Trump's Postmaster General Still Trying To Take Down The Post Office From Within
All of last year, Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy tried to come for the mail. He trashed sorting machines and mail bozes, he delayed deliveries, he increased the cost of mailing a ballot from 20 cents to 50 cents, and did everything he could to make the postal service as ineffective as humanly possible. Some of this fuckery was later corrected, but he is still making it his personal mission in life to basically kill the post office so that it can be replaced entirely by corporations.
His latest plan? Making the mail slower and more expensive. Right now, if you mail something first class in a regular sized envelope — a letter, a bill, whatever — it will arrive in two days. DeJoy wants to take away that tier of first class mail and make it so that mail will be delivered in three to five days. He also wants to make it so first class mail can no longer be transported by airplane, but must instead be transported only by trucks.
The post office has already been slow since DeJoy took over, with only 38 percent of all first class mail making it on time by the end of 2020. Up until DeJoy's appointment in June, over 90 percent of first class mail was delivered on time. This means that it was not a COVID-related decline, but rather a direct result of DeJoy's actions.
According to sources who spoke to the Washington Post, DeJoy also wants to raise the cost of postage, citing the fact that the post office lost money in 2020 as a result of COVID. Of course, it probably also lost some money due to people feeling like they couldn't trust that their mail would be delivered on time.
DeJoy himself said that these things have been discussed for months and have not yet been finalized, though he was clear that everyone is behind him on this.
Via Washington Post:
DeJoy in an emailed statement declined to discuss his plan, saying it was not finalized. He said Postal Service leaders had discussed the proposal for eight months and that any new operations would retain six- and sometimes seven-day delivery. The board of governors, he said, backs the proposed policies.
And then he had the gall to act as if solving the post office's current problems with reliability was something he really needed outside input to figure out:
DeJoy said he's solicited comments from members of Congress, industry leaders, union officials and management leaders for feedback on "successfully fixing problems that are preventing the Postal Service from meeting the American people's expectations for reliability."
I don't know, maybe not getting rid of sorting machines and mail boxes might help? I don't know, just spitballing here. Because it sure seems like "the problem preventing the Postal Service from meeting the American's people's expectations for reliability" is Louis DeJoy himself. Thus the decline in reliability that directly followed his appointment.
Slowing down the mail isn't just an inconvenience — there are far-reaching effects of this nonsense.
Mail industry experts say the postal economy runs on a system of elasticity, where the Postal Service relies on large injections of first-class mail volume from large clients to support its hulking national infrastructure and keep prices low for residential customers who increasingly have less use for the mail service.
The delivery slowdowns coupled with price increases, mailing industry officials say, could threaten that system by driving commercial mailers to cut costs and pull more volume out of the mail stream. In the long run, that could force the Postal Service to increase postage rates on the customers left in the system — including small businesses, seniors and people with disabilities — or to further cut service.
Now, you may be wondering — if Louis DeJoy is doing an extremely bad job and in fact hurting the USPS, why can't Joe Biden just get rid of him? Alas, it's not that easy, because elected officials are not allowed to directly interfere with the mail. What Biden can do, and needs to do is appoint four Democrats to the open seats on the governing board of the post office, and then they can vote DeJoy out before these things do get finalized. He said in a statement last Monday that he was on it and was looking to fill the board with members who "reflect his commitment to the workers of the U.S. Postal Service — who deliver on the post office's vital universal service obligation," so fingers crossed that happens before the post office goes down in flames.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse