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Combating Postal Service Closings: The Wrong Battle

By   /   February 23, 2012  /   Comments


If you don’t subscribe to your elected official’s newsletters, you should. It’s very educational. In Congressman Bishop’s most recent email, there was an article titled, “Combating Postal Service Closings and Service Reductions”. Here it is in its entirety;

“Over the last several months, our congressional office has been aggressively fighting proposals from the United States Postal Service (USPS) to close approximately 3,700 postal facilities nationwide. Such a widespread closure of postal facilities could disproportionately harm Georgia’s rural communities, small businesses, seniors, and others, who rely heavily on the Postal Service to receive their mail, pay their bills, send correspondence, and obtain their prescription drug medications.

Late last year, our office joined other congressional offices in sending a letter to Postal Regulatory Chairwoman Ruth Goldway, expressing our concerns that closing thousands of postal facilities nationwide would adversely impact millions of Americans.

In a further effort to try to protect our nation’s post offices, I also co-sponsored H.R. 1351, the USPS Pension Obligation Recalculation and Restoration Act of 2011. The goal of the legislation is to help put the Postal Service back on track to fiscal solvency so that it does not have to close post offices in order to cut its budget costs.”

The very first sentence tells you all you need to know about the dysfunctional mess we call Washington DC. The Congressman’s staff feels it is important for you to know that they are “aggressively fighting proposals” from USPS. All the postal service is trying to do is be more efficient in their mail delivery service, and stay in budget. But they are taking on USPS in this fight because as it states, the constituents “rely heavily on the Postal Service to receive their mail, pay their bills, send correspondence, and obtain their prescription drug medications”. Forget the fact that USPS cannot continue to provide those services unchanged, without going further into debt. Forget the fact that there are several private postal companies out there offering most of the same services, or that much of what use to transpire through the mail is now done online. Forget all that. The people have come to “rely” on this service, and budgets be dammed, we are going to make sure they keep relying on it because elected officials rely on those votes. We know this dance.

Here’s a thought; instead of “aggressively fighting” USPS for trying to work within their budget, why not spend the same time, energy, and resources fighting to get Congress to do the same? Maybe that’s too close to home for most elected officials, or maybe that seems like spitting in the ocean, and it’s easier to target something specific like mail service to look frugal with the people’s money. Back in the 90s I was making more than I am today. I went out to eat more, took vacations more often, and splurged on my kids more. Today, with the budget tightened a bit, those habits have been unlearned. It’s call living within your means. If our elected officials want to slay the real dragon in the cave, stop preaching to others about cost savings, and boasting to the voters that you are going to save their Saturday mail delivery, until you’ve managed to come up with a practical budget for the government to operate on. It’s hard to take someone serious on money and budget matters when they seem unable to deal with their own.

But what is the government’s answer to the postal service problem? Why more government, of course. To quote Gomer Pyle; “Surprise, surprise, surprise!” They’ve offered up H.R. 1351, the USPS Pension Obligation Recalculation and Restoration Act of 2011. They can couch it all sorts of verbiage, but there is only one way to maintain the current level of services now offered by USPS; you have to pay for it. And by “you” I mean anyone paying taxes. So subscribe to your representative’s newsletter and stay in the loop as best as you can. When you get your first email from them, you can reply and use it as exhibit one in the debate over why the postal service has to change with the times.

Lon McNeil is an independent marketing consultant in Albany and can be reached at lonmcneil@gmail.com.


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