An open letter to my Senators: Save Ben Franklin’s Post Office!

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The purpose of business is to earn profits by providing goods and services people may or may not need at the highest cost those people can and are willing to pay. That’s the way Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, and Elon Musk got so rich.

In contrast, the purpose of government is to provide services citizens need, regardless of whether as individuals those citizens can afford to pay the full amount the services cost. That’s the way the U.S. became the richest, most powerful nation on earth.

When the roles are confused, the formula fails and disaster soon follows. We saw that when the United Fruit Company created and governed the so-called “banana republics.” We’re seeing it again as we witness the travail and failing the U.S. Postal Service.

The US post office was founded as a government agency, supported by common taxes, to provide an essential service, even to citizens who could not individually meet its total cost of operation. This was recognized as being in the nation’s interest as well as the individual citizen’s. But too many of our nations’ politicians were either seduced or corrupted into seeing the post office through the eyes of “vulture capitalists.”

The longer-term plan of the seduced and corrupted politicians on both sides of the aisle was, of course, totally to privatize the post office. The intermediate strategy was to force it out of “business” (sic!). How? By forcing it fully to fund employee retirement and benefits many years in advance of necessity. That was before Louis Dejoy.

Mr. Dejoy has eschewed the too-slow strategy of gradual starvation and augmented it with outright destruction—not just destructive administrative policy, but fully Luddite-like physical destruction of many millions of dollars worth of labor-saving machinery. Everyone sees now the real purpose of the attack on the post office—or, as it’s now ironically known, U.S. Postal Service.

At this point no one can continue hiding behind wordplay and political gamesmanship. No one can continue treating a central government service as if it were a common, ordinary business. Both business and government have essential roles to play in our society, but those roles are discrete and should not be confused. To treat the post office as if it were a business leads both to corrupt and ineffectual government and to ineffective, uncompetitive business.

Please support this bill.

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