Rand Paul is itching to be the new Jack Kemp of the Republican Party. Paul visited West Louisville today, and he held a roundtable on his and Mitch McConnell's proposal to create "Economic Freedom Zones" in depressed areas of Kentucky. Basically, Economic Freedom Zones are areas were local corporate and capital gains taxes are cut to supposedly create jobs. Seeing as West Louisville is home to many African Americans, the jobs created, in theory, would go to the locals. So this "new" idea is a twofer for Rand Paul: creating jobs and helping African Americans obtain a leg up on the economic ladder.
Too bad we have already tried Paul's economic agenda, and it has not worked.
Jack Kemp proposed "Enterprise Zones" before for economically depressed areas, particularly for inner city neighborhoods. Nothing ever really came of it because Republicans were never really serious about providing incentives for businesses to establish themselves in poor inner city areas. Republicans are all for cutting corporate and capital gains taxes, but not for inner city neighborhoods.
And there is plenty of data that demonstrates that businesses do not base job creation on taxes. In fact, we did the whole cutting corporate taxes and on capital gains, and there is no linkage with job creation. Kentucky is still doing it today.
The last estimate in 2012 was that Kentucky provided 1.4 billion dollars in business incentives. The per capita amount of incentives are $324 dollars or fifteen cents of every dollar of the state budget. Many of the recipients of this state largesse are big corporations.
Despite all this money thrown at businesses, Kentucky has managed to lose jobs. According to Rand Paul, he wants to throw another 650 million dollars over ten years to Kentucky businesses with a corporate tax rate of only 5 percent in West Louisville. Meanwhile, Paul is dead set against raising the minimum wage because it will supposedly hurt minorities and kids.
So something like a minimum wage increase that would directly benefit everyone, including African Americans, is a no no, but giving away more money to businesses that have not created jobs is a good thing.
Plus, this is an obvious cynical ploy on Paul's part to show moderate white voters he is not such a bad guy on issues of race and poverty. African Americans in Kentucky know that Paul trashed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, hired the Southern Avenger, and talked glowingly about Cliven Bundy. Also, Paul is his father's son.
However, none of this will stop Rand Paul in his quest to be the nominee in 2016. Paul has shown a remarkable ability to talk out of both sides of his mouth, but he might want to remember one thing. Jack Kemp never was the Republican Party nominee for President.