Rand Paul Is Running For President

"Trillion-dollar government stimulus packages have only widened the income gap. Politically connected cronies get taxpayer dollars by the hundreds of millions, and poor families across America continue to suffer. I have a different vision, an ambitious vision, a vision that will offer opportunity to all Americans, especially those who have been left behind. My plan includes economic freedom zones to allow impoverished areas like Detroit, West Louisville, Eastern Kentucky to prosper by leaving more money in the pockets of the people who live there. Can you imagine what a billion-dollar stimulus could do for Detroit or for Appalachia?"

On Tuesday, April 7, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky
Sources: Time, C-Span 

The context: Paul delivered his announcement standing behind a podium and in front of a banner that both read "Defeat the Washington Machine. Unleash the American Dream." He introduced the proposal for economic freedom zones within a discussion -- with anecdotes about the value and personal reward of work -- of the effects of government regulation and politics. 

Creating policies specific to certain areas is common at the local, state, and federal levels. For federal examples, see an interactive map of Empowerment Zones, Enterprise Zones and Communities, and Renewal Communities and a list and map of Free Trade Zones by state. 

Several of Paul's policy proposals center around poverty, taxation, and economic opportunity. Given the idea of creating new place-based categories for economic policy, we asked

How different are the poverty levels of Detroit, West Louisville, and Eastern Kentucky, than other parts of the country? Is the lack of prosperity a discrete problem in specific locations or a more widespread condition?