Tuesday, January 26, 2021

New Jersey to the Rescue!

 Alternate title: Scooped by Tengrain.

I've been toying with writing an aspirational post, a list of things that I wish the new Democratic majority should prioritize, and one of those items is reinvigorating the United States Postal Service.  In 2006, the Republican-led Congress created a fiscal disaster for the USPS by mandating the funding of post-retirement healthcare for the following seventy-five years.  Last year, the Democratic-led House of Representatives voted to overturn this ridiculous mandate.  With a Democratic majority in the Senate, this problem should be rectified.

In the meantime, Representative Bill Pascrell, of New Jersey's 9th District, is prioritizing the preservation of the USPS:

It's always a good thing to find a politician who is simpatico with your own ideas.  In an article by Rep. Pascrell in Washington Monthly, the congressman doesn't pull any punches:

For the most part, these harmful “reforms” have originated on the political right. To argue that the Postal Service needs to be privatized, conservatives need to show that it is dysfunctional, and there’s no better way to do that than by weighing the agency down with impossible financial obligations. It continues a generation-long pattern of institutional vandalism by Republicans across government. But ultimately, both parties bear responsibility. I should know: I was in Congress when we passed the 2006 bill. And, along with all my colleagues, I made the mistake of voting for it.

He takes the blame for his vote, which is good, but generally speaking, a party which works under the principle that 'government is the problem' should not be allowed to govern.  I suspect that, besides wanting to hobble the USPS in order to boost private carriers such as UPS and Federal Express, much of the animus on the right against the USPS is, like just about every other animus on the right, racially motivated.  As Bill Pascrell points out, the USPS has, since the 1930s, provided well-paying jobs to African-Americans and other minority demographics.

I am especially excited by Rep. Pascrell's championing of postal banking, providing financial services to individuals unable to maintain minimum balances and unable to pay ATM and overdraft fees.  These individuals, and their families, are shackled to a system of check cashing and payday lending businesses that extract usurious fees.  The USPS also operates in communities, rural and urban, that are 'banking deserts', and could rectify this situation without congressional legislation, merely approval from the Postmaster General.

I've used postal banking while traveling in Europe, and must say that I am a fan.  I also have a grudge against Trump and DeJoy for their crippling of the USPS in order to suppress voting-by-mail, I still haven't gotten a sizable check that I should have received back in November, and am going to have to request a reissue.  Sure, I got my BS $600 'economic stimulus' check, which is money I paid in the form of taxes, but I'd rather have received that larger sum that I actually earned.

I'm happy that Bill Pascrell is so passionate about returning the USPS to fiscal, institutional, and societal health.  As a New Yorker, I am obligated to rag on New Jersey every so often, but it's all meant in loving fashion... to be frank, I am happy to see one of my Jersey neighbors taking a lead in rescuing the Postal Service.


StringOnAStick said...

There's so many fires to put out, but reversing the malicious damage done to the USPS is high priority. Postal banking is a great idea, as is universal voting by mail.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Gotta take care of the sucking chest wound before you address the infected big toe, to use a medical analogy.