Friday, Apr 28, 2017, 1:30 pm
Hey Corporate Media, Quit Talking S#&* About the U.S. Postal Service
Journalism, which is supposed to help make sense of our turbulent world, can't seem to make sense of itself. In addition to “news” (which involves reporting on stuff that's real) we're now getting "fake news" (stuff that's completely made up). But wait—the barons of corporate news are adding to today's tumultuous state of journalism by putting out feeds of “BS news” (stuff they know is untrue but reported as fact, because it advances their political agenda).
For example, the mighty Washington Post (owned by Jeff Bezos) keeps publishing a load of BS to denigrate our U.S. Post Office. The paper's latest pot shot was in an alarmist editorial declaring, “The U.S. Postal Service continues to hemorrhage red ink.” Embracing their owner's anti-government ideology, the editors grumped that postal unions have made our mail service outmoded and insolvent, running up “a net loss of $5.6 billion last year.”
That is pure bovine excrement—and the editors know it. In fact, thanks to our amazing, innovative and efficient postal workers, the nation's public post offices racked up a $610 million operating profit last year, and a $1.2 billion profit the year before. The $5 billion in red ink that the paper's editorial propagandists touted is not real, but instead, is a deliberate bookkeeping hoax created by Congress to make the public think that our Post Office is a hopeless money loser that should be privatized.
In 2006, Congress piled an artificial “loss” on the Postal Service by decreeing that it must pre-fund the healthcare costs of future retirees 75 years in advance. That includes retirees who're not even born yet! No other agency and no other corporation—including Amazon (owned by Jeff Bezos)—could survive if Congress added a $5-billion-a-year fictitious loss to their books. Yet, in a shameful piece of BS journalism, the Post intentionally ignored the true story.
What the Post should have covered was this: While a half-dollar hardly counts as money these days—it no longer buys even a small cup of coffee. But... there is an amazing half-dollar bargain out there: a first-class postage stamp. For 50 cents, you get the stamp, 3-cents in change, and so much more. Stick it on an envelope, drop your missive in a mailbox, and America's phenomenal network of post office workers and letter carriers will deliver it in short order to your addressee in any of the 43,000 zip codes of this vast country, from New York City's tallest building to a village on the floor of the Grand Canyon.
Our public Postal Service literally delivers, and many of our post offices serve as treasured community centers—two reasons that the U.S. mail service consistently ranks highest among all federal agencies in public support. So, naturally, it must be decimated and ultimately eliminated.
What the Post won't be covering is what passes for logic in the back rooms of our Koch-headed Congress and in the boardrooms of many predatory corporations. They keep demonizing anything public—especially any public service that works and is popular—because the corporate powers and the congress critters they buy in bulk are determined to privatize government. So, these profiteers and plutocratic ideologues constantly put out propaganda like the Post article, castigating the Postal Service as a massive, money-sucking, deteriorating, bureaucratic behemoth.
But here are a few facts they don't want you to realize: One, this public agency provides affordable mail service to all, in every community; two, it does this without a dime of taxpayer money, financing its entire operation with the sale of stamps and services like bulk mail; and three, it provides hundreds-of-thousands of solid middle-class jobs spread throughout every zip code.
To help keep this public jewel out of the hands of a few greed-headed, price-gouging, low-wage, tax-dodging corporations, support “A Grand Alliance To Save Our Public Post Offices.”
(To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.)
Like what you’ve read? Subscribe to In These Times magazine, or make a tax-deductible donation to fund this reporting.
Jim Hightower is the author of six books, including Thieves in High Places (Viking 2003). A well-known populist and former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, he currently writes a nationally-syndicated column carried by 75 publications. He also writes a monthly newsletter titled The Hightower Lowdown, and contributes to the Progressive Populist.
More by Jim Hightower
- News Flash: Wage Workers and Immigrants Didn’t Create Our “Corporate Kleptocracy”
- Hey Corporate Media, Quit Talking S#&* About the U.S. Postal Service
- The Next Farm Crisis is Here and Farmers Can No Longer Afford to Be Ignored
- The ‘Sharing Economy’ Is a Sham for Workers
- Why Bernie Sanders Will, Should and Must Refuse To Drop Out Against Hillary Clinton