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PART I: Going Postal

September 10, 2011
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I just love the far right.  They are now basically demanding that the USPS be disbanded, and become commercial.  These are the same people who are demanding allegiance to a Constitution they claim to have read, but obviously have not.  They claim to be “constitutional conservatives” but don’t know what the US Constitution is. (Part II of Going Postal will discuss the history of the USPS).

“…So reach deep fellow taxpayer.  Time to bail out yet another failing agency which apparently never saw this revolution in communication coming, was never able to compete in the market without monopoly powers granted by government and has overspent and overpromised even as it watched it’s market share continually shrink.

Maybe it is time to, horror of horrors, consider privatizing this service?  Actually, that’s something that should have been done years ago.  But watch … we’ll still have this government run anachronism around our fiscal necks when your grandchildren are adults….”

Absolutely nothing is more revealing about the wretched ignorance and pathetic arrogance of the far right than the argument about closing the USPS.  Are conservatives and tea party types this out of touch?  It’s like the idiot conservatives who want to get rid of FEMA and let people do it on their own.  FEMA is a disaster in itself, but if you stop helping Americans in time of disaster, we lose the quality of greatness that is America.

“…EXIT QUESTION: Who really used to USPS these days? In the age of the Internet and on-line banking, does anyone really get snail mail? Mostly junk mail is sent through the US mail which in the Internet world would be considered spam….”

My word these people are arrogant!

“…What happens if the post office goes under completely? While individual, point to point, single package delivery is handled fairly cheaply and efficiently by their competitors at UPS and FedEx, (for just two examples) those outfits are not set up to deliver the millions of tons of daily paper the USPS handles for the same bulk costs. Prices will go up, though many of us might see a benefit in having less junk mail show up at our doors. In the political arena, direct mail campaigns will become more expensive, putting further pressure on limited donor resources. And all of this ignores the additional quarter million people who will join the jobless roles…”

Note to the libertarian over-lords who have a choke-hold over the gutless wonders of the GOP.  If the USPS defaults and goes under, all those millions you have paid to purchase your libertarian power is going to be out the window – defeated.

“...Some Senators are opposed to ending Saturday service, as it would only cut two percent from the agency’s budget and hurt rural customers who rely on the mail for prescription drugs and other necessities. The Obama administration says it is “working closely with the senators to find a solution,” but we all know what that means. So go send a letter to your pal in Morocco. Or a postcard to Mom. As the president of the National Association of Letter Carriers says, the postal service has “survived the telegraph, it survived the telephone, and we have to do everything we can to preserve it and adapt.”…”

If you think this is JUST about the USPS, you are sadly mistaken, living on another planet.

The USPS is in trouble.

“...I say let it tank. They already contract with UPS for delivering packages and bulk mail around the country, so what the heck do they actually do other than play middle man these days?…”

Naturally the far right is RIGHTFULLY blaming unions, wages, benefits, and pensions.

Open Secrets

Their anti-little guy mantra is getting just a bit hypocritical.  They don’t mind CEOs making up to 500 times what an their “average” employees are making.  That is good.  There is some sort of pathetic illusion that those in high positions warrant the millions upon millions they are making.  That’s fine, they have a right to make millions upon millions, but when the average guy’s wages have gone up (adjusted for inflation) by just 6% in more than a quarter century and the people writing their checks have seen their compensation go up well over (on average) 300% don’t you think something is wrong?

TPM

Sorry, but it is NOT socialist or liberal to ask these questions.  It is wise, CONSERVATIVE, and reasonable.  So, when I see the usual far right suspects hammering postal workers, their salaries, and their pensions, I’m getting a little tired of it.

The Astute Blogger

We now live in a blame the union world.  The position the USPS is in, is deplorable.  Yes, the problem is the unionized  wage and benefit scale.  But – who created the monster, pray tell? Perhaps not only is the USPS a boondoggle, but it is grossly poorly managed.  You want waste?  How many of those little CD mailers have you received, with software to create your own stamps?  How much does this cost?

“…The new proposals are quite a step for Donahoe, a former postal union member, raised in an union town. Just how far the Pittsburgh native will get with an extreme approach to extreme financial problems is uncertain. Many Republicans who have shown no love for public employee unions may welcome the chance to establish a national precedent simply by following the request of the postmaster general. The postal unions, of course, are angry about Donahoe’s proposals and will expect Democrats to be on their side….”

Someone dropped the ball here.  Maybe the problems is the fact that the USPS is an independent agency, taking advantage of the system.  It is entirely possible, if it were more strictly monitored, this wouldn’t be happening.

“…At the same time, decades of contractual promises made to unionized workers, including no-layoff clauses, are increasing the post office’s costs. Labor represents 80 percent of the agency’s expenses, compared with 53 percent at United Parcel Service and 32 percent at FedEx, its two biggest private competitors. Postal workers also receive more generous health benefits than most other federal employees.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the agency’s predicament on Tuesday. So far, feuding Democrats and Republicans in Congress, still smarting from the brawl over the federal debt ceiling, have failed to agree on any solutions. It doesn’t help that many of the options for saving the postal service are politically unpalatable.

“The situation is dire,” said Thomas R. Carper, the Delaware Democrat who is chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the postal service. “If we do nothing, if we don’t react in a smart, appropriate way, the postal service could literally close later this year. That’s not the kind of development we need to inject into a weak, uneven economic recovery.”

Missing the $5.5 billion payment due on Sept. 30, intended to finance retirees’ future health care, won’t cause immediate disaster. But sometime early next year, the agency will run out of money to pay its employees and gas up its trucks, officials warn, forcing it to stop delivering the roughly three billion pieces of mail it handles weekly….”

I am loath to mention this, because I may be branded “liberal” but unions did not come into existence in a vacuum.  It takes two parties to negotiate a union contract.

“…The end of US postal service — of cavernous, anonymous post offices in large cities — may not have the impact it will in small, rural, and deeply Republican towns.  Here, for example, the Post Office offers its parking lots for trailers are during military blood bank drives, where hot coffee and homemade cookies are available free during the winter holidays, and where contributions for the local food bank are collected.  The PO is a place where everyone knows everyone and people who work in the post office are acknowledged to be among the hardest working and most reliable of all of us.

This may become the fat in the fire for Republicans.  Imagine going into an election with the death of  your local post office on your record….”

NYTimes

AJ Strata wrote:

StrataSphere

Strata is right in many ways.  The USPS needs to become commercial, privatized.  BUT the arrogance I am seeing on the right is arrogance and ignorance.  If they allow the USPS to default and go out of business, the Republican party is doomed.

There are several other things at work here.  We will discuss it in Part III of Going Postal

 

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