Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Response to Nothing Left To Stop

(See: Just Above Sunset : Nothing Left To Stop)

Concerning this Post Office business:

Something I wish we all were discussing is, shouldn't the United States Post Office go back to being a regular department of government, like it used to be? Maybe Biden should tout that idea, or even campaign on it.

My belief is that, before we choose whether a service should be performed by government rather than the private sector, we need to decide if…

(1) We the People think it’s an essential service, and one that we’re willing to cover the losses for with our taxes, and

(2) that it can’t either be performed at all, or can’t be performed adequately for the country’s needs, if left to the private sector.

Given the fact that most people think that, in its present state, it can’t do the job we want it to — that is, deliver letters and packages anywhere in U.S. jurisdiction in the world, no matter how far away, for the same price — and by “people", I mean not just “normal people” but also Republicans! — then it should go back to being a governmental department. It’s really just that simple.

Whether it can pay its own way shouldn’t even be a consideration once it's been determined that the American people think it’s an essential service of government.

The way this is being presented is, if it's having financial problems, then we need to “privatize” it — remembering that the word “privatize”,  in this case, is just another word for “abolish”. There’s no need to convert the Postal Service into a private company that isn't able to handle our needs, since there are already private companies out there doing that.

And who do we have to thank for a Post Office Department that suddenly can't perform the functions it had been doing for hundreds of years? 

First, there was President Richard Nixon, who, following the settlement of a nationwide postal strike in 1970, abolished the "Post Office Department” and, for some obscure reason, converted it into the United States “Postal Service”, an "independent establishment" of the federal government which, though still under the thumb of the government but with no help from taxpayers, will now be required to support itself.

And then, in 2006, something else happened to make it even harder for the service to pay its way. This is from Eric Levitz in New York Magazine:

The Postal Service’s financial problems are largely an artifact of a 2006 law that arbitrarily requires the agency to pre-fund 75 years worth of its retirees’ health benefits.

Its status as an independent, self-sustaining agency is also relatively novel and unnecessary. The federal government could cover the Postal Service’s annual losses for about $14 billion a year — which is roughly one-tenth of the amount of money that Congress has added to the Pentagon’s annual budget since Donald Trump took office. 
Our country can easily afford to sustain an unprofitable public institution that provides 600,000 Americans with good jobs, and 90 percent of all U.S. residents with a service they approve of.

Nixon gave libertarian conservatives what they’ve always wanted, even though the American public never has, and apparently did so after little if any public discussion. We the People are now going to have to undo these so-called reforms foisted upon us by the likes of Donald Trump, and then pay more attention from now on.

First of all, do we demand that the Pentagon, for example, “pays its own way”? God knows what foolishness that would lead to  and in fact, there’s been some consideration by this president to rent out the army as sort of a mercenary force to countries willing to pay the freight.

For the same reason, we should not expect the White House itself to earn enough to cover expenses to run itself. How? From tour ticket sales? Maybe the building could be converted to a hotel, complete with four-star restaurant? Maybe they could charge to have a photo taken with the president! (You think he hasn't considered that idea?)

Speaking of which, it might be a good idea from now on for us to put a cap on how much the White House can spend. If we do that, then maybe some corrupt president wouldn’t assume the rest of us should pick up the cost of his flying Air Force One to Florida every weekend, and then charge us rent to house Secret Service agents.

The idea should be that, after a certain amount, the president could foot those bills himself. And if he decides not to pay for housing the agents? He could just leave them behind in Washington. No skin off our teeth!

But that’s just one of many American reforms a President Biden could promise, another being getting rid of the Electoral College, which most of the country should, by now, be ready to admit has not served us well.


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