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Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018 12:16 am

Putting the Trump stamp on the public

Jim Hightower
PHOTO BY LARRY D. MOORE

D.T. is really quite good at one special skill: branding. He has slapped his name on a ridiculous range of consumer merch – teddy bears, steaks, made-in-China ties, vodka, underwear and even a urine test. Then, of course, there’s his very own post office.

Yes, he bought a 60-year lease on the “Old Post Office Pavilion,” an iconic 1899 federal structure that once housed our country’s postal service and has also been the home of various other national government agencies. Located just five blocks from the White House, D.T. and daughter Ivanka had it converted into a 270-room hotel for the rich in 2016.

Now that he’s in the White House, he wants to bring the family’s sensibility for branding to our local POs.
This spring, Donald signed an order creating an interagency federal task force to propose structural reforms in the U.S. Postal Service. In a stunningly short time, the task force issued its cursory report only 10 weeks later: “Prepare (USPS) for future conversion from a government agency into a privately-held corporation.”
Are they not aware that the mail agency is enormously popular and important to the public? A February Pew Research poll finds that an astonishing 88 percent of Americans give a thumbs-up to the PO’s work, dwarfing the pitiful approval rating of Trump and the congress critters who’re trying to kill it. Even the president’s executive order that set up the task force conceded that our postal service “is regularly cited as the federal agency with the highest public approval rating.”

The 640,000 middle-class postal workers and letter carriers merit such kudos because they literally deliver for us in every ZIP code. Working from 30,825 local POs, they trundle 150 billion pieces of mail a year, 4 million miles a day to 157 million addresses across the land, from inner-city neighborhoods to back roads – and deliver them within a few days. This is an unmatched bargain, a civic treasure, a genuine public good that links all of America’s people and communities into one. And that’s why the right wing is so dead set on offing it. For decades, extremist anti-government propagandists have relentlessly pushed the narrative that government is inherently incompetent, wasteful and “the problem” – a social evil that is to be hated and, piece by piece, eliminated.

The problem for these ideologues and corporate predators is that USPS is not only a government agency that works, but a tangible presence in people’s daily lives, so millions of folks see it working for them. Therefore, to maintain the negative political narrative about public entities, the far-right corporatists are desperate to kill our public post offices. For more information and to keep the post office public, go to
http://USMailNotForSale.org.

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