Post office blues

There’s an effort underway to privatize the post office, or at least defund it so it runs poorly and the private companies like FedEx, UPS, and DHS can compete with it. (NYT)

Faced with declining revenue, the Postal Service is asking Congress to allow it to close more than 3,700 post offices and 250 processing centers, and to eliminate Saturday delivery of mail.

In other countries, post offices double as banks or sell insurance or cellphones. In the United States, Congress has barred the Postal Service from entering many of these areas. In the 1990s, forecasting a decline in first-class mail, the Postal Service tried several nonmail products, like phone cards, money transfers and e-mail accounts. But Congress said the ventures created unfair competition for the private sector and did not seem to make much money.

 

The strain of libertarianism is hard to miss.  It’s good some westerners are speaking up for the rural post offices (WaPo):

Western lawmakers upset with the Postal Service’s plans to close tiny rural post offices want to bar USPS from closing rural offices for two more years, and then only if the next-nearest post office is no more than 10 miles away.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) called plans to close rural postal offices “callous, unnecessary and irresponsible.” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) called the plans “devastating and economically idiotic.”

It is pretty idiotic to fire workers in the middle of a recession, with the false claim of budget cutting.  It’s quite obvious (maybe not) that these people not only pay taxes (deficit, remember), but they also buy things, like food, cars, etc. which other people sell and need employees for.  Now if only the rest of us had a steady paycheck (demand), even from the evil GOVT, we might have some success in this economy.

It should be obvious that firing people that were earning a living and paying taxes, and putting them in the unemployment/welfare/foodstamp/housing assistance/medicaid line where they are not, is bad for the economy.  Yet these same GOP’ers are using that fact to scream ‘Look how much gov’t has grown under communist Obama!! The debt/GDP ratio! Argh!’  Maybe we are in a huge recession which threw millions into poverty.  Maybe GDP has shrunk and gov’t has grown because of automatic spending, like UE, medicaid, foodstamps, other gov’t assistance, and people taking early Social Security and Medicare.

But these postal workers also do important work, you know.  I live in a rural area.  Our main city post office (Sandpoint) won’t close, but there are others in Naples, Elmira, Cocollalla, etc. which serve small numbers but I’m sure those ‘moochers and parasites’ would like to keep their quite efficient and cost-effective mail delivery.

I wonder if the Randroids think mail delivery is even a government function.  Or the Koch brothers.  Or street addressing, car registration, licensing, etc.  How about car titling?  Should we write our own car titles, since the DMV is ‘men with guns’ forcing us to not use DMV inc.,instead of the fantasy privatized DMV with different standards in every state?

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