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

(Washington Post, 1.24.19)

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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.