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Stamp out career politicians to save the Postal Service

May 6, 2012

The U.S. Postal Service gives us a wonderful lesson about the inefficiency of government and the essential corruption of America’s broken politics.

Because it has historically been funded by the government, the Postal Service never had to be efficient or innovative.  It became so top-heavy, politics-driven and union-dominated that it couldn’t compete with sharp newcomers like Federal Express and UPS.

In an attempt to take out some of the politics and allow the Postal Service to become competitive, it became an “independent agency” of government — but still subject to congressional control.  That means the politicians are still in charge — and still actively blocking meaningful progress.

The Postal Service’s board of governors wants to make some of the tough decisions that are needed to make the agency competitive — such as closing some post offices and phasing out Saturday delivery.

Standing in the way are the career politicians — both Democrats and Republicans — on Capitol Hill.   The Democrats want to prevent or delay the closing of 252 unsustainable mail-processing centers and 3,700 unsustainable post offices.  The Republicans aren’t much better; they want to delay the necessary cost-cutting.  Incredibly, both parties want  to plow another $11 billion (of our hard-earned tax money) into the Post Service so it can continue to operate inefficiently.  In fact, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties — they’re both incredibly irresponsible.

The politicians and their taxpayer-provided PR hacks profess to be worried about how rural communities might be hurt without a post office.  Baloney. They are really worried about their next election.  Democrats don’t want to cross the union lobbyists who provide funding for their campaigns, and Republicans don’t want to cross the business lobbyists who provide funding for their campaigns.  Both parties know that taxpayers are easily distracted by political rhetoric, while lobbyists have the money and never forget.

So, there’s no serious disagreement among the Democrats and Republicans when it comes to plowing another $11 billion of our taxpayer money into the Postal Service.  Their fight is mostly about silly issues like how much longer to continue Saturday deliveries — when they should instead be considering bold solutions that would make a real difference — such as cutting postal deliveries to Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.  Or even selling the Postal Service entirely and using the money to reduce the federal debt.

But tough decisions require guts.  Today’s politicians don’t have any, because they have turned politics into a lucrative perks-and-pension-laden career instead of a public service — all at taxpayer expense.

At some point, taxpayers must wake up.  As suggested in the Career Politicians chapter in the Fixing American’s Broken Politics book, we could begin by eliminating all pensions and benefits for elected officials — to make public service once again a short-term sacrifice instead of a life-long career.

  1. Tim permalink

    I don’t see how eliminating more jobs helps anyone in the long run. There is too much of that going on within all major sectors of business. Less employed equals less tax revenue and more burden for those still enployed. Listenting to a lot of talk show hosts, i.e. Shawn Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and the like insist that the top 1 percent pay 60 percent of the income tax burden. My take is that if that is actually true and the top 1 percent are still millionaires/billionaires, then there is too much disparity between working people and their pay. Is this really what the upper 1 percent want for America. If I were in the upper 1 percent I would not want to live in a country where the vast population is living in borderline poverty and have to look out my front window and see that. Over the past several decades, pay between CEO’s and the workers has gotten out of control, from over the top executive bonuses to outrageous salaries. I am not saying that CEO’s don’t work, but honestly the people at the bottom work just as hard in most cases. I am not looking for a handout and I don’t think Americans in general are either. As a CEO I would not want to see my people struggling while I am sitting in my million dollar house and my workers are trying to figure out how to pay their electric bill for the month, or put food on the table. Facts are facts, the difference in pay is tearing this country further apart. The general public needs to be get us out of this mess. Executives need to take a pay cut themselves and hire people to help this economy. All the double talk between the upper 1 percent and trying to pacify the worker with an occasional donut day doesn’t cut it anymore. There needs to be a little bit more respect for the lower income wage earner, because after all, without them you don’t have a business.


  2. Good comments, Tim. I agree entirely that big company CEO pay is ridiculous, and I address this issue in the “Big Business” chapter of the book. I think you’ll like the “Economics” chapter, too. Thanks for caring!- Joe.


    • Tim permalink

      Thanks for the response. I wasn’t expecting it. Maybe I will pick up your book. Thanks again.


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