Few Americans would argue that the American government does not have a fairly long list of enemies from around the world, but some of the government’s most dangerous enemies work in Washington and are on a crusade to take down the government. One part of the American government, the United States Postal Service, has elicited special attention from Republicans who boast they are “fighting Washington” as foes of the government, and on Friday slimy Darrell Issa was labeled “a pure enemy of the Postal Service” because he is on a crusade to destroy the agency and hand it to private industry.
The man who proclaimed Issa is a pure enemy of the Postal Service is American Postal Workers Union president Mark Dimondstein who was sounding the alarm over a pilot partnership between the USPS and Willard Romney’s old friend Staples, and warned it is a stalking horse for privatization. Dimondstein said “There hasn’t been a fight to defend the public good, and there hasn’t been a real fight around good jobs,” and said demonstrations outside Staples stores were the first of an escalating wave of protests to save the postal service. The pilot program is the USPS’s desperation attempt to stave off elimination by Republicans led by Darrell Issa who wants the 500,000 postal workers, and their union replaced with low wage retail workers and private delivery companies UPS, FedEx, and DHL.
The program gives the office supply giant authority to provide postal products and services while paying minimum wages that Dimondstein said is supplanting the responsibility of “postal employees in uniform, accountable to the people of the country and under oath of office, and fully trained to protect the privacy and the sanctity of the mail of the public.” Dimondstein acknowledged that the USPS is being forced to find the cheapest “labor doing all of those things instead” because the agency is under attack from Republicans who claim it is posting losses that are largely due to the absurd Republican law requiring the service to fund retiree benefits 75 years into the future. First, no postal employee will ever work for the USPS for 75 years, and second, the requirement demands funding for employees’ that have not yet been born, and third, Republicans make no such demand for any other entity that does work for the government; private or not.
The pre-funding requirement is an abomination that no company could survive, but that is the point of the Republican-passed 2006 law. Issa says he is not interested in destroying the postal service, but he is a liar. After the bipartisan budget deal stole government employees’ pensions, including military retirees, Issa proposed reinstating military retirees’ (only) pensions and paying for them by eliminating USPS Saturday deliveries. Issa continues to assert his primary concern is saving the profitable USPS, but making the agency pay for military retirees pensions Republicans just eliminated had nothing to do with “helping” the USPS. He was attempting to give UPS and FEDEX an inroad to take up what the postal service just lost. He cannot possibly claim his intent is not destroying the postal service when he, on the one hand, claims the USPS is unprofitable and then proposes stealing money from it to pay for reinstating military retirees’ pensions. There is only one goal for Issa and Republicans and it is handing over the postal service to private industry to destroy one of the few remaining large unions in America and eliminate 500,000 living wage jobs from the economy.
In 2010 Issa wrote in an editorial that the Post Office wants Americans’ money to protect its Constitutionally-mandated job because it asked Congress to delay requirements to pre-fund workers retirement for 75 years that would have prevented a $5.2 billion loss that year. It is worth repeating that the USPS would have posted a net profit of $600 million in 2013 without the pre-funding requirement. Issa claimed the USPS wants the American people to provide a “bailout,” and said that Congress has an obligation to fix the Postal Service’s budget imbalance not through a bailout, but through mandates to cut costs and revise labor agreements. Translation; cut costs by using private sector minimum wage workers that is the ultimate labor agreement revision. Issa said American taxpayers do not want to “bail out” the USPS because they cannot make a profit under the Republican pre-funding law, but he and his Republican cohort force American taxpayers to bail out, with subsidies, the highly profitable private oil industry, agricultural corporations, churches, and retail giants like WalMart and McDonald’s through low-wage subsidies food stamps and Medicaid.
Republicans are out to destroy the USPS because they employ over 500,000 Americans, many of them Veterans, who all happen to belong to a union and earn middle class incomes. The USPS would not have to “farm out” services to low-paying retail corporations like Staples if Republicans did not pass a requirement that no company on Earth could survive. Republicans knew the postal service would be profitable without the pre-funding requirement. One thing is certain, if it was a requirement they felt would help businesses, they would demand that churches, WalMart, McDonalds, the oil industry, and agricultural corporations that reap taxpayer subsidies while posting obscene profits follow the same requirements. The postal service is being singled out because workers make living wages, belong to unions, and are considered a government entity’s employees that put them squarely in the crosshairs for privatization Republicans are hastening by attempting to end Saturday delivery and completely phase out the postal service by 2022.
Republicans like Issa want to drive the USPS into bankruptcy to turn over constitutionally-required mail delivery to private enterprises like UPS and FEDEX who donate heavily to Republicans. Destroying the postal service is Republicans way of repaying the two private delivery companies for their continued campaign contributions, and as a special bonus they will decimate a half-a-million union jobs. Remember, Republicans want every American to work for minimum wage and join the ever-growing ranks of Americans living in poverty, and Dimondstein is absolutely correct that “There hasn’t been a fight to defend the public good, and there hasn’t been a real fight around good jobs.” Dimondstein said “The people, we think, will need to step up, and say ‘this is ours, and nobody’s going to take it away from us.” It is possible that the people will step up after a decade of Republicans taking everything away from them, and if there was ever a time to fight for good jobs, it is now when a half-a-million postal service employees are under assault from Republicans. All Republicans are enemies of the government, but the assault on the USPS’s by its pure enemy is, as Dimondstein said, “cynical and diabolical” but that is what Americans should expect from Congress’s slimiest criminal who was convicted of illegally carrying a concealed weapon, suspected of arson and stealing a car.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.