We Must Save The Postal Service From Trump’s Recklessness

Robert Crohan/Staff Writer

One of the most important government services helping Americans during the pandemic is the United States Postal Service. As we rely on delivery services to provide our goods when we are encouraged to stay inside, it has become clear that these institutions should only be more empowered for the foreseeable future.

Recent moves by the Trump administration are only indicating the reverse: in a seeming war of words with Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, the President has demanded that the USPS raise prices for deliveries of Amazon products under the assumption that this will hurt Bezos. Trump has stated that he will not sign any bailout for the USPS if his demands are not met, and recently installed Louis DeJoy, a loyalist with little experience, as Postmaster General. 

Trump also has a negative view of Bezos because he owns The Washington Post, a highly respected newspaper that has not exactly praised the President in the past. However, these prices, which were already rising, will only hurt Americans more than they will Bezos’ properties.

Guido Gonzalez/PantherNOW

The USPS is struggling financially. The National Association of Letter Carriers expects it to survive just until September if it does not receive any significant federal aid. In addition, a 2006 law required the USPS to build a fund to cover the cost of healthcare and pensions until 2081,   leading to billions in losses.

A union representing the agency’s workers now says that 5,000 workers are in quarantine and over 60 have passed away from COVID-19. They are also not getting paid sick leave, leading to financial and medical stress. Their work is crucial to saving lives, with 20 percent of Americans relying on them to deliver prescription medications, and may even determine the November election which could be conducted largely or entirely by mail.

Although Trump has vowed to never “let our post office fail,” his presidency has taught us that he can make statements that he doesn’t feel confident or genuine about. It is absolutely crucial that the House and Senate reject this dangerous partisan game and take swift action to save the USPS. 

Meanwhile, Democrats should continue to push for stimulus bills that benefit the USPS and give it resources to provide more for its workers. Already, prominent Liberals like Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have released petitions urging the government to take bold action.

Senators should also consult with the president to persuade him of the benefits the USPS brings that rivals FedEx and UPS cannot. If Republican Senators are concerned about their own reelection prospects, perhaps they should consider that the USPS provides a lifeline for the rural areas they represent, which have fewer post offices and require longer travel. Breaking from the President on this issue may prove beneficial to the party in the long run.

To ease the pain brought on our nation by the pandemic, our elected officials must act, and swiftly, to save one of the foundations of our public services. Otherwise, we will all have a hefty price to pay.

Featured image by Paul Sableman on Flickr.


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