Going Postal

There’s been a move afoot for years to privatize the US Postal Service. Mandated in the Constitution itself (Article 1, Section 8, for those who need verification), the US Postal Service can only be dismantled by a major, concerted effort, including a constitutional convention — and that effort is well underway.

In recent years, Republican-controlled Congress demanded that the Postal Service fund 70+ years worth of pensions – something no other private business or government agency is required – or even encouraged – to do, as a way to drive the service into desperate insolvency. Then, by demonstrating how poorly managed and insolvent the service is, calling a constitutional convention to dissolve it and accept bids from private firms to deliver the mail will seem like a no-brainer to many Americans. Chillingly, if such a convention is successfully called, other amendments can be added, including reducing or outright eliminating access to birth control, as well as limiting the right to protest. Right now, the Republicans control a majority of state senates and legislatures, so they have the power to do it. Fortunately, it takes something like two-thirds of the states to call for such a convention to make it happen. Unfortunately, we are only a very small handful of states away from this happening.

But let’s get back to delivering the mail. For years, private firms have been salivating over holding an exclusive contract to deliver the mail, and have been pressuring Congress to make that happen. Only a very few firms have the infrastructure to even bid on such a contract, so it isn’t difficult to see who may be behind such a move.

Suppose a private firm DOES come in to take over mail delivery. Are they going to want to deliver mail to big cities – where the larger concentration of mail delivery makes the service efficient and profitable – or rural areas, where mail delivery is routinely operated at a loss? That’s right: the people agitating most vehemently to get rid of the Post Office will screw the areas where their own constituents are most concentrated.

This says nothing about the solid, good-paying jobs associated with the US Postal Service. Those jobs mean that money is spent locally; postal employees need to buy food, pay for housing and fuel, and pay property and income taxes just like everyone else, and when they are employed locally the money stays local. If they are laid off, most will have to move to larger cities to find work, furthering the divide between the haves – big cities – and the have nots – rural areas.

The only way we’re going to stop this greedy nonsense is by writing letters – lots of letters – particularly to Republican Senators and US Representatives. It really only takes a few minutes, and by sending a letter through the mail, you not only voice your opinion in a way that will be noticed – so few physical letters are sent any more that they are counted as representing the opinion of hundreds of constituents – but you also support the Post Office directly, by buying the stamp and mailing the letter itself. Here’s a link to order stamps by mail and have free delivery right to your door: https://store.usps.com/store/home

While you’re at it, why not drop a letter or postcard to a friend you haven’t seen in a while – or someone you can’t visit because of the quarantine? Remember when you were younger, and the joy you felt at receiving a surprise in the mail that you totally weren’t expecting? Right now, we as a nation desperately need that kind of joy in our lives, and once again, by buying stamps you are supporting a service that all of us have come to rely on, in defiance of the best efforts of Republicans in Congress to yank it out from under us. People complain bitterly about wanting to stick it to the government – what better way than by sticking it to the folks straight at the top, the President and the US Senate? You can order stamps through the mail, and cards, envelopes, and paper elsewhere online, so you don’t even need to leave the house to do it.

Besides, what ELSE have you got to do right now?

2 thoughts on “Going Postal

  1. I would like to suggest postcards to legislators. I have been told that letters in envelopes can be delayed for weeks to go through screening for anthrax, etc.

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