What’s at the Root of Hostility to the USPS?

Now that the U.S. Postal Service has greatly reduced its fiscal-year losses to just $5 billion, a bigger challenge remains: passing new reform legislation that could help make the service once again solvent http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2013/pr13_087.htm.

Trouble is, many conservative members of Congress have and have continue to show a marked hostility to the USPS. That began most concretely in the 2006 reform law when conservative Republican Representatives and Senators pushed through a provision which mandated that every year, the postal service pay at least $5.8 billion to cover the healthcare expenses of future retirees.

No other government agency has such an obligation and this has greatly contributed to the postal service’s financial problems. Of course so have the decline in first class mail and bill-paying and the meteoric rise of email, online bill-paying and ecommerce.

But the latter can obscure the issue of why these officials loathe a public postal service.

Now, finally somebody in the mainstream press has acknowledged the real reasons behind this conservative hatred of the USPS. One of them is because the service has been a reliable employer for much of the U.S. population, including African Americans and other minority groups. In fact, the USPS has served as a means for rising up to and maintaining a middle class lifestyle, as the Los Angeles Times has pointed out http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-postal-service-20131118,0,6616938.story#axzz2l82nfCsz.

Maybe it’s impolitic to mention this but there could be a racist aspect to this antipathy.

That could also be at the root of much conservative opposition to much of President Barack Obama’s overall agenda and the recent 16-day shutdown of the Federal government.

On top of that,  the presence of a  public and highly unionized postal service continues to burn the hell out of some conservative members of Congress. One is Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He and his cohorts keep on trying to pass legislation that would begin to privatize the USPS, despite public and union pressure not to. They also have a blind spot about destroying what’s probably the most cherished government institution that predates even the U.S. Constitution.

They are so mired in anti-government and pro-corporate ideology that they can’t fathom why their ideas really can’t go anywhere or even that some business interests such as direct and other types of commercial mail might oppose them.

So far, Issa’s bills haven’t gotten out of committee in the House despite its Republican majority.

Meanwhile, both House and Senate postal reform bills remain in Congress. It’s doubtful they’ll see any action this year.

The GOP could be biding its time until after the 2014 Congressional election when more favorable political conditions could emerge.

That thinking could blow up in their faces.

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One Response to What’s at the Root of Hostility to the USPS?

  1. Lynn N says:

    I would hate to think that racism is at the bottom of the unreasoning hatred of the USPS in Congress. I think rather it is hatred of unions and unionization that Congress people hate. if working people unite they have more power. So, for employers it is a no brainer to prevent that if possible.
    On another note, Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post printed a blog post last Sunday, urging the USPS and Amazon to merge into one organization! Can you imagine??

    Like

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