...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003
      ( 10:40 AM )
Destroying Our Infrastructure 101

This is the title of the class that will be team-taught by George W. Bush, John Ashcroft and Donald Rumsfeld - in fact, it's an ongoing class in which we're all students. Are we learning the lessons yet? I don't know if anyone saw this article in Sunday's Oregonian, but it bears comment. "Going Postal on the Nation's Mail Service" by Susan Nielsen was a sobering look at just one more thing that BushCo is intent on destroying. Have you heard about this one?

The recommendations to cut workers' wages and
benefits, enrich top executives, close rural post offices,
turn more of the mail delivery over to private companies
and form an unaccountable, overpaid corporate board
are part of a package commissioned by President Bush.
It's heading to Congress this fall for likely hearings.

Now, despite infrequent complaints (compared to the amount of mail delivered), the Postal Service is the best in the world. They've also already reduced their workforce by 40,000 since last spring when they began modernizing all their equipment. Not to mention having to recover from 9/11 and the anthrax even (hey, did we catch that guy yet?), we enjoy almost the lowest mail delivery prices in the world, and our postal service handles 40 percent of the mail on earth. They deliver faithfully not only to every address in big cities and centralized locations, but to the farthest reaches of rural America as far out as the small outposts in Alaska. So while a little more reorganization might help...what the Bush administration has planned is flat out demolition of this service that reaches every single American.

First, President Bush has said he wants to slash the
federal civilian work force in half and reduce other
government jobs. The postal service is the nation's
second-largest employer, after Wal-Mart, and its 750,000
employees are an easy target.

Second, powerful businesses in the $900 billion mailing
industry want a bigger piece of the pie.

And what other great ideas did Bush's panel on reforming the postal service come up with? Well, of course - pay CEOs more and workers less!

But the overall push is depressing and outrageous:
Pay top executives more. Today, top postal executives
have a salary cap of $171,000. That's not enough
money, Bush's panel said. These executives need to
be paid what top corporate executives make. They cited
private-sector salaries from about $300,000 for chief
financial officers to about $1 million for CEOs. Pay workers
. The average postal clerk or city letter carrier makes
$42,500 a year. That's awfully generous, said the panel,
especially considering the benefits. They said the postal
service should take "corrective action" to ensure postal
workers don't get better compensation than private-sector

Of course, we'd have to cut all that pesky oversight by Congress - no more fighting for rural post offices by Congressmen and Senators...nosireee....

Dealing with Congress is a pain, the panelists concluded.
They recommended a self-perpetuating corporate board
of directors whose members would be appointed by the
president or by board members themselves, with no
Senate input.

Naturally, these board members would make a lot of money,
just like the private sector. They'd be overseen by a new three-
member Postal Regulatory Board, appointed by the president
and confirmed by the Senate. Congress would have little to no
say in postal operations, rate changes or post office closures.

This is just another one of BushCo's attempts to turn us all into submissive sheep - we are just simple little worker bees, our role in this country is just to consume and like it. "Get back to normal life" Bush likes to say after disasters, which to him and his cronies means "start buying stuff!" The entire theme of this administration has been to take the power out of the hands of the citizens through the government and put the power into the hands of corporate giants...where each member of this administration will no doubt go to work for after their term is done (if they don't get their "president for life" package passed - which, God knows, is somewhere in their plans).

It's possible to improve the U.S. Postal Service.
But it's impossible to do so while treating citizens as
consumers, or postal workers as low-wage drones.
And it's folly to call rural post offices too quaint, middle-
class wages too high and the public too bothersome
to be consulted.

This has gone on long enough.

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