New York Magazine reporter Jonathan Chait issued a stunning fact-check on one of President Donald Trump's greatest lies about his efforts for the Black community.
Trump's interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity made news for his bizarre claims about the coronavirus having a lot lower mortality rate than what the World Health Organization is reporting (3.4 percent).
In his Thursday report, Chait cited the piece of Trump's interview that got very little attention: the realization that he will likely face off against former Vice President Joe Biden in the general election. His first instinct was to bash Biden for his appeal to the Black community.
https://t.co/DlGXOvEjVq— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1583381028.0
"This was a Biden-Obama law that was — you know this was — and obviously it was, uh, it was really a Hillary, this was a Bill Clinton and a Hillary — and it was, I guess, Biden was a Senator then and pushing it hard," Trump said, struggling to get the facts straight on the crime bill passed in the 1990s. "Obama was, somebody said he was talking about it but he had to be pretty young if that was the case."
In fact, it would be three years after the crime bill was passed that former President Barack Obama was inaugurated as a state senator to Illinois.
"It is typical of Trump that he stacks one mind-boggling lie atop another," wrote Chait. "The man who built a career as a racist crime-fearmonger, calling for the execution of innocent teens in New York, who built his nominating speech around promises to unleash law enforcement in response to a phantasmal urban crime wave, who has urged police to abuse criminal suspects, and who continues to call for stopping the drug trade through draconian sentencing — is somehow now running as a criminal-justice reformer."
But that lie is only a cover for what Trump is really hiding and hoping Black America doesn't hear about: "Opportunity Zones."
Chait described them as a "corrupt scam to enrich Trump’s cronies."
It was a provision added in the Republican's 2018 tax bill that gives a capital gains tax cut to anyone who develops new projects in poor urban areas.
"The problem is that, even conceptually, the incentive is not going to drive investment in the poorest areas," wrote Chait. "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."
He explained that the program should be a "massive scandal," and reports from large national papers have explained how it works. "Virtually every example consists of dumping windfall benefits that primarily or exclusively help rich people."
But thus far, it hasn't made it into Biden's attacks or even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who makes fighting these kinds of inequalities a cornerstone of his campaign.