Trump’s War Against the Post Office
I am about to go postal over Donald John Trump’s fatuous maligning of another American institution. You may be wondering why our President doesn’t like the US Postal Service (USPS). He’s probably unaware about how this government facility works, but nonetheless he’s been slapping them around for years. Here’s the truth about why that is.
Donald Trump has said, “The Postal Service is a joke!” Even though his administration could be described the same way, Trump has a bee in his bonnet and is obsessed with one of the oldest services in America. The United States Postal Service, simply called “the Post Office” by many, is an independent agency of the Executive Branch of the US federal government. It is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution. So, unless Donald J. Trump thinks he’s going to change the Constitution, the US Mail will survive, but he’s changing things and trying to hurt it.
Trump suffers from what I call “destructive capitalism.” This should not be confused with “destructive creation,” which refers to circumstances in which innovation results in more damage than benefits. For example, if you were once a bowling pin setter, when automation came along you were no longer needed. Trump honestly believes that every part of the government, from domestic services to foreign relations to trade, should make a profit. He would rather hurt another country with a “win-lose” deal than figure out a mutually beneficial plan.
Money is Trump’s father, son and holy ghost. He goes crazy when he sees someone like Jeff Bezos making more money than he and family nets. People claim Donald Trump is worth $2.1 billion, while many experts believe Jeff Bezos’ worth is over $178.2 billion. When Bezos bought the Washington Post newspaper, Trump decided that Amazon and Bezos were out to get him. There is some reason to believe that when Jeff Bezos phone was hacked and the story of his affair and subsequent divorce was leaked to the press, Trump’s friends were behind the breach and blackmailing.
Trump has a thing about the Postal Service because Amazon had been using it for years to deliver tons of Amazon packages. Postal workers were making oodles of overtime pay to deliver them on Saturdays and Sundays. Trump probably doesn’t see the strange arrangement the USPS has with Congress. Unlike other services and departments, they are set up as a “self-sufficient” entity with no tax dollars used to cover their overruns and blistering budgets.
The USPS has 31,000 post offices and another 4,000 contractor-run mail shops, each with their own overhead costs. I thought that the post offices, each having their own zip code, would have been great COVID-19 testing stations, but then, I am a creative capitalist. Now, let’s get back to the economics of the Post Office.
The Postal Service has 300,000 fewer employees than it did twenty years ago, but it still retains 500,000 people and has 600,000 retirees who receive health and pension benefits. They also are unionized. Trump doesn’t want to push the union out; he simply wants to make them another whipping boy.
The US Postal Service lost $8.8 billion in fiscal 2019, which is more than double its losses of the previous year. It makes some sense that a service which charges money should be able to figure out a way to compete. This is especially true since there is only one postal service. But wait, that isn’t quite true. The mega corporations UPS and FedEx deliver packages and, indeed, letters and documents. Let’s also not forget that Amazon has its own delivery force out there every day.
Every country I have ever visited has a postal service. It’s the way letters and notices of official purpose get delivered. A postal service legally documents that something was sent and received. In addition to the USPS not making money, Trump sees a buttload of money going to Bezos and he’s miffed about that. He wants the Post Office to raise its rates.
This new tick Trump has about mail-in voting being a corrupt conspiracy against Republicans, especially him, should sound a siren in your brain. The Donald knows that his goose is cooked, and he’s plotting the excuse he will use when he loses the election. He will also declare the election is invalid. The Post Office is just a convenient place for Trump to stop the COVID motivated march to all mail-in ballots, which would actually be more robust in terms of security and reporting results.
We know that a recent Republican attempt to corrupt mail-in voting in Paterson, New Jersey was caught by, wait for it, postal workers. Yes, they found a bundle of ballots, and after an investigation four people were arrested on charges of fraud in casting mail-in votes, unauthorized possession of ballots and falsifying or tampering with public records. Those arrested included the Patterson’s City Council Vice President, a guy named Michael Jackson. No, I am not making this up.
In 2018, there was absentee mail in ballot corruption in North Carolina, in which Leslie McCrae Dowless was charged with two counts of felony obstruction of justice, perjury, solicitation to commit perjury, conspiracy to obstruct justice and illegal possession of absentee ballots. The investigation caused the election results to be overturned and a new election took place.
So, there are two cases which Trump often cites that involved Republicans. Both were discovered and both produced prosecutions. The Post Office is not the problem. Trump is.
One of my friends used to be a letter carrier and I asked him what is going on. He was not happy for his comrades. The rank and file are dismayed by Trump’s new pick for Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy. He’s another financial contributor to Trump with no knowledge of how the Postal Service works, but it is surely doing his bidding. In an early move, DeJoy ended the same day guarantee service for all those Amazon packages, and that took a bunch of overtime pay from the guys and ladies of the USPS. Next, with pandemic hitting the postal service harder than most companies, they are forced into limited service. If you haven’t noticed, the money-making junk mail marketing letters and flyers are way down. States used the USPS to deliver their mail-in ballots, but many didn’t arrive on time. This shocking story by NPR details how many ballots were rejected because they were late.
Rather than fix this problem, Congress is sitting on their hands and Trump is going to blow up the USPS. That man knows how to complain but he has absolutely NO ABILITY to fix. He’s a useless human being, and he’s fat. There, I feel much better now. I’m headed to the mailbox to see what was delivered today.
The book that tells it like it is…
Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conservation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”