CHUCK MUTH'S NEWS & VIEWS

The good, the bad & the ugly. Liberal excesses. Conservative successes. Clowns to the Left. Jokers to the Right. Read all about 'em in Chuck's FREE hard-hitting, no B.S. newsletter of current events and political goings-on you won't find in the "mainstream press."

Name:

Chuck Muth is President and CEO of Citizen Outreach and a professional political consultant. Mr. Muth is a professional campaign trainer, a newsletter publisher and talk-show host who regularly appears on political TV and radio programs.

Saturday

Muth's Truths, 9/25/04


PUSHING THE POSTAL ENVELOPE: UNION WINS, YOU LOSE

by Chuck Muth

The bad news, according to Postmaster General John Potter (no relation to Harry, unfortunately - the post office could use some magic), is that if Congress doesn’t pass significant postal reform legislation this year you and I are looking at a new hike in postal rates in 2006. The good news is, if Congress DOES pass significant postal reform legislation this year...Potter says we’ll STILL need a postal rate hike in 2006.

Thus is the nature of the government-enforced monopoly over mail delivery in these United States: Taxpayers just can’t win no matter what they do.

Mail delivery as a “service” is on life-support as it is. Hardly anyone uses the post office to communicate with Aunt Minnie any longer. It’s SO much cheaper and better to just pick up the phone and give her a call. Or use the Internet to e-mail her an electronic birthday card - complete with digital photographs of the kids. Heck, for less than fifty bucks these days, you and Aunt Minnie can each pick up a webcam and not only talk to each other live...but see each other, as well.

Let’s see the troglodytes over at the post office deliver THAT kind of service...at ANY price.

First-class mail delivery by the USPS monopoly is a terminally sick horse. We probably would have shot it in the head and put it out of its misery by now if it wasn’t being propped up by large corporate mailers who flood your monopoly protected mailbox with what you and I call “junk mail.”

What this country needs - in addition to a good five cent cigar - is privatization of the postal service. Not “reform” of the existing monopoly. Not tinkering around the edges. An end to it. This is self-evident. This is indisputable. And it’s a worldwide movement. Japan’s prime minister is aggressively pushing to privatize its postal service as you read this. Heck, even Jordan - JORDAN! - is moving toward privatizing its mail delivery system.

But not here in the United States. Even the most aggressive postal “reform” plan being considered by Congress continues to protect the USPS monopoly over YOUR mailbox - no matter how bad or how expensive it is. And little is likely to change regardless of who wins the White House in November.

While President Bush did create a commission to study the problem, the commission didn’t recommend privatization and the president sure hasn’t pushed for it. And the Edwards side of the dynamic Democrat duo assured postal unionistas at their convention in August that he and John Kerry “will never privatize the United States Postal Service.” In return, the APWU delivered something promptly for a change: It’s endorsement of the Kerry-Edwards ticket.

Such myopia by union workers is truly unfortunate. A private, employee-owned postal company would not only dramatically improve service for you and I, but would provide stock ownership to current union workers whose financial future would no longer be controlled by bull-headed union bosses and mush-headed government bureaucrats. Alas, you’re more likely to see Dan Rather move over to Fox News than see the postal unions allow even token cooperative competition, let alone postal privatization. Consider the following.

Let’s say you DO want to mail Aunt Minnie an old-fashioned birthday card. And let’s say you purchase that card at your local Hallmark store. And let’s say you could not only buy the card, but buy the stamp and mail it right there from the store, as well. Pretty darned convenient, yes?

Well, that’s exactly what USPS was considering as a pilot program. Far from total privatization, it merely allowed the private sector an opportunity to provide a very LIMITED but extremely convenient service to the rate-paying public.

Nevertheless, the postal union threw a hissy fit.

APWU President William Burrus sent a threatening letter to Hallmark President Don Hall last May promising a boycott of the greeting card giant by postal employees should it participate in the test program. And lo and behold, four months later USPS officially informed Burrus via letter (not sure, but I think it may have been faxed!) that it was driving a stake through the heart of the pilot program with Hallmark. The union wins...again.

You lose...again. Grab your wallet.

# # #

Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Outreach. He may be reached at chuck@citizenoutreach.com


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