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Sat Feb 9, 2013, 07:45 PM

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Will Congress Save the Post Office?


from The Nation:



This Week: Will Congress Save the Post Office?
Katrina vanden Heuvel on February 9, 2013 - 10:28 AM ET


While many media outlets have attributed the financial struggles of the United States Postal Service to inefficiency and a decline in mail volume in the digital age, The Nation has regularly reported on the real factors behind the USPS‘s decision to eliminate Saturday mail delivery—and why it’s bad for workers and bad for our democracy.

Washington correspondent John Nichols has covered the Postal Service since well before the default this past summer, writing how Congress manufactured a crisis where one didn’t exist. “In 2006, a Republican Congress—acting at the behest of the Bush-Cheney administration—enacted a law that required the postal service to ‘pre-fund’ retiree health benefits seventy-five years into the future,” writes Nichols. “No major private-sector corporation or public-sector agency could do that. It’s an untenable demand.”

This week Nichols called the postal cuts “austerity on steroids,” explaining why the decision to cut service should be seen as equivalent to a deep cut to Social Security. “The damage associated with the curtailing of Saturday delivery will be most severe in rural areas and inner cities, where small businesses and working families rely on post offices that are already targeted for shuttering,” he writes. “It will, as well, be particularly harmful to the elderly, the disabled and others who rely on regular delivery and the human connection provided by letter carriers and rural delivery drivers.” .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thenation.com/blog/172779/week-will-congress-save-post-office



8 replies, 900 views

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Reply Katrina vanden Heuvel: Will Congress Save the Post Office? (Original post)
marmar Feb 2013 OP
mother earth Feb 2013 #1
libtodeath Feb 2013 #2
2naSalit Feb 2013 #3
flamingdem Feb 2013 #4
Auntie Bush Feb 2013 #5
customerserviceguy Feb 2013 #6
ReallyIAmAnOptimist Feb 2013 #7
customerserviceguy Feb 2013 #8

Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 08:00 PM

1. Congress needs a full out ass kicking.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 08:03 PM

2. They will sacrifice public employees at the feet of the corporate masters.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 08:26 PM

3. It would appear that

the overlords don't want us to travel or communicate... divide and conquer in every way imaginable.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 08:31 PM

4. We're going to lose out as a nation if this continues

The post office is for the people, affordable and reaches everyone, that could end.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 11:16 PM

5. The Bush Administration deliberately did this in order to bankrupt the PO

Then they and their cronies could buy it up, privatize it and make their fortunes...just like they are doing with their private prisons and the public schools.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 11:25 PM

6. It wouldn't hurt me one bit

if they cut down residential delivery to three, or even two days a week. I get all my bills through email, and I pay them online, too. It's expensive to visit every house in the United States six days a week, and unless Congress wants to raise the price to send junk mail, we cannot afford babysitting for folks who live in the sticks. Oh, sorry, it was called "human connection", and as I recall from living in rural communities, people there had a lot more of it than big city folks do.

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #6)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:38 AM

7. I lived in the "sticks" for a few years...

...McCall, ID. Population ~3,000. Everybody had a PO Box, NO RURAL delivery. I guess "sticks" is all relative.

Nevertheless, I think you may have missed the point.

The post office doesn't have a revenue problem--other than the one created by having to fund pensions TODAY--FOR FUTURE EMPLOYEES THAT AREN'T EVEN BORN YET. My understanding is that the Post Office has operated without a dime of taxpayer money since 1971.
Then there's the union-busting and privatization problems. Privatization always ends up costing the people more. Same for reduced competition.

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Response to ReallyIAmAnOptimist (Reply #7)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:55 PM

8. Ah, a fellow Northwesterner!

Pay little attention to the picture of a major Atlantic seaboard state you see next to my posts, I've been living here about six years, but my heart is still in the state of Washington. I lived in Montesano, just a few hundred folks more populous than McCall.

While I hear that overfunding of pension and health benefits is the problem, I simply cannot think of another company or government entity that has anything than an underfunding situation in both of these cases. Most companies have a base fund that is designed to take the shock from a bad year or two, but the premise of funding remains: Those retirees are ONLY going to get health and pension benefits if the company itself is still doing a thriving business for decades to come.

I really don't envision the USPS existing in fifty years, and I think it's possible that it will disappear in as little as twenty years. Even the dufuses who send me umpteen catalogs a year for the past half decade (based on one single highly-discounted purchase I made from them through a posting on BensBargains.net) will eventually figure out that direct mail simply doesn't work like it used to. All of the remaining technophobes will either die off or adapt, because it costs too much for their creditors to send them mailed bills, and there will be charges associated for getting a printed bill.

Why not provide enough money for retirees of a dying industry?

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