It seems the Democrats are just daring the Republican Party to start taking outreach to black voters seriously. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) recently announced that House Democrats are attempting to sabotage a program designed to revitalize black neighborhoods across the country.
Scott called out Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) for introducing legislation that would severely limit a new program designed to promote investment in inner-city communities. Wait, aren’t the Democrats supposed to be the party that cares about minorities?
Democrats Attacking Opportunity Zones
Scott recently released a statement accusing two Democratic lawmakers of attempting to “wreck” opportunity zones by introducing legislation designed to limit the reach of the program. The Opportunity Zones initiative is a community investment tool established in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to promote investments in low-income urban and rural communities. Scott was a key champion in getting the program into the bill with the support of President Donald Trump.
Opportunity Zones allow companies and investors to reinvest unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Funds. Those who invest in designated communities can defer capital gains taxes for up to 10 years. The program also provides other incentives for those who continue to put money into the community.
In a statement, Scott said:
“This is the second misguided attempt by Congressional Democrats in the last two weeks to wreck the Opportunity Zone initiative under the guise of ‘improvement.’ Make no mistake, Congressman Clyburn’s legislation, which is very similar to a bill introduced by Senator Wyden in the Senate last week, will needlessly punish low-income communities who are hoping to use Opportunity Zones to transform areas left behind.”
Scott continued, arguing that an estimated $63 billion are expected to “be utilized in zones across the country; with a poverty rate averaging 29 percent in the 8,700 zones across the nation.” The senator then stated that “the potential these dollars hold for these communities is clear in terms of jobs, technology, infrastructure and so many other possible uses.”
Scott explained the consequences of the two bills that the Democrats are proposing:
“From our initial research, we can already tell these two bills would at the very least sunset:
- Multiple zones with a child poverty rate above 30 percent
- Multiple zones with general poverty rates above 25 percent, some where the poverty rate is double their statewide average
- At least one zone with a senior poverty rate above 40 percent
- A zone where African-Americans comprise 20 percent of the community and have median household income of $16,000 a year.”
The senator’s statement explained the facts: The legislation that Clyburn and Wyden propose would impede the benefits that could be reaped by the residents of these neighborhoods. On Twitter, Scott was more direct, lambasting the two lawmakers for attempting to “systematically destroy” the Opportunity Zones initiative. But he didn’t stop there. He wrote: “Y’all know me and I’m going to be completely frank here – they’re only doing this because it has the support of @realDonaldTrump.”
No More Love for Blacks?
If you want yet another argument demonstrating that the Democrats don’t care about black Americans, look no further than their efforts to sabotage the Opportunity Zones initiative. For a party that claims to care about the needs of minorities, the Democrats seem oddly determined to sabotage a program specifically designed to revitalize black communities.
Scott’s assertion could be accurate. It’s not hard to imagine that Democratic officials don’t love black Americans as much as they hate the president. But the fact of the matter is the motivation behind their actions probably has more to do with political expediency than pettiness.
If the Opportunity Zones initiative improves life in underperforming neighborhoods, it will demonstrate that conservative principles work. Moreover, it would be a powerful indicator that the Trump administration and the GOP can implement policies that create better economic conditions for black Americans and other minorities. The Democrats can’t have that, can they?
But that isn’t all. If programs such as these allow black Americans to experience greater economic prosperity, they will become less dependent on the government and, by extension, the Democratic Party. Of course, these victories will be meaningless if the Republican Party continues to neglect black voters. If anything, the fact that Democrats are trying to interfere with the Opportunity Zones initiative might reveal an important truth to the GOP: Not only does the program have a decent chance at succeeding, it might be another indicator that the Republicans can make serious inroads with black voters.
Read more from Jeff Charles.