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Why You Should Be Outraged By What Is Being Done to Our Postal Service

Like so many other "crises" imposed on us lately, there is a lot to the Post Office pivatization story that you are not being told.

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Today Cato employees write about "freeing the mail from the government's grip" and " getting the government out of the mail business." (from Cato's  Stamp Out the Postal Service.)

While part of Cato's motivation for privatizing the Postal Service is their efforts to  transfer all public assets to private hands, Their website  Privatizing the U.S. Postal Service explains their reasoning,

The USPS is in deep financial trouble as a result of declining mail volume, bloated operating expenses, a costly and inflexible unionized workforce, and constant congressional meddling. At the same time, electronic communications and other technological advances are making physical mail delivery less relevant. 
America's postal system needs a radical overhaul. This essay ... concludes that taxpayers, consumers, and the broader economy would stand to gain with reforms to privatize the USPS and open U.S. mail delivery up to competition.

Cato's funders also oppose unions because they enable working people to bargain for a larger share of the pie, and the Postal Service is unionized -- the largest remaining union. In  The Postal Service Can't Afford Unions Cato's Tad DeHaven writes, "A big drag on the USPS's bottom line is the pesky postal unions." DeHaven continues,

The USPS has been able to eliminate thousands of positions through attrition, but it still possesses the second-largest civilian workforce in the country, behind only Wal-Mart. With 85 percent of that workforce protected by collective bargaining agreement, the unions have become a giant anchor on an already sinking ship.

The Postal Service is a PUBLIC service, serving We, the People and our democracy. It is our second-largest employer. Like Social Security it demonstrates that government can and does serve We, the People. You should be outraged by what is being done to our Postal Service! It is time to step up and defend all of our democratic institutions.

Other Voices

Here are a few other voices on this issue:

John Nichols writes in The Nation,  Postal Cuts Are Austerity on Steroids,

The austerity agenda that would cut services for working Americans in order to maintain tax breaks for the wealthy -- and promote the privatization of public services--has many faces. 
Most Americans recognize the threats to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as pieces of the austerity plan advanced by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), and the rest of the Ayn Rand-reading wrecking crew that has taken over the Republican Party. But it is important to recognize that the austerity agenda extends in every direction: from threats to Food Stamps and Pell Grants, to education cuts, to the squeezing of transportation funding. 
But the current frontline of the austerity agenda is the assault on the US Postal Service, a vital public service that is older than the country. And it is advancing rapidly.

Dean Baker at CEPR:  Killing the Messenger: The Downsizing and Death of the Postal Service

Congress also has to be prepared to allow the Postal Service to win. About a decade ago, the Postal Service had an extremely effective ad campaign highlighting the fact that its express mail service was just a fraction of the price charged for overnight delivery by UPS and FedEx. 
The two companies actually went to court to try to stop the ad campaign. When the court told them to get lost, they went to Congress. Their friends in Congress then leaned on the Postal Service and got it to end the ads.

Sen. Tom Carper of Deleware has a good information page:  Postal Reform Myths vs. Facts, (click through for the details)

With all the information floating around about the U.S. Postal Service's financial crisis and the possible Postal Service default at the end of September, it can be difficult to wade through what is fact and what is fiction. Below are 8 Myths about the current crisis and 8 facts explaining what can and must be done to reform this vital American institution and ensure its services remain for generations to come. 
MYTH #1: The U.S. Postal Service is bankrolled by taxpayers. MYTH #2: The U.S. Postal Service will inevitably see a total financial collapse in the coming months. MYTH #3: Congressional action to save the U.S. Postal Service amounts to yet another government bailout of a failing industry. MYTH #4: Allowing the U.S. Postal Service to default will simply force much-needed restructuring and reform. MYTH #5: A new government control board could better take the dramatic steps necessary to fix the U.S. Postal Service. MYTH #6: A new government commission -- similar to the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission - could help the U.S. Postal Service close or consolidate unnecessary processing and retail facilities free from political pressure. MYTH #7: The U.S. Postal Service must raise rates on certain postal products to help cover its losses. MYTH #8: Sen. Carper's bill -- the POST Act -- wants to end Saturday mail delivery.

ThinkProgress: Thanks To Congressional Incompetence, Saturday Mail Delivery Is History,

 
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