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Saw this speech by Rep. Peter DeFazio while wandering around some Postal Service blogs today. I'm not sure the dire situation can be described more clearly.

Transcript for those who can't see the video:

“Later today, something stunning is going to happen that will catch many Americans by surprise. The so-called Postmaster General is going to announce details that will lead to the end of the United States Postal Service and universal postal delivery in this country.

“This is an incredible blow to our economy. They are talking about closing processing centers. Let me just be specific. In my area, they are talking about closing the Eugene-Springfield processing center.

That means if I mail a letter from Springfield to Eugene, which is six or seven miles away, it will be carried by truck to Portland, Oregon and sorted there and trucked back down, sometime, that week.

“They are saying they will no longer guarantee one day or two-day delivery on first class mail. We don't have Saturday delivery under this plan, so if you mail a letter or a bill on Wednesday, it won't get there until the next Monday. They will drive more people to use the services that have cut into their revenues.

“But some people don't have that option and some things are essential to commerce in this country. There are many, many businesses that will be affected by these delays. Things like prescription drugs or Netflix mailing DVDs or people buying things on eBay and these things will flood over to U.P.S. and FedEx and further undermine USPS revenues.

“The so-called Postmaster General, who should be fired because of a lack of any imagination or initiative, is proposing the death knell for the postal service. One hundred thousand people will be laid off. And then he is going to close local post offices. Talk about Tiller, OR in my district. Tiller is sixteen miles to the next town on a windy road subject to heavy rain, subject to black ice and snow in the winter time. Generally elderly population and generally not very affluent.  These sorts of closures that will save miniscule amounts of money for the Post Office are going to be death knell blows to small rural communities across America.

“Weekly periodicals. Seven to nine days for your weekly periodicals, that's going to do a great thing for the remaining periodical industry. And again, driving people to look for alternatives that will further undermine their revenues.

“I don't think there could be a more short sighted proposal. There is plenty of blame going around because this congress has failed to act. The postal service overpaid $7 billion into a federal retirement account but the Republicans are refusing to give the money back to the post office. They would rather lay off 100,000 people and they think somehow the private sector will take this over. Tell me who in the private sector is going to deliver a letter for 45 cents to a small rural community 40 or 100 miles from the nearest sorting facility? That’s not going to happen. These people will be deprived of any meaningful service. There are other critical reforms that could be undertaken short of dismantling, killing the United States Postal Service. If these proposals go forward and this congress continues to fail to act, the Postmaster General gets to continue to put in place his vision of a future for the postal service, and the White House continues to be silent, we will no longer have a postal service in this country.

“That would be an incredible blow to our economy, future and prestige of the United States of America. We will be the first developed nation on earth without a postal service just like we are without universal health care. We're the best."

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Comment Preferences

  •  2013 is only two years away (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    avsp, Illinois IRV

    If Newt wins the election... hey, it could happen.

  •  WHY isn't this getting huge media attention? (5+ / 0-)

    I don't get it.   :-/    The ripple effects are going to be felt from here out.    Time to pressure Congress to remove the oppressive recent requirement to fund so far into the future and give this national institution the support it deserves.    I hadn't realized it was founded by verbage in the Constitution until Rachel mentioned it.  
    'Through wind and sleet and snow...', surely we can raise our voices in (loud) protest for this.

  •  Two great errors - one the $7 Billion (5+ / 0-)

    The other a failure to grant the USPS the rights to provide services outside their hisotorically limited brief.

    Contrast with some other countries that allow their Postal Service to engage in telecommunications. Had such an expansive model been adopted by Congress then USPS could be in the business of providing internet service into rural America, today, exactly when it is most needed.

    For the people, and for the economy.

    Rick Perry executed a man ... just to watch him die

    by ItsSimpleSimon on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 11:34:29 AM PST

    •  The USPS inspector general (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      avsp, ItsSimpleSimon, icemilkcoffee

      produced a report about changing the nature and mission of the USPS.  Part 1 is here, and Part 2 of the report is here.  Essentially, he proposes doing just what you describe-- making the USPS a place to conduct financial business for those who don't have bank accounts.

      "Do I have any regrets about the hard votes I took?" No. Not at all...and I never will. --Mary Jo Kilroy

      by Kurt from CMH on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 11:49:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  add another (5+ / 0-)

      The 75-year pension pre-funding.  As the NALC notes, they're forced to set aside retirement funds for employees-to-be who haven't yet been born.

      grok the "edku" -- edscan's "revelation", 21 January 2009

      by N in Seattle on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 12:27:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  THIS is the issue. The 12/2006 hatchet job (4+ / 0-)

        by outgoing RePub majority on USPS:

        They also point to a 2006 law that forced the USPS to become the only agency required to fund 75 years of retiree health benefits over just a 10-year span, and say the law’s requirements account for 100 percent of the service’s $20 billion in losses over the previous four years, without which the service would have turned a profit.

        Repubs are doing this to 1) get their hands on this pile of loot and 2) break the USPS (largest unionized US govt segment) and 3) hurt another segment of once middle-class Americans.

        It is necessary that laws should be passed to prohibit the use of corporate funds directly or indirectly for political purposes; it is still more necessary that such laws should be thoroughly enforced. - Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

        by JVolvo on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 03:23:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Opps, forgot link to Democracy Now article (0+ / 0-)

          Heck, there's tons of sources for this 2006 RePub knifing of USPS:
          Teh Google Search

          It is necessary that laws should be passed to prohibit the use of corporate funds directly or indirectly for political purposes; it is still more necessary that such laws should be thoroughly enforced. - Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

          by JVolvo on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 03:58:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  excellent point, and yes we should have. (0+ / 0-)

      England: GPO, General Post Office, also ran the telegraphs and telephones.  The latter were spun off as BT, British Telecom, and exist to this day.

      France: PTT, Post, Telegraph, and Telephone: same thing.

      Germany: DBP, Deutsche BundesPost: same thing.

      The Netherlands: also PTT, Post, Telegraph, and Telephone.

      There are/were many many others.  

      These entities were a little slow on adopting more modern technologies, but once they caught up, they took off.  For example France PTT's "MiniTel" service was the forerunner of the internet as a social tool, and it was a major success.  

      Something else to think about:

      With the Post Office running the internet, all of the private-sector surveillance and invasion of privacy that we "take for granted" today, would not have been possible.  Spam would not have been possible.  

      So perhaps this is something we can put on our progressive agenda for 2012 after we vanquish the Newt to the swamp:

      Have the Post Office become a major telecommunications carrier.  Including telephone, as well as internet.  The whole thing can actually end up earning a profit for the government, and once it does, nobody will dare screw around with it.  

      "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 09:16:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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