Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Forced Between a Rock and a Hard Place I

Trey Smith

Today we're going to look at an article, The Postal Service Outrage, from Dave Johnson of The Campaign for America's Future. I found Johnson's piece after listening to a podcast of an interview he gave (stream it by clicking here and slide the slider to 22:45). By looking at this one issue, we can begin to see how the privatization gambit works in all its orchestrated beauty.

As Johnson clearly shows, the "crisis" facing the US Postal Service (USPS) is not unlike many of the crises we see facing Congress and the President today: It is manufactured. Were it not for the meddling of Congress, the US Postal Service would be turning a profit! While the partisan Johnson lays the blame squarely on the Republicans, it takes two to tango. The Democrats are just as culpable.

In this post, we will look at the first bullet point as to how this "crisis" was created and then, throughout the day, look at the other bullet points. We will finish up this series of posts tomorrow.
Bullet Point #1: The Postal Service is the second largest employer in the United States after Walmart. But unlike Walmart, which gets away with paying so little that employees qualify for government assistance, the Postal Service is unionized, pays reasonable wages and benefits and receives no government subsidies.
You see, unions DO make a big difference. Unionized workers tend to earn better pay and receive better benefits. Of course, this is why conservatives demonize unions. Were it not for these D-A-M-N unions, postal workers would have little power...like most of the rest of the workforce!

But the key part of Bullet Point #1 is the last 4 words. Though enshrined in the US Constitution, the USPS isn't funded by taxpayer dollars. It must sink or swim on its own. Most major corporations -- like Walmart -- receive all sorts of presents courtesy of all of us. Sometimes "we" bail them out when, by their own devices, they would go belly up. "We" provide them with low or no interest loans. "We" shield them from all sorts of taxes and "we" often fund THEIR infrastructure improvements. Even worse, if they pay their workers so little that their employees can't make ends meet, "we" end up subsidizing THEIR payroll.

Compared to the USPS, most major corporations have it easy. They have government-funded life rafts waiting at their beck and call. It is a lot easier to realize tremendous profits when you know that taxpayers have your back.

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