Columns » Hightower

Trump’s Bezos snit metastasizes

LowDown

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The U.S. postal system has 30,000 outlets serving every part of America. It employs more than 500,000 people in good middle-class jobs, and it proudly delivers letters and packages clear across the country for a pittance. It’s a jewel of public service excellence.

Therefore, it must be destroyed.

Such is the fevered logic of laissez-fairyheaded corporate supremists like the billionaire Koch brothers and the right-wing politicians who serve them. This malevolent gang of wrecking-ball privatizers includes such prominent Trumpeteers as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (a former Wall Street huckster from Goldman Sachs), and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney (a former corporate-hugging Congress critter from South Carolina). Both were involved in setting up Trump’s shiny new task force to remake our U.S. Postal Service. It’s like asking two foxes to remodel the henhouse.
(By the way, far from being a money loser, the U.S. Postal Service has actually been earning about a billion dollars a year in profit. Trump’s false claim of “unsustainable” postal losses stems from a 2006 political ploy by right-wingers who want to destroy the public service. They passed a law dictating that USPS pre-fund retiree health benefits 75 years into the future — covering benefit costs for workers who haven’t even been born, much less hired and retired.)
Trump himself merely wanted to take a slap at his political enemy, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos — over negative articles about Trump in The Washington Post newspaper, which Bezos owns — by jacking up the prices the postal agency charges to deliver Amazon’s packages.

The cabal of far-right corporatizers, however, saw Trump’s temper tantrum as a golden opportunity to go after the Postal Service itself. So, instead of simply addressing the matter of package pricing — Shazam! — the task force was trumped-up with an open-ended mandate to evaluate, dissect and “restructure” the people’s mail service, including carving it up and selling off the parts.

Who’d buy the pieces? For-profit shippers like FedEx, of course, but here’s some serious irony for you: The one outfit with the cash and clout to buy our nation’s whole postal infrastructure and turn it into a monstrous corporate monopoly is none other than… Amazon.
To help stop this sellout, become part of the Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service: AGrandAlliance.org.

You can contact Hightower at jimhightower.com.

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