I have long advocated reform at the United States Postal Service. (I have to fight the temptation to call it the Post Office, a name discarded some time ago.) In 2019, the Postal Service lost $4 billion Thus far, it was on track to lose $7 billion. This is despite ever increasing postal rates.
Average postal service salaries run between $39,689 to $89,115. The overall average is $61,000. So employee pay is more than reasonable, but not outlandish. But what really gets the Postal Service in trouble is that employees, who want it, can regularly work overtime at rates 1 1/2 times, sometimes even double, their regular salaries. When a company is experiencing an ordinary work load, but is paying employees overtime, that's a sign it is not a well-run company.
Of course, the Postal Service is not a business. It has certain legal obligations, such as delivering to every address in the country, six days a week. that no business wanting to be profitable, would ever voluntarily take on. But just because the Postal Service is not a business doesn't mean no business principles whatsoever apply The example, mentioned above, is one of them that should be applied. The Postal Service needs to better utilize its labor resources so as to avoid paying overtime on a regular basis.
A no brainier way of fixing this problem is to stop delivering mail six days a week. In the age of electronic mail and bills paid via electronic transfers of money, there is no need for six day a week mail delivery. It should be cut back to five, possibly even four.
I don't disagree with the Trump's administration stated intention to reform the Postal Service. I likewise don't disagree that bringing in an outsider, a successful businessman, to implement reform efforts is a bad idea. Sometimes, outsiders see problems differently and are more innovative than those embedded in the corporate bureaucracy, which the Postal Service most certainly has.
Having said all that, I have my doubts that the reforms thus far are about making the Postal Service more efficient. Most likely they are about delaying mail-in ballots from reaching their destination, which might mean they won't be counted. Eliminating sorting machines, which means more hand sortation by postal workers, hardly seems like a "reform" that's going to make the Postal Service more efficient. Likewise, it is not clear how removing postal mailboxes significantly reduces labor. It does, however, make it harder for the public to mail their ballots.
Then you have the President Donald Trump saying the quiet part out loud when he said he opposed an additional appropriation to the Postal Service because the money would be used to process the millions of mail-in ballots. He then went on to say that, without the extra money, the states would not be to have universal mail-in voting.
Now Trump and his defenders are trying to walk back that admission, instead making it sound like the changes are about improving the efficiency of the Postal Service. No, the changes are about Trump trying to suppress the mail-in vote. One poll I saw said people who plan to vote in-person favor Trump by about a 2-1 margin, while people who plan on mailing their ballots favor Biden by about a 4-1 margin. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out why the Trump administration is so desperately trying to slow and even stop the mail.
OOP's Short Takes:
- Qanon conspiracist Marjorie Taylor Greene won the GOP primary in Georgia in what is a very safe Republican district. No doubt she will be heading to Congress. In addition to supporting the Qanon conspiracy, which believes President Trump is fighting a secret war against elite Satan-worshipping pedophiles in government, business and the media. Green also is a 9/11 Truther and a racist, xenophobe and a religious bigot. Yet, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy has indicated that Greene will be warmly welcomed into the GOP caucus and given committee assignments.
- As I recall, Iowa Rep. Steve King was condemned by McCarthy and stripped of his committee assignments because of racially-tinged statements. But Greene, whose transgressions appear to be as bad as King's if not worse, is warmly welcomed by House Republicans. Please someone explain that to me.
- Candidates who support Qanon have won several Republican primary nominations. The phenomenon seems to be spreading. It is the natural outgrowth of the Trump personality cult. Qanon takes their worship of Trump to a new level. Supporting Qanon might become the new litmus test for Republicans, especially in safe GOP districts like Greene's.
- Keeping my eye on the polls. A CNN poll just released shows Biden leading Trump by only four points nationally. Ten weeks ago, CNN's poll showed Biden leading by 14 points. That would be a dramatic development. Other polls though only show a slight movement in Trump's direction. For example, Fox polls during the same time frame, show Biden's lead dropping from 12 points to 7. Other polls show even loss of a softening of Biden support. Still at the end of the day, the only thing that matters are the state polls.