If it isn't specifically a tax on the ruling class's wealth, then it's effectively a tax on the poor. This will hurt struggling folks that rely on rideshare or delivery apps to make an income while asking for nothing from those app's capitalist owners.
The "user pays" principle Buttigieg is talking about is the right-wing doctrine that pretends the poor and wealthy are equals in the market and should each pay the same rate. On the surface this sounds "fair" to libertarians but it hides a MASSIVE power/wealth differential.
So let's talk about roads for a moment here. Buttigieg and conservative Dems want to use "mileage" as the way to set the tax but this is the wrong metric to use in many ways. The vast majority of road infrastructure spending is on *repair*, so you want to know what causes damage.
Heavy weight on the road is one of the major things that causes damage. Weight causes stress and eventually fractures where the road can crumble causing big cracks, potholes, landslides, etc. This points to heavy vehicles as being the major cause for road infrastructure spending.
And not by a little -- a lot! We might intuitively think the damage scales "linearly" with weight -- that is, a car that weighs twice as much as the average car will cause about twice as much damage and cost twice as much in repairs. But that is NOT the case.
The civil engineering formula to calculate road damage isn't linear, it varies as the 4th power of weight. (Look, a case where algebra and polynomials comes back and is important!)

What that means is: a car that weighs twice as much actually causes about 16 TIMES the damage.
So here's the kicker: big trucks -- 18 wheelers and what not -- weigh the same (at least when loaded down with products to transport) as dozens of small cars. Or according to the formula, 18 wheelers will literally do HUNDREDS OF TIMES MORE DAMAGE than anyone's small car.
The result is something like 98% of all road damage actually comes from heavy machinery and big trucks, NOT personal vehicles.

If you wanted to be "fair", then transportation companies should be paying pretty much the entire bill. But that's not what Buttigieg talks about.
Now that's just the vehicles themselves. In the age of ridesharing apps and Amazon delivery, the companies themselves don't own very many vehicles, they actually expect contractors to buy and use the vehicles for company work.
So what this does is offload the cost of those vehicles to potentially small contractors so that the large companies can avoid the costs. Not only vehicle maintenance but, if this proposal went through, mileage tax. The contractor (individuals) would be expected to pay it.
Of course, many of these contractors and drivers get paid "by the contract" an equivalent rate of very nearly minimum wage. So this tax would hit the poor workers the hardest, and let large corporations off the hook entirely despite their business making up most of the "use"!
This particularly hits hard in the absence of strong labor protections, stuff like oh I don't know, A $15 MINIMUM WAGE. Folks won't get raises, but will be expected to pay more taxes & take on more bills on behalf of their employers that keep the profits but no responsibility.
The combination of no minimum wage increase, no medicare for all, and very mild temporary aid to workers during COVID, with proposed changes like this mileage tax, show the Biden administration is overseeing more wealth transfer to the top & starting to think austerity moves.
In a few months, when they've determined COVID is more or less "done", Biden will begin announcing changes to "reel in the debt" from the relief bill.

This will be the start of bipartisan austerity that will see Biden work with Republicans to cut social programs ("spending").
We've got to push back hard on Biden and Democrats for multiple reasons. Firstly, they shouldn't be doing this to begin with -- we need much, MUCH more relief than what has been given so far. TRUMP has technically given more checks out than Dems so far! Pathetic.
But secondly, if Democrats DON'T take strong social action to curb poverty, debt, and economic failings, the anger felt by the population will grow into a "Throw the bums out!" mood by 2024 -- if not 2022! -- and Republicans will ride that wave to do EVEN MORE damage.

The way to reduce harm is to actually get strong socialist policy enacted & be seen fighting hard for it. Anything less fails & empowers the right wing.

