Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood?

I waved at the mailman the other day.

It was a rather involuntary action. I saw the oddly shaped truck ambling down the road. I felt an impulse to offer a friendly gesture, to wish the person well, even though I have never met him and would not know him if he were standing with me on line at the Lady Gaga concert. I waved because it’s rather ingrained in me to feel kindly toward the mailman.

When we are young, at least when I was young, muchh of the media we were exposed to is meant to engender respect and honor for a few civil professions. For some reason, at the top of that list of professions? Yeah, you got it. The mailman. Don’t believe me? Who’s the first person Bob and the Muppet sing about here (besides the laundry man and Santa)?

There is something intrinsically wholesome about the United States Postal Service. It is specifically provided for in the Constitution. It is, in fact, older than the country itself and is the oldest postal system of its kind in the world. And it is about to get frittered away.

In the midst of this insane drive for “austerity” among phony cries from Republigoats regarding the nation’s debt, Congress proposes draconian cuts to this service. They want to close post offices, to cut Saturday delivery, to lay off carriers.

These are the logical results of a long-time effort to run the USPS “more like a business” rather than more like a vital piece of national infrastructure. It would be easy to blame the service’s shortfalls on the advent of e-mail and social media. But an absurd, onerous requirement that the post office pre-fund future retirees’ health benefits until 2017 is the real boot on its neck. USPS must pay out of its operating budget between $5.3 to $5.8 billion annually to pre-fund retirees’ pension funds.

This cynical requirement is certainly not necessary. It is clearly directed at hobbling the USPS, part of a longtime war on government infrastructure and, in particular, on unions.

That is how weird the politics of these Untied States of America have gotten. People are cheering the probably demise of the post office. You can reliably and securely transport a piece of paper anywhere in the country for fourty-four cents in two days or less fewer, yet there’s a contingent in this country who thinks that sucks because there’s not some fat white guy somewhere siphoning off a million dollars an hour in stock options. And yet, getups like UPS and FedEx would be nowhere without the United States Postal Service. Unlike those for-profit enterprises, the USPS has a mandate to deliver to anywhere in these Untied States. That means you, Chanute, Kansas.

In fact. The United States Post Office gets the handoff from the for-profit bozos for 25 percent of their business. Which makes me wonder why in hell the CEOs of those two companies aren’t yelling rather loudly about this current state of affairs.

Let the brainwashing commence, though, I guess. Yes, you’re right, nothing is worth done if somebody isn’t sponging up a fat profit from it; and the free market can solve any problem and has your best interest at heart. Why would I want my mail delivered by an government agency where I can call my congressman and complain if my Post Office doesn’t do right by me when I can have completely unaccountable CEOs run everything instead? The post office is socialism. The post office is socialism. Infrastructure is stupid and who cares.

This country has lost its damned mind.

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