He’s doing all this right out in the open, so according to The Rules it can’t really be a scandal, since there’s nothing to uncover:
Having rearranged his criminal justice stance from bloodthirsty advocate of a militarized race war to kindly liberal, Trump then pivoted to the second pillar of his appeal to black voters: “Opportunity Zones,” presenting this as his successful plan to boost employment for African-Americans.
Opportunity Zones are in fact a corrupt scam to enrich Trump’s cronies. The provision, added to his 2018 tax cut, sounds appealing on the surface. It gives a capital gains tax cut to developers who build new projects in poor urban areas. The problem is that, even conceptually, the incentive is not going to drive investment in the poorest areas. Developers will look for the least-poor blocks that qualify for the tax cut and build there. In practice, the designation of which areas get the tax credit has been hopelessly (and predictably) abused, so that well-connected builders can go into already-gentrifying neighborhoods and get lucrative tax breaks for projects they wanted to build anyway, including Jaguar dealerships, pet spas, and other luxury playgrounds for the rich.
This program is, or should be, a massive scandal. The New York Times has detailed extensively how it is working across the country, and virtually every example consists of dumping windfall benefits that primarily or exclusively help rich people. The most damning quote in the damning stories is from Aaron T. Seybert, the social-investment officer at the Kresge Foundation, who supported the proposal. “Capital is going to flow to the lowest-risk, highest-return environment,” he said, “Perhaps 95 percent of this is doing no good for people we care about.” This is a supporter of the bill!
Among the insiders who have cashed in on the scam, one in particular stands out: Jared Kushner. Coincidentally, the Associated Press reports today that the president’s son-in-law has cashed in his stock in a company that invested heavily in “Opportunity Zones.” Kushner’s share rose from $5 million to $25 million. That is the sort of rate of return that is possible when you’re either a business genius, or the son-in-law and adviser to a President who can design special laws to funnel tax money into your pockets.
Trump is also going to turn back to Burisma at some point. It is worth noting that, while he is accusing Biden of taking action to help his son’s Ukrainian company that Biden did nothing to help, Trump actually did use his office to enrich his own son-in-law. Not only is he failing to hide this scandal, he is presenting it as a favor for black America!
America’s Number One Failson is doing very well for himself at the center of Stupid Watergate, as are the rest of this band of sinverguenzas. They should all be dealt with ruthlessly by the Biden administration, and in particular by his Attorney General, who should be — what’s that word? — a cop.
. . . Just now:
From Kevin in comments:
Note that Secret Service agents are exempt from federal limits on hotel spending, and that Mar-a-Lago charged them twice as much as regular government employees for staying the same night.
Every goddamned day there’s something else that would have been a bombshell story in any previous administration. But because the Republicans are now a cult, no Republican politician or voter cares at all about any of this.