriting the rules so that professional sports stadiums owned by some of the richest people in the world will qualify for tax breaks intended for poor people is just the apex or epitome of this policy which has already widened the gap between rich and poor.
Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner pushed for the inclusion of opportunity zones in the GOP's 2017 tax cuts and that make sense given that he is, in fact, a slum lord who benefits from it.
I feel confident in saying that a Democratic administration would never even consider this.