Email inboxes are bombarded by messages from a wide selection of sources. Many are easy to identify and delete; others often offer tantalizing messages in the subject line that may cause a brief pause. The messages from political activists are probably the most annoying and voluminous.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the threat of the demise of the US Postal Service has been linked to “vote by mail” propaganda in order to draw attention. The messengers seek to raise money for their causes while ignoring the fact that the House has already adopted legislation to substantially assist the USPS’ financial difficulties. The actual urgent fact is that, of course, the bill is sitting in the inbox of the Senate Majority Leader.
[The more things change, the more they stay the same…. See VoxFairfax, May 4, 2018, “NEITHER SNOW, NOR RAIN, NOR HEAT, NOR GLOOM OF NIGHT, NOR FAKE NEWS…. PRESIDENT GOES POSTAL TO SLIME THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE,” https://wp.me/p9wDCF-6l.%5D
From that article: In a tweet on 04/03/2018, the President stated:
I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy. Amazon should pay these costs (plus) and not have them bourne [sic] by the American Taxpayer. Many billions of Dollars. P.O. leaders don’t have a clue (or do they?)!
The USPS has registered its own view on its performance and operations (12 items) on its website. Most importantly… zero tax dollars used. The Postal Service receives NO tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
It’s almost as though the messengers are unaware of the political realities and fail to target recipients with facts in favor of faux urgencies in the subject lines. These messages are insulting as well as misleading. There was a time when the USPS delivered valuable communications only to have the Internet degrade the content and amount of those communications. The juvenile character of the messages makes their receipt that much more demoralizing. Certainly, it does not engender a positive attitude toward the messengers or the organizations they represent.
Below is an excerpt from a press release from the office of Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) dated February 2, 2020, which neatly summarizes the USPS issue:
Today the House of Representatives passed decisively bipartisan legislation authored by Rep. Peter DeFazio that would provide the United States Postal Service (USPS) with much-needed financial relief by ending the agency’s burdensome prefunding mandate on future retiree health benefits. The legislation passed by a vote of 309 to 106, with 87 Republicans voting in favor of the bill.
The prefunding mandate policy is based on the absurd notion of paying for the retirement funds of people who do not yet, and may not ever, work for the Postal Service. My bill will finally repeal this ludicrous policy, provide the USPS with critical financial relief, and is the first step towards much-needed comprehensive reform.”
“Americans and businesses around the country depend on a reliable Postal Service. This is especially true for rural areas and seniors in my district, who count on six-day service and door-to-door service for their mail and prescription medications,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04). “The unreasonable prefunding mandate has threatened the survival of the USPS and placed its vital services for the millions who rely on it at risk. The prefunding mandate policy is based on the absurd notion of paying for the retirement funds of people who do not yet, and may not ever, work for the Postal Service. My bill will finally repeal this ludicrous policy, provide the USPS with critical financial relief, and is the first step towards much-needed comprehensive reform.”
In 2006, a bill introduced by Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) was passed by Congress requiring the USPS to prefund 75 years’ worth of retiree pension and health benefits in the span of ten years—a cost of approximately $110 billion. Although the funds were supposed to be set aside for future Post Office retirees, they are instead being diverted to help pay down the national debt.
Now, P45 threatens to veto any CARES funding for the USPS to further mask the original intent: the GOP wants to replace the USPS with for-profit, private delivery services, as Republican donors have pressed for years. In the bargain, Republicans seek to dismantle a large labor union that it believes delivers Democratic votes – and now mail ballots. Just one more example of electing a party to run the government that does not believe in government.
Bankrupting USPS intentionally may cheer the likes of Steve Bannon and his band of merry government deconstructionists, but such an event is not likely to be welcomed by voters, especially in rural America. P45 has all the negative polling he needs at this time. Adding even more gloom in an effort to stay the USPS couriers from their rounds promises no political gains.