Obama Says Post Office Should Cut One Day of Mail Delivery… Now there’s change we can believe in.
Okay, get this… President Obama came out today with both guns blazing, endorsing the end of Saturday mail delivery at the United States Post Office. Actually, we don’t really know that it’s Saturday that he favors cutting… maybe it’s Thursday, he didn’t actually say for sure which day he’s ready to do without the mail.
He probably left the day to be cut up in the air because he didn’t want to upset the Republicans. Or, perhaps he thinks the selection of the day should be up to congress. He’s a big picture guy… you know… let the legislature sort out the messy details.
I’ve been struggling with this issue for some time now, and I just can’t seem to reconcile how I feel. For a while I was ready to throw my support behind Saturday, but then I started to like Tuesdays, and that led me to thinking about Fridays… it’s really quite overwhelming.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) was quick to point out the obvious, saying:
“… the president’s proposal is not what taxpayers or the Postal Service needs.”
Of course it’s not what the American taxpayers need, Darrell. That goes without saying. What is it that the American taxpayers need, by the way… I’m having trouble remembering. Does it have something to do with the Post Office?
Issa went on to say that Obama’s plan would “certainly cost taxpayers money,” which must be some sort of reflex response because according to Associated Press, the Post Office currently “does not receive any tax funds for its operations,” and I can’t even imagine why closing one extra day a week would increase costs.
So, while all of this very important politicking was going on, there were apparently 75 members of congress calling on something called the “independent Postal Regulatory Commission” to do something to block the Post Office’s plans to shut down roughly 3,700 local post offices across the country. That seems like a lot of Post Offices, doesn’t it? Like… 74 per state, on average.
According to AP, it’s worth noting, “The proposed closures, most in rural locations that do little business, are currently under review.” So, that’s good, right? I mean, who cares about people in rural locations anyway? They should move to the city like the rest of us. They probably don’t even get much mail.
The 75 members of congress have written a letter calling for the establishment of what they refer to as a “new business model” for the P.O. “without closing offices and cutting its workforce.”
A new business model for the U.S. Post Office? That sounds cool. Like what, pray tell? One that doesn’t close offices or leave workers without jobs… I can’t wait to hear about this. I’m on pins and needles. I may have to wait, however, because the letter from the members of congress neglected to mention anything specific about the new model.
Now that I think about it, however, in my home town we’ve got three Post Offices within five miles of each other and I suppose we could get by with one in that space… so, maybe it’s a good thing. I’ll have to give it a bunch more thought… maybe take this whole week off and research the topic.
Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), also weighed in on this compelling topic, saying that it’s time for the administration and congress to “save the Postal Service and protect the more than seven million jobs that rely on it,” and honestly that really confused the heck out of me. I mean, if we shut down the two extra Post Offices in my neighborhood how would we save all of the jobs involved?
See, I think this is a big part of the problem in this country… we’ve gotten stupid… okay, maybe that’s too harsh… how about we’ve lost our critical thinking skills. We think we can cut the unnecessary spending out of the Post Office, but save the seven million associated jobs.
Here’s an idea… how about we cut the unnecessary fat and hire the resulting displaced workers to… hmmm… I’m not sure… maybe we could give them moving expenses on the condition they all move to Mexico? I don’t know… I’m just thinking out loud here.
Now, I’m no postal expert. Sure, I’ve bought a few stamps in my lifetime… shipped a package here and there. But, the fact is that the Post Office is used less than it has been in the past. Partially, that’s due to the Internet, electronic bill paying and the like. And our economic downturn has reduced the amount of bulk mail. So… all told… it’s not all that hard to see that we use and need less Post Office than in the past.
Obviously, Obama has been hard at work on this very important subject, and I think we have to give credit where credit is due. And he’s got more ideas than just cutting a day of mail delivery, oh yes he most certainly does. He’s also agreed that the nearly $7 billion that the Post Office has apparently overpaid to the federal retirement system should be refunded to the agency, which sounds like a good idea too. Overpaying does suck, after all, and I think everyone can agree on that point.
Obama also said that he thinks the Post Office’s advance funding of retiree medical benefits should be restructured and that the P.O. should be allowed to sell “non-postal products,” and raise postage rates.
I don’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to restructuring advance funding of retiree medical benefits, but I don’t think I’d be opposed to the agency selling “non-postal products.” Like maybe a really hip line of clothing would be cool… I might throw down a fifty for a pair of those very dapper grey-blue slacks my letter carrier often wears. And lately I’ve seen some fairly snazzy vests with the USPO logo.
Or, maybe they could sell those little Jeep-like cars with the steering wheel on the wrong side. I don’t know how much they cost or why I’d want one, but why not start offering them to the Brits? They drive on the wrong side of the road so the whole steering wheel on the wrong side thing wouldn’t be an issue.
And by all means… raise the postage rates… raise away. How much is a stamp now anyway. I couldn’t even guess. The last time I bought one was like in 1982. And whatever Bulk Rate postage is, increase it by all means. Less junk mail would be the likely result of such an increase, and that doesn’t seem like a bad thing. In fact, while they’re at it… up the taxes on telemarketing companies too… we could use less of that crap too.
I have to say how relieved I am that Obama is on the job as far as this obviously mission critical issue is concerned. And I’m grateful that the president has brought this issue to my attention because I’m ashamed to say that I was not nearly as focused on the whole Post Office thing as I quite obviously should have been.
You know, I consider myself a reasonably intelligent, politically active, and socially aware individual and it’s been sobering to discover that I have been entirely overlooking such a nationally important issue, while I’ve been frivolously fettering about worrying about such things as our economy’s deflationary collapse and the foreclosure crisis that continues to destroy the lives of millions of Americans.
It’s the Post Office, people… that’s where our attention needs to be focused… the Post Office. Let’s go postal people… that’s the ticket.
Maybe I’ve been too hard on President Obama. I’ve been criticizing his administration for ostensibly ignoring America’s homeowners while shoveling money at the very bankers who created our economic nightmare, but now I see clearly that I’ve been taking a far too cursory view of the issues this country is facing. And now I see that President Obama is actually on top of things… I mean, you need look no further than this Post Office situation.
Cut one day of mail delivery… it’s brilliant! Refund overpayments… of course! There’s the Obama I voted for… the smart president. And here I thought he was asleep at the switch and now I see clearly that I’ve been wrong… and it looks like the Post Office crisis is well on its way to being solved.
The Post Office… TPC… who would have ever thunk it?
Obama in 2012!
And please consider supporting the documentary I’m producing on the foreclosure crisis…
… because we can’t solve what we don’t understand in the first place.