Oct 31, 2011
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is proposing to gut the U.S. Postal Service and hand it over to private interests.
Donahoe has asked Congress to give him the authority to make all sorts of cuts, including cutting Saturday delivery; closing up to 3,600 local post offices; and laying off anywhere from 120,000 to 220,000 postal workers in the next several years. He readily talks about replacing local post offices with kiosks in supermarkets where people can buy stamps.
It’s an attack on the population as a whole, but especially on the poor and working class, the elderly and disabled, rural and inner city populations who need local post offices as a lifeline to basic services.
But closing local post offices and cutting delivery are extremely unpopular with large parts of the population. Congress members up for reelection next year don’t want to admit they voted for such an attack.
So Obama tried to do them a favor: he took the question out of Congress’ hands and gave it to the Budgetary “Super Committee”. This “Super Committee” has already been given powers by Congress to come up with a budget cutting plan behind closed doors, out of sight of the population. If the Super Committee includes postal cuts in its proposal, Congress can shrug and say it had no choice but to go along.
It’s ridiculous to give this to a congressional budgetary committee – the Postal Service gets NO money from the Federal government. It is fully funded through the sale of stamps, etc. So cutting postal services has NO effect on the federal budget at all!
But this will allow Donahoe and Congress to get away with privatizing huge chunks of the Postal Service, taking away the profitable parts – like parcel delivery – while closing down unprofitable services needed by the population – like rural and inner city post offices and mail delivery.
A better idea would be to get rid of socially useless expenses instead – starting with Postmaster Donahoe, and Congress!