‘Promise Zones’ are really ‘Political Payoff Zones’

Last Thursday, President Obama issued an order to begin creating “Promise Zones” in his latest big government promise made in last year’s State of the Union Address.

The idea is to designate troubled neighborhoods in five cities and areas as “Promise Zones,” eligible for favorable tax breaks and other forms of assistance designed to create jobs and improve education, housing and public safety.

The first five experimental “Promise Zones” are located in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, according to a White House statement.

The federal government will cooperate with local governments and businesses to provide tax incentives and grants to help alleviate poverty. The entire idea fits into Obama’s “share the wealth” presidency.

Many find the idea counter-productive to the now functioning “Enterprise Zones” created by former President Ronald Reagan. Only the words are different.

President Obama promised this “Promise Zone” idea last year in his State of the Union Address saying he planned “to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet. We’ll work with local leaders to target resources at public safety, and education, and housing.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was quick to praise the idea without saying that one of the zones is in his backyard, Eastern Kentucky.

“I wrote a letter last year supporting this designation because this region has suffered enormous economic hardship over the last several years. Thousands of jobs have been lost and economic opportunity is extremely limited, particularly because of this administration’s hostile policies toward the coal industry,” McConnell said in a prepared statement.

The “Promise Zone” seem to be political gifts to political friend and foe alike.

The White House has claimed they’re focusing on “income inequality” leading up to the 2014 elections. That includes San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro who has received a “gift.” Billions in taxpayer money so Obama can play the electoral numbers for the 2016 election (Hillary must have thanked him).

“Promise Zones,” according to Obama’s mindset of taxpayer dollars, is the “new way of doing business.” Unfortunately, according to the many critics of this time-worn plan, applying federal subsidies has already proven disastrous in fiascos such as Solyndra ($500 million).

The President chooses areas where he wants to invest taxpayer money, based on “certain agendas” he likes (political payback).

Only five areas in the country will be receiving the designation of Promise Zone [Slush Fund]. What the White House didn’t say is “Promise Zones” are relegated to just five areas of the country.

Everyone else (taxpayers) will be foot the bill for Obama’s Promise Zones, while dealing with the tax reality in their own regions not covered.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. He has written more than 3500 national political and foreign affairs columns. His BS in journalism from the University of Oregon, with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing.


Dwight has 30-years in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. His first book, “Redistribution of Common Sense – Selective Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014,” was published in July, 2014. “The Game Changer – America’s Most Stunning Presidential Election in History,” was published in April 2017.


Dwight is a native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.