Darrell Issa Has Sleazy Plan to Restore Veterans’ Pensions By Privatizing the Post Office

Issa Mail

The concept behind the idiom  “every cloud has a silver lining” is that there is always something good in unpleasant situations, and Republicans are notorious for finding something good for their corporate supporters in unpleasant situations they created. Darrell Issa created a so-called scandal with the Internal Revenue Service when he directed them to target teabagger groups seeking 501(C) tax-exemptions, and then turned it into something good for him and dark money groups by investigating the IRS for targeting teabaggers that filled his campaign coffers. Late last week, Issa found a silver lining in another unpleasant situation for military retirees whose pensions are being raided by Republicans in their two-year austerity budget and is turning it into an opportunity to kill Veterans’ jobs, harm the United States Postal Service, and give two corporations control of a government program.

When Republicans demanded payment for relieving 4/10ths of one percent of sequestration cuts for the next two years, they raided government employee’s pensions instead of closing tax loopholes that benefit the richest 1% of income earners. Forcing the middle class, working poor, and elderly Americans to pay for the debt the 1% blew up when Republicans gave them unfunded tax cuts has been a recurring practice over the past five years so it was little surprise Republicans took aim at government employees’ pensions to cover sequestration cuts. However, when they robbed government employees they were also stealing from military retirees and after pressure from veterans, they are seeking another program to slash to restore military retirees’ pensions. All other government employees will continue paying the wealthys’ share of sequester relief and Issa targeted a government program he hates to pay for restoring military pensions; the United States Postal Service.

Issa has made no secret that, like all Republicans, dismantling the Postal Service to give UPS and Federal Express control over delivering the mail is a major step towards privatizing the entire U.S. government. It is not that privatizing the Postal Service will improve mail and parcel delivery; the recent holiday debacle disabused conservatives of the notion that private companies outperform government agencies.  UPS botched last-minute holiday deliveries, and Federal Express (FedEx) was forced to apologize for late-arriving packages; the U.S. Postal Service had a stellar performance record over the holidays. Still, Republicans are Hell-bent on destroying the USPS and Issa came up with a solution that hastens privatizing the Postal Service and restoring military pensions Republicans raided to protect the rich from tax loophole reform.

On Friday, Issa introduced legislation to repeal military pension cuts and pay for them by eliminating the Postal Service’s Saturday deliveries. Issa boasts that not only will dealing another blow to the Postal Service pay for restoring military pensions, it will cut the deficit, but that is not the intent of his legislation. No-one argues eliminating the pension cuts is a bad idea, but Republicans will only eliminate the cuts if they can burden government workers and Veterans with more austerity rather than inconvenience multimillionaires like Darrell Issa.  In Issa’s mind ending Saturday deliveries is a way to repeal the pension cuts and still burden government workers and Veterans by killing their jobs in the short term and privatize the USPS faster than Republicans ever dreamed possible.

Issa knows that ending weekend mail delivery will destroy the postal service’s ability to meet shipping and communication demands of the 21st Century and deliver the result he and his Republican cohort will embrace wholeheartedly. It would mean an immediate shift of mail and parcel traffic to UPS and FedEx that both contribute heavily to Republicans, but fail miserably at providing universal, low-cost service that has been the hallmark of the USPS throughout its existence. However, Issa’s legislation has more good news for Republicans besides hastening Postal Service privatization and it is a defining trait of Republicans since gaining control of the House in 2010; killing jobs. And it is not just killing jobs, it is killing government jobs and as a value added treat for Republicans, it is killing Veterans’ jobs.

Historically, the Postal Service is the nation’s second largest employer of Veterans behind the Defense Department. In fact, more than 20% of USPS employees, over 120,000, have military service records and about a third of those are rated as 30% or more disabled revealing that of all the nation’s businesses, the Postal Service goes to extraordinary lengths to provide good living wage jobs and accommodations for the nation’s Veterans. Issa knows that cuts to the USPS, like ending Saturday deliveries, is  a giant step toward eliminating an agency renowned for helping Veterans due to its policies and support from unions representing postal employees, a third who are Veterans, but there are just too many positives for despicable Republicans to pass up by privatizing the Postal Service.

Democrats in Congress have offered a solution to strengthen the USPS, and restore military retirees’ benefits by passing the Military Retirement Restoration Act introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen. The Massachusetts Democrat proposes repealing the part of the austerity budget that cuts military retiree and disabled Veterans’ benefits and offsets the $6 billion cost by ending off-shore tax havens for American corporations that incorporate offshore to claim “foreign” status and avoid paying taxes. Shaheen’s legislation is co-sponsored by Senator Tammy Baldwin who said the provision will raise more than $6.6 billion over ten years and is “a common sense measure built on the idea that everyone needs to pay their fair share. By closing this one corporate tax loophole, we can ensure our military veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned and deserve.” It also saves the USPS from Issa’s privatization scheme, preserves Veterans’ and half-a-million postal workers’ jobs, and ensures every American that their mail will be delivered reliably.

Issa’s proposal informs that there is no bad Republican legislation that he, or any Republican, cannot make worse to satisfy their dirty machinations to privatize the government, kill Americans’ jobs, repay UPS and FedEx for campaign donations, deprive Americans of reliable mail delivery, and punish Veterans; all the while portraying the privatization scheme as restoring Veteran’s benefits Republicans stole in the first place. Darrell  Issa has a criminal history and it has been painfully obvious he brought that mindset to Congress; particularly since he has been Chairman of the House Oversight Committee. He benefitted from instructing the IRS to investigate teabagger groups and he is attempting to benefit from Republicans’ attempt to steal government employees, including Veterans’, pensions, and it leads one to suspect that maybe cutting military pensions was part of the Republican plan to dismantle the Postal Service all along.

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