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The Senate Can, and Should, Save the Postal Service

By       Message John Nichols       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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This article cross-posted from The Nation


The United States Postal Service is not broke.

It does not need to be downsized. Post offices do not need to be closed. Sorting centers do not need to be shuttered. Saturday service does not need to be scrapped. And hundreds of thousands of jobs in rural regions and urban neighborhoods do not need to be cut in a time of economic instability.

Yet, this week, the US Senate is debating about whether to advance a scheme that would begin a process of downsizing that -- while not so immediately draconian as the plan advanced by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrel Issa (R-CA) -- accepts the notion that the postal service's future is one of closures and cuts. Ultimately, that downsizing points the postal in a direction where privatization could be inevitable.

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But that does not have to be the case.

National Association of Letter Carriers
president Fredric Rolando is right when he says: "Nothing is inevitable about the so-called decline of the U.S. Postal Service."

What is real, however, is the threat.

Republican leaders in Congress have made proposals for dismembering the US Postal Service by cutting the number of delivery days, shuttering processing centers so that it will take longer for letters to arrive, closing thousands of rural and inner-city post offices and taking additional steps that would dramatically downsize one of the few national programs ordained by the original draft of the US Constitution. That scheme won't be implemented by this Congress. But a half-step in that direction could be made.

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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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