A new survey has come out suggesting that Americans want the U.S. Postal Service to operate “more like a business” and have greater freedoms” and other tired rhetoric. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/citizen-cabinet-survey-bipartisan-majority-favors-giving-us-postal-service-more-freedom-to-act-like-a-business-300179656.html.
Couldn’t the survey’s designers come up with any more original language? Did they ever consider that the USPS is, and has always been the country’s most trusted public agency and that it is clearly “not a business enterprise conducted for profit for raising general funds,” as stated in the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970.
So either these survey respondents were misinformed about the role of the USPS or blindly seduced by ceaseless corporate rhetoric about the alleged superiority of private enterprise.
This poll comes on the heels of the USPS’s reporting a net loss of $5.1 billion for the year ended Sept. 30, an improvement over a loss of $5.5 billion last year. http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2015/pr15_060.htm.
Why is this survey coming out now? Does this
current regular financial report show anything substantially different from how the USPS has performed for many years? Even when the USPS is apparently doing better financially thanks to growth in its package delivery services and the like?
In its report, the postal service alludes to “certain statutorily mandated payments over which the Postal Service has no control.” This, of course, refers to the more than 5.5 billion-a-year payment the USPS must make to cover the healthcare costs of future retirees for the next 70 or so years.
Without this healthcare millstone, the postal service would probably have made a profit.
Conservative Republican lawmakers slipped this massive sum into the 2006 postal “reform” law which helped create a good deal of the USPS’s fiscal troubles.
The mentality that loaded the postal service with unpayable debt for the bulk of the 21st Century may be in line with what Les Leopold, executive director of the Labor Institute, characterized “runaway inequality.” This phrase refers to a movement that seeks to spread debt throughout society and impoverish and subjugate people to the whims of Wall Street which continues to grow richer and richer, according to the Huffington Post https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=us&tbm=nws&authuser=0&q=LES+LEOPOLD+GROWTH+OF+DEBT&oq=LES+LEOPOLD+GROWTH+OF+DEBT&gs_l=news-cc.12..43j43i53.4139.19153.0.226188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.4220.127.116.11…0.0…1ac.1.JaXK3ruSFo4&gws_rd=ssl.
Granted, a public institution such as the postal service would likely never be forced to suffer as would ordinary indebted people. But maybe contriving conditions to further financially weaken the postal service might foster a political environment where the USPS could fall prey to unscrupulous operators and politicians.
Another piece of stale rhetoric is that the growth of electronic communication has rendered the USPS obsolete.
Yeah, nobody sends letters by first class postage anymore. But millions of people and businesses still depend on a robust public postal service for their livelihoods and the corporations know this very well. Even large corporations like the United Parcel Service and FedEx, need the USPS around to make it profitable. So maybe it’s time to retire the old rhetoric and acknowledge how important the service the USPS renders is to all of us.