At some point in the past few years, my neighborhood post office cut back its hours. It now opens on weekdays at 9 A.M. instead of 8 A.M. The way you can tell is that someone scratched off part of the "8" so it looks like a "9" -- and the post office looks like something you'd see in a developing country where they either don't have the money to replace the sticky number or don't care.
I was thinking about that this morning when I went to pick up a package. The new news for the United States Postal Service is not encouraging, either for the daily mail or for infrastructure in America. Rachel on the show:
The plan involves closing down about half the postal service's mail processing centers and slowing down first-class mail delivery, taking the post office, which functions very well -- thank you very much -- and purposely making it run worse.So if you were getting your Netflix movies nice and quick, if in fact that quick delivery was crucial to the success of businesses like Netflix and many others, well, too bad, thanks to Congress, the post office is about to slow the whole enterprise down.This very specific, super-useful American thing that is specifically provided for in the Constitution is now poised to drop its own standards unless there is a "We the People" outcry over them being forced into this new plan.
Occupy Reno, it turns out, did just that -- showing up to protest the loss of jobs at a mail processing plant. The local NBC station reports that the mic check went like this: "The loss of 177 jobs is unacceptable, you must seek alternative means to cutting costs... the Post Master General is earning $800,000 a year, we do not want our mail shipped to California!" The union workers called out Congress for forcing the USPS to take on $5.5 billion a year in spending to pre-fund benefits for retirees. That part's complicated, and it happened in 2006, but the effect of it is simple and present and on view at your local P.O.