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Sun Mar 1, 2015, 04:21 PM

Ideas to Involve the Post Office in Revitalizing our Civic Centers

The U.S. Post Office has been under siege for years. Internet communications undermined the letter. Fed-Ex and UPS gave GOP privateers an alternative model. Financial problems, especially burgeoning pension liabilities, left the USPS appealing to Congress for help. Thus we find one of the bedrock institutions of the United States actually in danger of disappearing.

Even on DU we find the attack on the Post Office - something that should be on the list of GOP defundables along with PBS, NPR, the NEH, and the EPA if they can get away with it. Yesterday I wrote a reply to one such post to suggest that instead of dismantling the Post Office, we shore it up and add functionality to it. As I see it, the Post Office could be integrated into a revitalized Civic Center that also features the Public Library, Records/Maps/Licensing, Court Houses, Government Offices, Local Museums and Visitor Centers, etc.

Someone encouraged me to offer my ideas for the Post Office as an OP, so here it is:

The Post Office would not just handle mail, but would be offer a number of services central to our way of life.

1) USPS banking. No more extortionate fees for paycheck cashing. (MANY people have offered this idea).

2) USPS to run basic telecommunications. AT&T is always threatening to get out of the landline business. I say we let them! We need to put at least one means of national telecommunications in the public hands. By putting the landline infrastructure in the hands of the USPS we could create a "public option" for both phone service AND DSL to maintain competive prices in both phone and Internet service! We could fully subsidize "lifeline" phone service for the poor instead of that wacky discount service we have going now. ("discounts" for people who have no income? Sense it makes not.). Telecommunications services are a natural partner for mail services. In Europe post offices maintain phone services. I believe Post Offices used to host telegraph services at the turn of the century.

3) Post Offices could co-locate with other public services that travelers need like currency exchange, visitor information centers, hostel reservations, etc.

Over the years our sense of public institutions and public service centers have almost totally collapsed. The Post Office, like the public library, could play a role in rebuilding local civic spirit by re-asserting itself as a vital public space.

Current long lines and poor service at Post Offices could be dealt with by hiring more people and keeping the work conditions healthy so "going postal" never becomes a cultural in-joke again! Otherwise, it seems to me that there is a cycle of government agencies making their own problems with under-staffing and quasi-military structures that lead to people wanting to eliminate said agencies all together. Instead of creating the problem we should be creating employment, which in turn would be creating better customer service.

Also, the idea of "public service" and the ethics/spirit associated with it are practically nil in this country. Perhaps more "public option" style services would be a step toward getting that back.

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Reply Ideas to Involve the Post Office in Revitalizing our Civic Centers (Original post)
daredtowork Mar 2015 OP
salib Mar 2015 #1
daredtowork Mar 2015 #5
salib Mar 2015 #9
procon Mar 2015 #2
daredtowork Mar 2015 #4
Panich52 Mar 2015 #3
daredtowork Mar 2015 #6
daredtowork Mar 2015 #7
Scuba Mar 2015 #8
daredtowork Mar 2015 #10

Response to daredtowork (Original post)

Sun Mar 1, 2015, 05:12 PM

1. These are wonderful ideas

Love the idea of landlines.

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Response to salib (Reply #1)

Sun Mar 1, 2015, 08:43 PM

5. The AT&T monopoly really bugs me

Phone company monopoly on the landlines is what killed DSL competition in its infancy, and its why the US lagged behind even supposedly third world countries when it came to broadband penetration. Even now poor people have difficulty with Internet access even though its so important for negotiating the labor market. Federal discounts are being offered to families with children, which once more tells the poor you are better off with a baby to make you worth helping because adults are not assigned any innate human value.

But to make things worse, phone companies whine about having to maintain the landlines and demand subsidies for it. If the govt. tries to tax the industry, that tax is tacked on as a an extra fee for the customer.

The public should stand up and reject this extortion! We need a national system of public communications. Let landlines be the Public Option! If phone companies think the only "business" is wireless, let them go focus on that and release them from those burdensome landlines!

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Response to daredtowork (Reply #5)

Mon Mar 2, 2015, 12:36 PM

9. Yep. I am stuck with Fairpoint for my landline.

Only option I have. Wireless is useless here.

And they have been extorting their workers while I pay them for the privilege.

sucks.

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Response to daredtowork (Original post)

Sun Mar 1, 2015, 05:46 PM

2. The Post Office already offers many services.

They could expand from physical forms of communications into all kinds electronic services. They already handle Postal Money Orders, so why not other money services? They accept passport applications so why not other government services, especially for rural area, military bases, and towns that are far away from large metro centers.


The Postal Inspection Service is a federal law enforcement agency that handles mail fraud, and other related crimes such as bank fraud, identity theft, credit card fraud, wire fraud, and Internet/computer fraud. These are becoming increasingly important issues as digital crimes keep expanding, so why isn't this advertised to assist more people?



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Response to procon (Reply #2)

Sun Mar 1, 2015, 08:27 PM

4. This Investigations Unit

sounds like a nice middle class job creator to me.

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Response to daredtowork (Original post)

Sun Mar 1, 2015, 07:14 PM

3. Bernie Sanders has proposed many (all?) of you ideas

The GOP's machinations to destroy USPS is just part of their attempt to privatize, to kill the fed govt. The 75-yr pension plan is one that no sane businessman would do, yet the supposed biz party forced it upon an agency that gets no tax money -- something most don't realize. Because of Congress' insane pension requirements, tho USPS made a profit last few years, it goes on record as losing money.

I saw that disparaging OP. Couldn't believe how many don't seem to recognize that a working post office is vital to a working democracy. Which is why it was included in Article I, Sec 8 of the constitution.

Oh, and UPS is considering charging extra for actually delivering packages.

And it's proven that people learn better when reading & writing from physical material instead of from a screen. That's why I prefer Discover & The Nation delivered by USPS instead of internet. If USPS is gone, who will deliver mags & some newspapers? (Or xmas cards, b'day cards, etc)

#SaveUSPS!

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Response to Panich52 (Reply #3)

Sun Mar 1, 2015, 08:51 PM

6. I'm not surprised

Bernie seems to be speaking for me in many if his policy ideas. I'm just sad he isn't a woman, because the US is long past due for the first female POTUS. The medium is part of the message when the POTUS embodies the nation.

Maybe Bernie will get a gender change before the Primary, teehee.

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Response to daredtowork (Original post)

Mon Mar 2, 2015, 03:46 AM

7. Kicking up the Post Office! nt

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Response to daredtowork (Original post)

Mon Mar 2, 2015, 08:32 AM

8. Banking and internet service are both great ideas for the USPS.

 

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Response to daredtowork (Original post)

Mon Mar 2, 2015, 01:23 PM

10. Kicking up the Post Office again! :D nt

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