The transportation Secretary pitched his idea to the American people, and it’s not good.
Of all the candidates Biden could have picked as his Transportation Secretary, for the life of me I will never understand why he chose former South Bend Mayor and Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg. Of course, positions like this do oftentimes go to someone who the party machine will want to elevate. Desperate to fend off the left wing of the party for as long as possible, it makes perfect sense that Joe Biden would want to chose someone who the Democratic elite envision as the future they would prefer for the party. It’s also worth noting the irrefutable fact that Pete Buttigieg and Barack Obama coordinated after his exit from the primary race in an effort to sink Bernie Sanders and elevate Joe Biden. Naturally, they would find something for him.
That said, the idea of Buttigieg as Transportation Secretary has definitely raised eyebrows considering he has little to no experience that would make this position suitable for him, and his big, bold idea for tackling the problem of America’s outdated and crumbling infrastructure has only made that even more clear.
During a recent interview where Secretary Buttigieg intended to pitch his idea to the American people, he said that he feels a mileage tax shows “a lot of promise”, and could be a way to fund an infrastructure overhaul.
Unfortunately this is exactly what one could expect from the neoliberal Democratic establishment. I’m genuinely not sure how the supposedly brilliant, bold, future of the Democratic Party could come up with a more backwards, intentionally regressive, destined-to-be-deeply-unpopular idea.
As someone who lives in the most rural part of a state with one of the highest gas taxes in the entire country, there is absolutely nothing about this idea that appeals to me or I’m sure anyone else in my community regardless of what side of the political spectrum they find themselves on. Many of the people where I live drive half an hour or more to work, close to thirty miles each way. Punishing someone even further because they have no choice but to use a car in order get a job to survive is a surefire way to ensure no one in this area ever elects a Democrat again, and that won’t just be the case where I am from.
Considering he is from the Midwest, it’s incredible to me that Buttigieg didn’t think about how this would affect rural communities all across his own home state of Indiana and the surrounding states. Not to mention that the idea of the government keeping track of how much mileage is on our cars isn’t going to play well. At all. A plan like this is going to do nothing but instill further disdain and mistrust in the government, and it’s ability to tackle the nation’s issues.
The answer, of course, is simple, but one that Buttigieg as a tool of the corporate democratic establishment is not going to even bother putting on the table in any meaningful way.
Raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations.
Instead of punishing people who live in rural communities with little access to public transportation, why not raise taxes for companies like Amazon, UPS, or FedEx? Why not raise taxes on America’s wealthy like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, or the current postmaster general Lois DeJoy? Why not invest in these rural communities, and instead of taxing them further for a necessity they have in order to get from place to place, ensure there is access to efficient public transportation? Imagine the jobs and the revenue that would be generated by a publicly owned high speed rail crisscrossing the nation, or better investment in bus systems as well?
If the best that Buttigieg can come up with is an intentionally regressive tax that punishes the most rural communities in the country as opposed to actually investing in them, then count me out.