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More from @PghGreenLeft

30 Mar
The more cops try to explain their violence away as "well that was just my training", the more it opens people's eyes to the cruelty of the system. I don't know how these individual cases will go but I think they're losing the long-term public support the more they push.
Some of my family is fairly conservative and even a few police in my family. As such some of my family was pretty adamant about how tough it is being an officer & the need to support them. Even they are having second thoughts learning what really goes on in jail & court.
When the cops start losing the support of my Republican family members, we know there's a shift going on.

Cops of course could reverse this trend by toning it down even slightly, but much like capitalism, they are compelled to take it to extremes, always.
Read 6 tweets
30 Mar
"enough to power 10 million homes for a year"

There are 350+ million people in the US. This is insufficient given the climate crisis deadline of 2030 that is quickly approaching. A #GreenNewDeal would power *every* home by renewables within 10 years.
Furthermore: the bulk of energy and carbon use is not by homes, but by *industry*. Notice that's left out of the description; Biden doesn't have much of a plan there (other than to keep up fracking).

The #GreenNewDeal would put industry on renewables energy within 10 years too.
"an anticipated $3 trillion package to prioritize green infrastructure"

"set aside $128 million to help speed up deployment of solar technologies"

$100 million for nationwide deployment of solar would be laughable if crisis wasn't so urgent. It needs to be billions per year.
Read 5 tweets
30 Mar
I spoke with my family in other states & they are miles ahead on vaccines, anyone over 18 now can get one easily. They're optimistic returning to normal this summer.

I'm starting to think PA's rush to open restaurants/schools is to hide how bad PA f*cked this up.
All last year, PA was near the bottom of lists in terms of doing proper testing for coronavirus. We're still on some sort of weird expanded phase 1A in PA without any clear idea when it will change.
Makes sense to me: if other states have better distributed vaccines and are beginning to open, PA doesn't want to be exposed for being slow and stay closed while everyone else is open. So PA state leaders decided: whatever, let's just open too! pandemic over!
Read 4 tweets
28 Mar
Lenin, Trotsky, and the Bolsheviks attacked Kronstadt after the previously-allied navy there declared independence in protest of Bolshevik authoritarian crackdowns amid famine & crisis. If you didn't pledge fealty to Lenin and the Communist Party, you were killed.
Folks like Lenin & Trotsky should not be role models for the left. Their twisted form of Marxism relied heavily on authoritarian power and crushing dissent. The anarchists in Russia were the real revolution that overthrew the czar & created democracy prior to Bolshevik takeover.
I get really nervous when I see folks say online to read more Lenin and such (seemingly sincerely, and not merely a "know your enemy" sort of read). Those aren't in general the ideas and history we should be try to emulate or learn from except in learning what NOT to do.
Read 4 tweets
27 Mar
AOC's defense of Biden & Democrats is a good example of "progressivism" without a clear class & race analysis. "It's privilege to talk about one group continuing to be exploited while another group is slightly better" isn't solidarity, it's justification of continued hierarchy.
Privilege exists, racism exists, sexism exists - all of it can be more subconscious bias than we realize. For sure we all have to put effort into rooting it out of our lives & thinking.

But often the establishment misuses the language of the left to muddy the waters & sow doubt.
I'm not an expert on these issues. I am continuing to read and learn and try to educate myself, to reduce my own biases, and to absorb a greater analysis of the huge machine that is capitalism. But this is exactly why I get very skeptical when those with power tell us to stop.
Read 7 tweets
11 Dec 20
A classic of Green Party history, the "Avocado Declaration" by Peter Camejo. Some describe themselves as "watermelons": "green on outside, red on inside", meant to evoke more of a Marxist attitude.

The Avocado Declaration states we're "green inside & out" marxists.org/archive/camejo…
The Avocado attitude comes from the idea that Green socialism is its own tendency, different from other forms of socialism. Particularly when you look at influences like Murray Bookchin's social ecology, it's easy to see a different praxis than that suggested by Marxist orgs.
Let's look at a few of the most standout parts of the Avocado Declaration and see how much applies to today still. (The original was written in early 2004).
Read 73 tweets

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