Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 6: Congress and the Post Office: Both Must Be Fixed

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Oh, the irony of watching the pivotal scene in "Miracle On 34th Street" when John Payne, playing the lawyer representing Santa Claus, is reading information into the public record about the glories of the United States Post Office.

There's not much that's glorious about the postal service today. You know things are bad when one of the few entities that can help you is the United States Congress, a body that's in even worse shape than the Postal Service.

Congress could approve reforms that would help the post office get out of its mess without having to slow down service, as it threatens to do next year, lay off workers or raise mail delivery prices every five minutes. The reforms could start with the proposals by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine - one of the few in Congress who still knows what her job is supposed to be - which include refunding the postal service money it overpaid in employee benefits.

Unfortunately, most of Collins' colleagues in the Senate and House are more interested in sticking to their political weathervanes than in doing anything for the good of the post office - and thus, the country.

Most of the Republicans in the House are busy being bullied by the unelected, no-tax gaulieter Grover Norquist. (Here, the word "gauleiter" is meant in the third definition given by Webster's, "a person with an arrogant, overbearing outlook or manner," which certainly describes Norquist.)

The Senate is not much better. There is weak leadership all around on both sides of the aisle.

It's going to take the experiences of businesses and customers who still rely on US Mail more than anything else to lobby for their congressional representatives to fix this. And a memo to Congress: Your jobs may depend on it.

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