Obviously alarmed that the USS Postal Service isn’t sinking fast enough, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe decided to detonate some more explosives in its hull with an announcement on Monday that the organization he helms would cut service and reduce first-class mail to fifth-class.
When told by a trembling subordinate at his side that there was no such thing as fifth-class mail, Donahoe bellowed, “Well, by god, as the Postmaster General I hereby create it!” (Sorry, I made that quote up.)
Angered by those who claim his plan is short-sighted, Donahoe thundered back, “Since the United States, under the leadership of Congress, is moving us toward becoming a third-world country, I figured we would beat ’em to the draw by becoming a third-world postal service. When the country gets there, we’ll be there waitin’ for ’em.” (OK, that was made up too, but the rest of this is factual. Honest.)
As reported in The Huffington Post on Sunday in anticipation of Donahoe’s big announcement, “The changes would provide short-term relief, but ultimately could prove counterproductive, pushing more of America’s business onto the Internet. They could slow everything from check payments to Netflix’s DVDs-by-mail, add costs to mail order prescription drugs, and threaten the existence of newspapers and time-sensitive magazines delivered by postal carrier to far-flung suburban and rural communities.”
Although those who are pushing for the privatization of the Postal Service were all atwitter with excitement over the PMG’s announcement, those with common sense were not. Said President Fred Rolando, President of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC): “We are very concerned about the proposal to reduce delivery standards. High-quality service is essential to preserving the value of our networks and to any future growth strategy. Degrading standards not only hurts the public and the businesses we serve, it’s also counter-productive for the Postal Service because it will drive more people away from using the mail. Changes in service need to be part of a coherent business plan that takes advantage of new opportunities, such as delivering the items people increasingly order online. We urge the Postal Regulatory Commission to review the proposal carefully and act to protect the long-term viability of America’s Postal Service.”
APWU President Cliff Guffey had this to say about the PMG’s plan: “Dismantling the Postal Service’s processing and distribution network will devastate mail service, damage the economy, and drive customers away. The USPS network is still a vital part of the nation’s infrastructure and destroying it will hurt, not help, the Postal Service.”
But our all-time favorite response comes from Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore) who called on the Obama administration to fire the PMG. Declared an angry DeFazio on the House floor Monday: “This guy, this so-called postmaster general, should be fired because of a lack of any imagination or initiative. He’s proposing the death knell for the great United States Postal Service.”
DeFazio also blamed President Obama for being silent on the matter and House Republicans for ignoring proposals that would ensure the Postal Service’s survival. Said DeFazio of the Republicans: “They think somehow the private sector will take over. Tell me who in the private sector is going to deliver a letter for 45 cents to a small rural community 40 miles from the nearest, or 100 miles from the nearest, sorting facility? That’s not going to happen. These people will be deprived of any meaningful service.”
You can view Rep. DeFazio’s fiery speech by going to Save the Post Office.
Kudos to Rep. Peter DeFazio.
And the Bronx Cheer to PMG Patrick Donahoe.
(Photo source for Captain Ahab: The Captains Memos)