Monday, February 11, 2013

The Republican Wrecking Ball for Postal Change.

It's all about tearing government apart, seeing what happens next, and then doing nothing to help fixing what they broke. That's how Republicans now govern, or even better, don't govern. But they love freeloading off the taxpayers.

Destroying the post office, one of the weirdest targets, is the best example yet. One big problem: Companies come and go, how'd that work for delivering mail? Loved this analysis by Dave Johnson, from Campaign for America's Future (edited here):
The story of the intentional destruction of the U.S. Postal Service is one more piece of the story of crisis-after-crisis, all manufactured to advance the strategic dismantling of our government and handing over the pieces to billionaires.

Republicans don’t talk about governing, they talk about killing government, and when they get power they don’t govern, they destroy government.

The Postal Service is a public service for We, the People, not a business. The Service is hamstrung by people who pretend it is supposed to compete and then won’t let it.They won’t help with taxpayer dollars and say it has to compete in the marketplace (again: the Department of Defense is not required to break even.) Then they give it rules that no private company could survive. Then when it gets into trouble, say that government doesn't work, start laying people off, selling off the public assets, and saying it has to be “privatized” (so all the gains will go to a few already-wealthy people instead of to the public).

The postal service “crisis” is just one more instance of the ongoing pattern of government by lies, hostage-taking and manufactured crises. This is one more assault on a government service.

Dean Baker at CEPR, “Killing the Messenger: The Downsizing and Death of the Postal Service”:

Congress also has to be prepared to allow the Postal Service to win. About a decade ago, the Postal Service had an extremely effective ad campaign highlighting the fact that its express mail service was just a fraction of the price charged for overnight delivery by UPS and FedEx. The two companies actually went to court to try to stop the ad campaign. When the court told them to get lost, they went to Congress. Their friends in Congress then leaned on the Postal Service and got it to end the ads.
Today Cato employees write about “freeing the mail from the government’s grip” and ” getting the government out of the mail business.” (from Cato’s “Stamp Out the Postal Service.”)

While part of Cato’s motivation for privatizing the Postal Service is their efforts to transfer all public assets to private hands, Their website, Privatizing the U.S. Postal Service, explains their reasoning,

The USPS is in deep financial trouble as a result of declining mail volume, bloated operating expenses, a costly and inflexible unionized workforce, and constant congressional meddling. At the same time, electronic communications and other technological advances are making physical mail delivery less relevant. America’s postal system needs a radical overhaul. This essay … concludes that taxpayers, consumers, and the broader economy would stand to gain with reforms to privatize the USPS and open U.S. mail delivery up to competition.

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