IndyInfo Article: October/December Issue under the title “The Postal Crisis: The Issues”
see also previous post/article here: “The Postal Crisis: The Issues”
Is It the Recession?
Whenever the Postmaster addresses Congress, makes a video or gives an interview it is sometimes hard to tell if he’s trying to save the post office or sell it off. Blame it on the recession, low volume or the internet one minute then blame it on labor cost, manpower the next.
It is interesting that everything the Postal Service is asking Congress for and everything that the Congressional right-wing is advocating for has been on their agenda over the last 10-30 years! Apparently the recession driven drop in volume is a convenient catalyst to their public argument that the post office is poor performing, bloated and wasteful in spite of the fact that it is the only successful self-sustaining government entity in this countries history.
As problematic as some of the items mentioned above are they do not require the dismantling of the Postal Service, nor do they warrant the attacks on postal workers and their collective bargaining rights. The post office can weather those storms and continue on.
It Is Not The Recession.
To understand how we got here, where things have gotten so bad so quickly, you need to strain your memory and remember all the bad decisions and choices upper management has made since you have been at the Post Office. You then have to look at all of the political attacks that have occurred through the Presidents Commission on Postal Reform, Senate Bill 1507, etc. and most importantly the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA).
Now compare how things have changed:
Now add the observations above, your knowledge of the inaccuracy and misleading statements from politicians and consider this:
How Privatization Works:
Is It About Privatizing?
Since President Ronald Reagan floated the ideal of Postal Privatization it has been out there, it has not gone away it has just gone unnoticed. It has been the great conspiracy to unionist and the mythical 'boogie-man' to skeptical postal workers, but the threat is real.
Most postal workers see little logic in the ideal that any private company would want to take over any of the non-revenue producing postal operations. It doesn't make since to privatize when the majority of operations would have to go back on the tax roles as the few revenue producing operations were sold off. But it doesn't have to make since it just has to make money for the special interest. An uninformed public would be none-the-wiser.
While some privatization of some government services does make since most of it is a smoke screen for creating profit opportunities at the expense of government services. The privatization of the postal service would not necessarily be a case of revenue generating operations being sold off to profiteers and the postal workers who survived the lay-offs being moved to non-revenue operation as government paid postal employees.
The ideal that corporate America could not find a way to make money off of the non-revenue generating operations such as transportation and plant operations is short sighted. Evidence of how it could be done is already in existence, it’s called sub-contracting.
The privatization of the postal service could create an industry that would rival the military industrial complex of the cold-war era. Postal employees who are gambling on surviving the take-down of the post office are going to be in for the same shock that tax payers will realize when the dust settles.
I have gone through privatization before (as a city employee), but I don't have a crystal ball, so I can't say exactly what will happen. I can only speculate what might happen and tell you that while the above is a worst case scenario I can guarantee you that privatization is never fair, seldom predictable and always politically motivated. The threat is real and all you have to do to see it is look at the logic and implementation of the PAEA, its devastating effect on our revenue and the never ending right-wing assault on unions, public employees and the Postal Service.
While I am willing to go deeper into the motives behind privatization and other ways it could play out those are arguments for another article at another time.
The Attacks Continue: H.R.2309