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Thursday, May 4, 2017 12:01 am

Keep our Postal Service public

Jim Hightower
PHOTO BY LARRY D. MOORE
Journalism, which is supposed to help make sense of our turbulent world, can’t seem to make sense of itself.

In addition to “news,” we’re now getting “fake news” (stuff that’s completely made up). But wait – the barons of corporate news are adding to today’s tumultuous state of journalism by putting out feeds of “BS news” (stuff they know is untrue but is reported as fact because it advances their political agenda).

For example, the mighty Washington Post keeps publishing a load of BS to denigrate our U.S. Post Office. The paper’s latest potshot was in an alarmist editorial declaring, “The U.S. Postal Service continues to hemorrhage red ink.” Embracing their owner’s anti-government ideology, the editors grumped that postal unions have made our mail service outmoded and insolvent, running up “a net loss of $5.6 billion last year.”

That is pure bovine excrement – and the editors know it. In fact, thanks to our amazing, innovative and efficient postal workers, the nation’s public post offices racked up a $610 million operating profit last year, and a $1.2 billion profit the year before.

The $5 billion in red ink that the paper’s editorial propagandists touted is not real, but instead is a deliberate bookkeeping hoax created by Congress to make the public think that our post office is a hopeless money loser that should be privatized.

In 2006, Congress piled an artificial “loss” on the U.S. Postal Service by decreeing that it must pre-fund the healthcare costs of future retirees 75 years in advance. That includes retirees who’re not even born yet! No other agency and no other corporation – including Amazon – could survive if Congress added a $5-billion-a-year fictitious loss to their books.

Yet, in a shameful piece of BS journalism, the Post intentionally ignored the true story.

What the Post should have covered was this: There is an amazing half-dollar bargain out there: a first-class postage stamp. For 50 cents, you get the stamp, 3-cents in change and so much more. Stick it on an envelope, drop your missive in a mailbox, and America’s phenomenal network of post office workers and letter carriers will deliver it in short order to your addressee in any of the 43,000 zip codes of this vast country, from New York City’s tallest building to a village on the floor of the Grand Canyon.

Our public Postal Service literally delivers, and many of our post offices serve as treasured community centers – two reasons that the U.S. mail service consistently ranks highest among all federal agencies in public support. So, naturally, it must be decimated and ultimately eliminated.

What the Post won’t be covering is what passes for logic in the back rooms of our Koch-headed Congress and in the boardrooms of many predatory corporations. They keep demonizing anything public – especially any public service that works and is popular – because the corporate powers and the congress critters they buy in bulk are determined to privatize government. So, these profiteers and plutocratic ideologues constantly put out propaganda like the Post article, castigating the Postal Service as a massive, money-sucking, deteriorating, bureaucratic behemoth.

But here are a few facts they don’t want you to realize: One, this public agency provides affordable mail service to all, in every community; two, it does this without a dime of taxpayer money, financing its entire operation with the sale of stamps and services like bulk mail; and three, it provides hundreds-of-thousands of solid middle-class jobs spread throughout every zip code.

To help keep this public jewel out of the hands of a few greed-headed, price-gouging, low-wage, tax-dodging corporations, support “A Grand Alliance To Save Our Public Post Offices.”

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, columnist and author.

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