One thing we’ve learned for sure this year is that no national crisis is too awful to keep Trump & Company from exploiting it for their plutocratic political purposes.
COVID-19 is a God-Awful crisis, but late one night deep inside the White House, a dim bulb flickered in our present president’s head: “Eureka,” Trump exclaimed, “here’s our chance to kill the US Post Office!”
Of all the things a president might focus on during a devastating pandemic, hijacking your and my public mail service, bankrupting it, and then privatizing its profitable functions has become a top priority for this brooding madman. Bizarrely, Trump has ranted that the post office should charge higher prices for us customers to ship packages, and he bemoans the fact that postal workers are unionized and earn middle-class wages. So, in February, with our economy collapsing under the weight of COVID-19, Trump struck.
Like nearly every business, the Postal Service had suffered a crushing loss of customers and needs emergency funding to keep America’s mail moving. Congress quickly proposed a bipartisan $13 billion postal lifeline as part of its $2 trillion national rescue package. But our personally-piqued president said: “No,” threatening to kill the whole bill if it included a pandemic grant to save the public post office. The US mail service, however, is enormously popular, so Trump can’t just blatantly choke off its survival funds. Instead, he’s taking the agency hostage, offering to provide a $10 billion “loan” from the treasury department – contingent on the public entity agreeing to his draconian demands that it raise postal prices, gut postal unions, and cut postal services.
Trump’s provisos are postal poison pills, for they would destroy the agency’s morale and service, undermine popular support, and clear the political path for profiteering corporations to seize, privatize, and plunder this public treasure.