The austerity agenda that would cut services for working Americans in order to maintain tax breaks for the wealthy -- and promote the privatization of public services -- has many faces.
Most Americans recognize the threats to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as pieces of the austerity plan advanced by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the rest of the Ayn Rand-reading wrecking crew that has taken over the Republican Party. But it is important to recognize that the austerity agenda extends in every direction: from threats to Food Stamps and Pell Grants, to education cuts, to the squeezing of transportation funding.
But the current frontline of the austerity agenda is the assault on the US Postal Service, a vital public service that is older than the country. And it is advancing rapidly. On Wednesday, the Postal Service announced that Saturday first-class mail delivery is scheduled for elimination at the beginning of August -- the latest and deepest in a series of cuts that threatens to so undermine the service that it will be ripe for bartering off to the private delivery corporations that have long coveted high-end components of the service.
Congress can block this move. And it must. But it will only happen if Americans raise an outcry.
And they should. Because if this austerity fight is lost, it will not be the last defeat for public services and public workers.