Regulation is good if you can bust a union

As we see, regulation is good as long as Republicans like Darrell Issa can use it to bust a union! Of course, this doesn’t really address the insidious idea that a former federal agency is supposed to fund itself. (That same kind of thinking has led to hobbled Amtrak service throughout the country.) It’s not as if everyone doesn’t use the mail — it’s part of the common good. (Yeah, I know. Republicans hate that!)

In the richest country in the world, we’re about to lose the postal service because it doesn’t make money. Imagine if we asked the military to fund itself.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) introduced legislation Thursday to restructure the U.S. Postal Service, saying more regulation is necessary to “prevent another taxpayer bailout” of the financially strapped agency.

The bill would eliminate Saturday delivery and give the Postal Service greater latitude to close post offices and regional mail processing centers. A panel would be created to oversee the agency, modeled on the District of Columbia’s Financial Control Board, with a broad mandate to reduce costs and bring the agency back to financial solvency. “Congress can’t keep kicking the can down the road on out-of-control labor costs and excess infrastructure of USPS,” Issa said in a statement.

The panel also would have authority to renegotiate collective-bargaining agreements with postal workers, a provision that will draw stiff opposition from unions. If the bill becomes law, employees will probably see reductions in their wages and benefits.

The plan from the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform would eventually save the Postal Service $6 billion a year. It comes on the heels of the agency’s announcement that it plans to suspend its contributions to the pensions of thousands of workers to help stem billions of dollars in losses.

Postal officials said they agree with some provisions in the bill; the agency proposed eliminating Saturday delivery several years ago. But they said Issa wrongly assumes the agency’s path to financial stability lies in more regulation. “The opposite is true,” the agency said in a statement. “Our financial instability is the result of dramatic loss in volumes, coupled with restrictions imposed by Congress that have prevented the Postal Service from adequately responding to those losses in a business-like fashion.”

4 thoughts on “Regulation is good if you can bust a union

  1. C’mon Suzie. When is the last time you actually wrote a letter to somebody?

    The postal service has been in trouble for a long, long time, and their union isn’t helping any, and neither is their management.

  2. In a free market, if you are losing business to competition, what do you do? Is it generally a good idea to raise prices and cut service?

    And at what point in our history did we decide that a public service had to be self-sustaining in revenue? If left up to “private” corporations, lots of needed services are not profitable except within certain densely populated areas. Left up to the needs of private profit there would be no electricity, telephones, water, garbage collection or rural mail delivery over vast areas of the country, just as there is still no cable television or broadband internet in many places to this day.

    It was necessary for public entities to be created with tax subsidies to create the infrastructure and prove that there was a need and a market for these things. Only later, when the government had done the work and borne the risk did private corporations want to push their way in and take these things over to make money off of people they never cared about before.

  3. Unlike private enterprise, the post office still delivers 6 days a week to every community in the country. Their Priority Mail is as good or better than UPS or Fed-Ex. And when I have no choice but to use UPS or Fed-Ex, they drop their packages at the the post office who delivers the final lap to my door.

  4. Our Founding Fathers realized that information was essential to an educated public necessary to maintain a representative democratic republic. That’s why the postal service is enshrined in the original Constitution. Even before they decided a free press was also essential, they required the government to run the post office.

    And Pragmatic Realist is right: It was considered so essential it was not required to be a profit center nor was it set up as some sort of money-making endeavor.

    I don’t sent as many letters, but do use the post office’s services, especially their Priority Mail. My written letters are usually for special occasions or for get well or condolence letters/notes/cards.

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