Don’t let the Republicans fix the postal service

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It was surprising when Donald Trump announced that he would make repairing the U.S. Postal Service one of the top personal priorities of his four-year White House adventure. It quickly became apparent, however, that he was using the word “fix” just like your vet uses it when you bring your dog.

Yes, Trump said, “Let’s fix this puppy,” and he spent an inordinate amount of his presidential power and prestige on a failed attempt to neuter an agency that literally works for the good of the people. Think about it: For a 55 cent stamp, America’s distinguished postal workers and postmen will take your mail and deliver it by truck, car, plane, boat, motorcycle, mule – and of course, on foot – to any address. by city or country. The post office is a public system that works; it is both important and effective. Indeed, the US Postal Service has the highest popularity among federal agencies, with 91% of the population approving of its work. Thus, a wave of protests (including from the Republicans) spread throughout the country, killing Trump’s attempt to gut the agency.

However, when it comes to bad public policy, failure is just a way of saying, “Let’s try the back door.” Trump was defeated, but left behind an unremarkable postmaster general named Louis DeJoy, who had only two qualifications for the position: he was Trump’s mega-donor and he was one of the corporate officials who had long wanted to privatize the postal service. In March, before new president Joe Biden took charge of the postal system, DeJoy popped out the back door with his own “10-year plan” to rectify the agency’s plight.

Rhetorically, his plan promised to “achieve superior quality of service” by making mail delivery more “consistent” and “reliable.” How? Constantly reducing the volume of services and reliably reducing clients. Specifically, DeJoy’s plan was to shut down numerous mail-handling businesses, eliminate jobs, cut post office hours, and cut the standard of first-class mail delivery from three days to five. Yes, and potentially raise brand prices.

Providing substandard services at higher prices aims to erode public support for the agency by opening the postal service to seizure by private speculators. This is DeJoy’s real plan. And who enjoys it?

Corporate ideologues never stop talking about how government programs should be run like a business.

Really? What business would they choose as the ethical model for running our democracy? Pharmaceutical speculators? Big Oil? Wall Street Money Manipulators? High-tech billionaires? Overcharge air tickets?

The good news is that the vast majority of people do not believe in this corporatist chatter, and instead value institutions that prioritize the Common Good. Thus, by a 2: 1 margin, the Americans stunned self-righteous right-wing privatizers like DeJoy by explicitly stating in a recent poll that our US Postal Service should not “run like a business.” Indeed, the overwhelming majority, including 49% of Republicans, believe that mail delivery should be a “public service,” even if it is tax-intensive.

In fact, having proven that this 246-year-old federal agency can consistently and efficiently deliver goods to 161 million homes and businesses – day after day, year after year – it’s time to allow reliable, decentralized and well-trained agency staff to provide even more services for our communities. The only service he can provide is the so-called postal banking. Yes, the existing network of approximately 31,000 post offices in city blocks and small towns across America is ideally located to provide basic banking services to one of four of us who do not have or cannot afford bank accounts. Giant banking networks ignore these millions, leaving them at the mercy of check cashing exploiters and money lenders making exorbitant profits for their Wall Street backers.

The post office can offer simple and honest banking services, including checking and savings accounts for small amounts, consumer loans with very low interest rates, debit cards with low fees, etc. The purpose of postal banking is not to maximize corporate profits, but to serve the public. … … Moreover, this is nothing new: our post offices served as banks for millions of us until 1967, when Wall Street speculators got their congressional aides to kill the competition.

We, the People, own this phenomenal public domain. To make it work even better for us instead of the forces of corporate greed, go to AGrandAlliance.org.

To learn more about Jim Hightower and to read articles from other Creators Syndicate authors and cartoonists, visit the Creators web page at www.creators.com.

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