HUBZones: Republican Central Planning

Chris EdwardsOne of the more ill-advised federal activities is trying to micromanage local economies with tax and spending programs. Democrats tend to favor subsidies on things such as public housing and community development, while Republicans often support both spending programs and narrow tax breaks.The Republican Opportunity Zone program enacted in 2017 used capital gains tax rules to expand federal control over local economies. The program divided the nation between winner and loser investment zones, as I discusshere.Another GOP micromanagement scheme is HUBZones, which are the subject of anewWashington Post investigation. Businesses in these zones receive preferences in federal procurement. Reporter John Harden notes, “The HUBZone program was the brainchild of now-retired senator Kit Bond (R-Mo.), who chaired the Senate Small Business Committee from 1995 to 2001.”With HUBZones, federal politicians have Balkanized the nation, asshown on this map. As if we don ’t have enough divisions in this country already, the politicians keep adding more. They’ve done the same with O Zones, as shownhere. As a believer in equal justice under law, I find this sort of top-down and purposeful division to be a disgrace.ThePost ’sprevious piece on HUBZones found, “A federal program created to boost small companies in disadvantaged areas has funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into some of Washington ’s most affluent areas.” Nonetheless, K...
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