Live the dream

One of the worst excesses in the Trump tax cuts of 2017 was the tax holiday for investments in "opportunity zones." This was portrayed as a way to lift up the "distressed" areas of the country and their inhabitants, but a lot, if not most, of the tax subsidies are going to nothing of that kind. 

And you'll never know exactly to whom the goodies went – that information is top secret. It's one of the tricks of giving out money through the tax system.

Now, Portland being a hotbed for diverting scarce tax dollars to private developer weasels, you just knew we'd wind up as a poster child for the hypocrisy of this thing. Sure enough, the latest New York Times essay on the scams points out:

Half the money went to the best-off 1 percent of zones. That’s hardly surprising. With so many zones to choose from, much of the money flowed to those that were already rising or those that governors chose foolishly. Some 25 percent of New York State’s opportunity zones are in booming Brooklyn. The city government in Austin, Texas, one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the nation, asked for four opportunity zones. The governor allotted it 21.

Opportunity zone money is funding the revival of downtown Erie, Pa., and affordable housing in South Los Angeles, but a lot more of it is going to projects like a Ritz-Carlton hotel and condo complex in downtown Portland, Ore., and a Virgin Hotel in New Orleans. Self-storage facilities, which create hardly any jobs, are sprouting with opportunity zone money. So is luxury student housing in university towns, which are eligible only because college kids show up as poor in census tallies.

When it comes to giving tax handouts to the rich, Portland simply will not be left out.


  1. I was wondering what was up with the self-storage 'back-end pawnshaps minus federal regulation' business models sprouting up as a cancer everywhere as giant dark tombs / canyons / billboards on main arterial streets.

    I didn't see the fed subsidy angle, just usual 'build bunkers' & build storage units on main arterial streets local developer weasel investment scam & sleaze.

    They're easy to approve from an eviction/noise/tenants rights (LOL)/quality of life & foot traffic angle?

    Too hard to say no, but yea...uh, people could just have corner duplexes with sufficient parking/full basements/vault garages where needed and nice big porches and balconies, mixed use/modern round-abouts to keep speeds reasonable & alley easements with some ADUs or socially acceptable trailers/campers/containers stacked, but of course those would be tax free for existing residents, could be deconstructed & moved in a plebiscite exodus if city terms became too unreasonable or might god forbid do anything to help anybody without financial middle man markup, be vaguely maintainable for *some* autonomy with some varied green space/gardens.

    Just giant concrete storage bunkers to go with the living bunkers with us all being encouraged to buy more stuff and store it as perceived value & subsidize it / dig our own graves with existing taxes....nice.

  2. What day/month is Tax Holiday? I want to make sure I get out my party hat for Billionaires day.


Post a Comment

The platform used for this blog is awfully wonky when it comes to comments. It may work for you, it may not. It's a Google thing, and beyond my control. Apologies if you can't get through. You can email me a comment at, and if it's appropriate, I can post it here for you.