Opportunity Zones: Can a tax break for rich people really help poor people?

(Washington Post, 1.24.19)


Progressive economists, myself included, have been highly critical of the 2017 tax law, as it will surely deepen income inequality and starve the Treasury of needed revenue. But there is a measure in the law that has the potential, if well implemented — a big “if” — to actually help low-income people. I’m talking about Opportunity Zones.

There’s no evidence that simply giving rich people more after-tax income helps those with fewer means. If this new idea works, it’s because it incentivizes those with capital gains to reinvest their returns in places starved for capital investment.