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Darrell Issa's Cruelest Cut: A Seriously Cynical Attack on the Postal Service

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Source: The Nation


Darrell Issa
(Image by (Credit: Jeff Malet, maletphoto.com))
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House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-California, has made no secret of his desire to diminish and dismantle the United States Postal Service.

Issa has for some time now peddled plans to end Saturday deliveries by the USPS -- which continues to perform more agilely than private firms, as holiday delivery patterns illustrated -- in ways that are all but certain to make the postal service vulnerable to privatization.

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Issa has a right to his opinion.

But the cynical determination with which he is now advancing it is jarring.

Issa has proposed legislation to address one of the many flaws in the budget agreement that was cobbled together in December by House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and Senate Budget Committee chair Patty Murray, D-Washington: a cut to military retirement benefits to veterans under the age of 62.

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Eliminating the cut is a good idea, as it is part of an austerity agreement that seeks to balance budgets by placing more of the burden on government workers and military personnel -- rather than multi-millionaires like Issa.

But Issa is not proposing to offset the restoration of benefits by taxing the wealthy or closing loopholes.

Rather, he wants to do so by ending Saturday mail delivery.

Ending mail delivery of the weekend would dramatically undermine the ability of the postal service to meet the demands of modern shipping and communications. The likely result would be a rapid shift of traffic to private firms, which contribute heavily to politicians but which do not provide the universal, low-cost service that is the hallmark of the postal service.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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