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The War on the USPS

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This is a good piece on the Republican efforts to destroy the USPS. For congressional Republicans, this reflects a longtime yearning:

Back in 2006, a lame duck Republican Congress turned up the pressure on privatization by forcing the Postal Service to prefund decades of pension and retiree health costs through investments in low-yield government bonds. That onerous obligation made USPS technically insolvent before coronavirus hit. But rather than achieving its apparent intended result of spurring privatization, in practice it mostly served to give privatization opponents something to complain about rather than addressing the underlying decline in USPS’ business model. Along the way, however, USPS did find a promising new line of business as a contractor delivering Amazon packages.

And now enter Donald Trump’s vendetta on a newspaper publisher:

In the fall of 2016, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos accused Donald Trump of “eroding our democracy.”

And while some major tech CEOs, like Apple’s Tim Cook, have gone out of their way to kiss up to Trump since he became president, Bezos largely hasn’t. Instead, Amazon’s top spokesperson is Jay Carney — who served as White House press secretary under President Barack Obama — and who has occasionally offered harsh criticisms of the Trump administration on a wide range of grounds.

Bezos also owns the Washington Post, and Trump has made no secret of his desire to use the power of the government to punish Amazon financially unless the Post changes its coverage of him. Facebook seems to have paid attention to this message and deliberately altered its editorial practices in order to try to ensure more favorable regulatory treatment from the Trump administration. The Post, which is run by professional journalists with ethics, has refused to do the same. Adding to the tension between the parties is the fact there’s currently litigation underway exploring allegations that Trump’s highly irregular cancellation of a major military contract with Amazon was motivated by partisan payback.

As almost always, Trump and the rest of his party end up in the same place. And Republican opposition to Democratic attempts to save the service are going to be fierce. Although I’m sure Comrades Cotton and Hawley are going to be upset that Republicans want to dismantle a unionized public sector institution!

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