This is the Insurgent Radio Kiosk for Friday, December 13th
Years ago, a Texas legislator who was known to be bribable explained his ethical framework as opportunistic: “I seen my chances, and I took ‘em,” he said.
Likewise, such hustlers as Dan Gilbert (the billionaire founder of Quicken Loans), Michael Milken (the disgraced Wall Street finagler), and Stephen Ross (the owner of the Miami Dolphins) have seen opportunistic chances in Donald Trump’s program of “Opportunity Zone” tax breaks – and grabbed them. The new law was trumpeted as a channel for funneling new investments into poor communities, but billionaires have jumped on it like chickens on a cricket, devouring the poor people’s tax subsidy to underwrite their own luxury projects.
Consider Kevin Plank’s scam in Baltimore. The billionaire owner of the sports apparel outfit named Under Armour, he wanted to use the subsidy for an upscale project called Port Covington. But, alas, Plank’s section of land was not in a low-income zone, so it didn’t qualify. But – Eureka! – the billionaire found a loophole: If a piece of property was within an old “empowerment zone,” it could get the subsidy. Alas again, though, Port Covington was not inside the qualifying zone, but next to it. However, an old mapping mistake showed that a tiny slice of Plank’s property line ran under a highway overpass, just inside the zone. Based on the map’s error, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Trump’s Treasury Department quickly certified every inch of the Port Covington tract as an Opportunity Zone eligible for the full poverty subsidy.
And that’s how corporate and political elites conspire to rig the system, blatantly ripping off poverty money to make the rich richer and increase inequality in America.
Sen. Ron Wyden has introduced an “Opportunity Zone Reform Act” to stop this immoral scam. For more information go to Finance.Senate.gov/.
“A Trump Tax Break To Help The Poor Went To a Rich GOP Donor’s Superyacht Marina,” https://www.propublica.org/article/superyacht-marina-west-palm-beach-opportunity-zone-trump-tax-break-to-help-the-poor-went-to-a-rich-gop-donor?utm_source=pardot&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailynewslette, November 14, 2019.
“Billionaires Keep Benefiting From a Tax Break to Help the Poor. Now, Congress Wants to Investigate.” https://www.propublica.org/article/billionaires-keep-benefiting-from-a-tax-break-to-help-the-poor-now-congress-wants-to-investigate?utm_source=pardot&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=majorinvestigations
November 8, 2019.
“One Trump Tax Cut Was Meant to Help the Poor. A Billionaire Ended Up Winning Big.” https://www.propublica.org/article/trump-inc-podcast-one-trump-tax-cut-meant-to-help-the-poor-a-billionaire-ended-up-winning-big
Hightower’s commentaries are brought to you by The Hightower Lowdown, the monthly newsletter with Hightower’s take on what Wall Street and Washington are up to. For information, visit hightowerlowdown.org.
It’s This Weekend’s Action Calendar!
Volunteer for an ecological restoration work party at the UW Arboretum on Saturday, December 14th from 9 a.m. to noon. Learn about prairies and savannas. Tools and training provided. Meet at the Arboretum Visitor Center, 1207 Seminole Highway. Phone 265-5214 for information.
A free family cooking class with Chef Lily Kilroy will be offered on Saturday, December 14th from 3 to 4:15 p.m. at the Meadowridge Library, 5726 Raymond Road. It will be a hands-on class with participants whipping up Chef Lily’s favorite fun recipes. Pre-registration is required. Phone 288-6160 today to reserve a spot.
Are you a local news junkie? Put it to good use by joining the WORT news team as a reporter. WORT’s 6 p.m. news broadcast needs volunteers to report stories of local interest. No journalism experience needed. WORT will provide training. The ideal candidate will be open-minded, curious, meticulous and a bulldog about nailing the facts. Being comfortable working on deadline is also critical. Shifts are available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from approximately 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call the station at 256-2001 and ask for Interim News Director Chali (SHAH-lee) Pittman.
The Insurgent Radio Kiosk is a four minute pre-recorded segment featuring a commentary and a calendar of daily events. Events must be low cost or non-profit and of interest to people in and around the WORT listening area. Please submit announcements at least ten days before the event at wortfm.org/kiosk/announcements.
The Kiosk is available online at wortfm.org/kiosk.
This has been the Insurgent Radio Kiosk heard weekdays at 5:00, 6:30 and 9:00 AM and at 2:00 PM. With Engineer Alida, I am Engineer Alida. Submit announcements at least ten days in advance of the event at wortfm.org/kiosk/announcements.