What kind of leader thinks in a pandemic: “Here’s our chance to kill the postal service!”
May 6, 2020
What’s the gimmick in Trump’s plan to “rescue” the public Postal Service?
One thing we’ve learned for sure this year is that no national crisis is too awful to keep Trump and Company from exploiting it for their plutocratic political purposes.
COVID-19 is a God awful crisis, but late one night deep inside the White House, a dim bulb flickered in our present president’s head: “Eureka,” Trump exclaimed, “here’s our chance to kill the U.S. Post Office!”
Of all the things a president might focus on during a devastating pandemic, hijacking our public mail service, bankrupting it, and then privatizing its profitable functions has become a top priority for this brooding madman.
Bizarrely, Trump has ranted that the post office should charge higher prices for customers to ship packages. He bemoans the fact that postal workers are unionized and earn middle-class wages.
So, in February, with our economy collapsing under the weight of COVID-19, Trump struck.
Like nearly every business, the Postal Service had suffered a crushing loss of customers and needs emergency funding to keep America’s mail moving. Congress quickly proposed a bipartisan $13 billion postal lifeline as part of its $2 trillion national rescue package.
But our personally piqued president said no, threatening to kill the whole bill if it included a pandemic grant to save the public post office.
The U.S. mail service, however, is enormously popular, so Trump can’t just blatantly choke off its survival funds. Instead, he’s taking the agency hostage, offering to provide a $10 billion “loan” from the Treasury Department — contingent on the public entity agreeing to his draconian demands that it raise postal prices, gut postal unions, and cut postal services.
Trump’s provisos are postal poison pills, for they would destroy the agency’s morale and service, undermine popular support, and clear the political path for profiteering corporations to seize, privatize, and plunder this public treasure.
OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. Distributed by OtherWords.org.