A letter I’ve submitted to our local newspaper, plus a complementary cartoon I made.
“The butler, in the library, with the lead pipe!” Sound familiar?
Most of us remember playing the game Clue. That game is about solving a crime that has already occurred. I’m going to reverse that and urge you to thwart a crime that’s still in progress: destruction of the USPS.
Who’s behind the crime? Ultimately, the wealthy puppeteers who pull politicians’ strings, either directly through lobbying and campaign “contributions,” or indirectly through organizations like ALEC and “dark money” propaganda. (ALEC is The American Legislative Exchange Council. Look it up!)
What’s their motivation? Partly it’s ideology, of course, to make government small enough that Grover Norquist can drown it in his bathtub. And their motivation is also to destroy one of our nation’s strongest remaining unions. And to remove a powerful competitor so as to benefit private carriers.
Who’s holding the weapon that — unless the American public assert themselves — will eventually prove fatal to the USPS? Congresspersons, mostly Republican congresspersons.
Where’s the crime occurring? In board rooms, in retreats where the 1% gather at luxury resorts for pep talks and planning, in congressional cloak rooms and offices, and in the writing and broadcasting of the cloistered “Beltway” media.
What’s the weapon? Legislation. For example, Congress has forced the USPS to fund the retirement benefits of its employees for 75 years in advance. They’ve also forced the postal service to break even every year–unlike any other government agency. And remember. The USPS is self-supporting. They receive no subsidy from U.S. tax payers. Zero. Nada.
Congress requires the agency to provide service to every corner of our nation, no matter how remote (and consequently unprofitable), while at the same time refusing them the authority to control their own rates or to diversify and add new services.
Think about this. Right now you can send a letter from Key West to Wasillla for just 46 cents. If you’re willing to pay more, you can also send a letter via FedEx or UPS. But you know what? If you send that letter to a remote area, then it’ll be delivered by the USPS!
The USPS isn’t being destroyed by email or the internet. It isn’t being destroyed by its inability to compete. (It’s not allowed to compete on equal terms.) It’s not being destroyed by obsolescence or failure to innovate. It’s being destroyed, deliberately, by congressional ideologues and pawns of the 1%.