This past week Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a megadonor to the GOP, brazenly and insolently told the House Oversight Committee that he has no plans to resign. He impertinently responded to a question about his possibly leaving his position with a defiant, “Get used to me” and that he plans to head the agency he is purposefully ruining for “a long time.”
It is because as the owner of a competitive delivery service, which has received contracts from the USPS, he is acting on behalf of a Republican commitment to privatize the USPS that dates back to at least the Reagan years. His objective is not to save the Post Office; it is to run it into the ground and then sell it off to private carriers.
Most non-Republicans are furious that DeJoy was appointed by a pro-Trump USPS Board of Governors (who hire or fire the Postmaster General) to intentionally degrade postal delivery to keep mail-in ballots from arriving on time to be counted in the November election.
As BuzzFlash wrote in a commentary on August 5, 2020, “Louis DeJoy, the USPS Board of Governors, and Steve Mnuchin Are All Acting as Part of the Trump Reelection Campaign.” He even has been accused of running an illegal GOP “strawman” fundraising scheme for years. However, with the election over, DeJoy continues to be hellbent to continue to sabotage the United States Postal Service, currently promising to slow down first class postage delivery and raise postage costs to consumers and companies.
Why is DeJoy so tenacious about weakening the Post Office? The headline of a February 7, 1995, Christian Science Monitor article is telling, “Republicans Eye US Postal Service For Privatization Push”:
It's a “hot topic being discussed within the Republican majority,'' says Gene Del Polito, executive director of the Advertising Mail Marketing Coalition in Washington. Service would be improved through competition, he says, and money could be added to federal coffers by reconfiguring USPS into a private corporation.
USPS as a corporation would pay certain taxes, as does Federal National Mortgage Corporation (Fannie Mae), and could provide funds to pay for goals set forth in the Republican “Contract With America.” Outright sale of the Postal Service is another option for putting money into the US Treasury, Mr. Del Polito says.
However, with the election over, DeJoy continues to be hellbent to continue to sabotage the United States Postal Service.
It comes as no surprise that more than 20 years later, the Trump administration would make Post Service privatization a priority.
An article on the website Government Executive, dated June 21, 2018, states:
The Trump administration on Thursday called for the privatization of the U.S. Postal Service, an agency with 600,000 federal employees and whose creation was codified by the Constitution.
The White House made the proposal in its wide-ranging plan to reorganize the federal government. Privatizing the postal service was among 32 distinct ideas it said would help agencies run more efficiently. It first called for reforms to the Postal Service that would create a more sustainable business model, but those changes would be made only for leverage to then sell the entire agency to the private sector.
Of course, either DeJoy is incompetent, or the Trump administration and DeJoy decided that cannibalizing the Postal Service would be easier than making it more profitable. Beginning with his inexplicable dismantling of hundreds of high-speed mail sorting machines to slow down mail-in ballots, DeJoy has never taken his foot off the pedal speeding toward tearing the Post Office down, instead of building it up. He’s employing the dead carcass strategy to privatization. (DeJoy, by the way has stock in several companies that would benefit from selling off the USPS to corporations, including his own.)
The Republicans are licking their chops at the thought of breaking the postal unions that include approximately 550,000 employees. This would cause a further decrease in union workers who tend to support Democrats and supply financial and get-out-the-vote support to Democrats.
The Post Office is enduring this assault by a privatizing operative with two hands tied behind its back. That is due to a law Congress passed in 2008 that burdens the USPS with a multi-billion dollar financial obligation that was placed on it to weaken its economic position, thus providing a justification for a corporate takeover of its services. As the Institute for Policy Studies describes the maneuver:
In 2006, Congress passed a law that imposed extraordinary costs on the U.S. Postal Service. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) required the USPS to create a $72 billion fund to pay for the cost of its post-retirement health care costs, 75 years into the future. This burden applies to no other federal agency or private corporation.
If the costs of this retiree health care mandate were removed from the USPS financial statements, the Post Office would have reported operating profits in each of the last six years. This extraordinary mandate created a financial “crisis” that has been used to justify harmful service cuts and even calls for postal privatization.
President Biden has appointed some new USPS Board members to fill current vacancies, but he may need one more vote to get the Board to fire DeJoy, according to Common Dreams. It can’t come quickly enough.
The future of the US Post Office that belongs to all Americans and is written into the Constitution hangs in the balance.