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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/7/11

Hartmann: Destroying the Postal Service - another Manufactured Crisis

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The United States Post Office is on the verge of shutting down. According to the New York Times - the Post Office is quickly running out of cash and may be forced to shut down this winter. As the Times writes, "Sometime early next year, the agency will run out of money to pay its employees and gas up its trucks...forcing it to stop delivering the roughly three billion pieces of mail it handles weekly." 
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Postmaster general Patrick R. Donahoe described the situation as, "extremely serious," and warned, "If Congress doesn't act, we will default." So what's going on here?  Why is the post office - which was created by Ben Franklin more than 200 years ago - on the verge of shuttering it's doors today?  While the media story line is that the Post Office is dealing with the problem of trying to remain profitable in a world of decreasing paper mail - the real cause is actually something much, much different. Consider that this year - like every year since 2006 - the Post Office is legally required to make a $5 billion annual contribution to a retirement account to pay for future retirees who aren't even born yet.
No other company or government agency has been asked to do something this crazy. Yet that's exactly what Congress - during the Presidency of George W. Bush - forced the Post Office to do. And now this poison-pill legislation from five years ago - has pushed the Post Office to the verge of not being able to pay its bills. So is this REALLY just another example of Conservatives manufacturing a crisis - so that they can privatize another essential government service? But wait - there's more! For more on this - I'm joined by Chuck Zlatkin - Legislative and Political Director of the New York Metro Area Postal Union.
Editor's note: also see this article by Chuck Zlatkin
Destroying the Postal Service in Order to Save It?

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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