I don’t know about you, but my mail delivery has been horrid for the past month. My insulin arrived at the post office on a Thursday, I was told it would be delivered on Friday, but it wasn’t. Then I was told it would be delivered on Saturday. It wasn’t. Finally it was delivered on Tuesday, after sitting in the post office for five days, this despite the fact that the box was clearly marked …I almost never get mail on Wednesday anymore, and only about half the time on Thursday. No, this is not normal … prior to last month, I can only remember 2-3 days in the past 10 years that we didn’t receive mail. In addition, a friend sent me a package from the UK in early May that I still have yet to receive.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is in deep trouble, my friends. While Donald Trump is directly responsible for part of the problem, and I’ll get to that in a minute, the USPS’ problems began long before Trump showed up with his wrecking ball.
In 2006, under the Bush administration, Congress passed the Postal Act of 2006 that required the USPS to prefund 75 years’ worth of retiree health benefits in the span of ten years—a cost of approximately $110 billion. Although the money is intended to be set aside for future Post Office retirees, the funds are instead being diverted to help pay down the national debt. This was the beginning of the USPS struggle to stay afloat.
And then in 2017, Donald Trump was inaugurated and things went downhill from there. It is a personal vendetta for Trump. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, also owns The Washington Post. The Post has been, as have all legitimate media outlets, critical of much of Trump’s rhetoric and many of his actions since taking office. The criticism is well-deserved, and personally I think often understated. However, as we know, Trump cannot tolerate criticism even when it is earned, so he went on a personal vendetta against Bezos and is refusing to release a $10 million loan to the USPS that was approved by Congress this spring, unless the USPS ‘quadruples’ what they charge Amazon to deliver packages.
Now, bear in mind that if the USPS did raise the rates to Amazon, it isn’t Jeff Bezos or Amazon who would pay the price … it is you and me. Companies pass their costs to their customers … simple fact of life.
But there is another factor in play here. Many believed in 2006 that the bill passed by Congress was an attempt to force the USPS to privatize … transferring ownership from the U.S. government to a private company, and thereby opening it up to competition. Trump seems to be hellbent to sell off the USPS, and his current refusal to help keep it afloat seems to be an attempt to force that issue. His Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has also called for certain parts of USPS to be sold off.
Enter Trump’s new pick for Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy. DeJoy’s main qualification for the position is that he donated millions of dollars to the Republican Party and $1.2 million to Donald Trump’s “Victory fund”. Said Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, a long-time advocate of keeping the Postal Service public …
“When I heard that he had been appointed I quickly realized that the president is irrepressible in his move to destroy the USPS.”
Congressman Gerry Connolly, chairman of the House Government Operations subcommittee, also weighed in …
“President Trump rewards a partisan donor by installing him at the United States Postal Service. The Postal Service is in crisis and needs real leadership and someone with knowledge of the issues. This crony doesn’t cut it.”
No, it doesn’t cut it, but what’s new? Most every member of Trump’s cabinet is highly Unqualified for the position to which they were appointed, and they were appointed either in return for mega-donations (Betsy DeVos) or to destroy some portion of this nation (Andrew Wheeler). Apparently, DeJoy fits both of those categories. DeJoy has said postal reform will include identifying “new and creative ways” for USPS to fulfill its mission with a focus on efficiency. How ‘bout trying to deliver the damn mail on time???
In the past, I have argued against privatization of the Postal Service, for I felt that once profit became a motive, we would be the losers. However, at this point, I’m not sure a for-profit business could f**k it up any worse than the federal government with a madman determined to destroy everything in his path is doing.
The statute that created the Postal Service begins with the following sentence: “The United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people by the Government of the United States, authorized by the Constitution, created by an Act of Congress, and supported by the people.”
Once again, Donald Trump is shredding, stomping and burning the Constitution of the United States. November 3rd cannot come soon enough!