Believe it or not the United States government considers Uber “mass transit.” Americans can use federal tax credits to pay for a ridesharing service called UberPool.
Basically, UberPool lets you share your Uber ride with others. Yet it is considered “mass transit” by the Internal Revenue Service or IRS; Uncle Sam’s tax collector, Business Insider reported. That means millennial yuppies can write their ride home from the bar off on their federal income taxes.
To make matters worse they can get a federal tax credit to pay for their UberPool ride, Business Insider writer Dan Bobkoff noted. The same yuppies would not be able to use a tax credit to pay for a taxi.
Nor can American workers write the cost of driving to work or parking off from their taxes. The IRS does not consider commuting deductible but it does consider mass transit deductible. Strangely enough carpooling is not tax deductible in the US; unless the owner of the car signs up for Uber and joins Uber pool.
The idea behind the tax deduction was to make mass transit competitive with driving in American cities. Residents of cities like New York and Denver know that congestion is already doing that. In Denver, traffic is now so bad light rail is often faster than the freeway. Denver’s freeways are so congested; many commuters drive to the light rail station and park their cars to take the train.
Everything that is wrong with American Taxes and Transportation
This deduction is an example of everything that is wrong with the U.S. income tax system. It provides a break to sophisticated upper-income types; who have plenty of extra cash, at the expense of the working class.
The factory worker or waitress cannot write off repairs on the broken-down 20-year old Toyota Corolla, she uses to get to work. The graphic artist or programmer can write off the van that hauls him to the Yankees game.
The UberPool deduction proves that the income tax system has become a sort of class warfare; designed to boost specific segments of the population, while keeping everybody else down. One has to wonder how long average Americans will tolerate this dismal state of affairs.
“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class; the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning,” Warren Buffett.
The UberPool deduction also demonstrates everything that is wrong with America’s transportation system. Instead of investing in next-generation technologies like the Hyperloop; which might improve the lives of all Americans, tax dollars and government resources are diverted to questionable experiments like UberPool.
It is little wonder that America’s highways and rail systems are in sorry shape. The nation is investing its resources in everything but real “mass transit.”