Others Opinion: Attempts to destroy USPS must be thwarted

Published 6:30 am Saturday, August 15, 2020

The Free Press, Mankato

President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are ramping up their efforts to destroy the U.S. Postal Service, especially to weaken and slow its operations as the November election approaches.

Trump has consistently tried to sow fear about mail-in voting, falsely stating mail voting “will lead to the most corrupt election in our nation’s history.”

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Trump and Republicans know from history that when more people vote, their party almost always does worse. Without a robust postal system, fewer people will cast votes.

The most recent harm to the USPS came recently from new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump appointee who has significant financial interests in competitors to the Postal Service. The Washington Post reports that DeJoy and his wife have between $30.1 million and $75.3 million in assets in USPS competitors or contractors, according to a financial disclosure.

DeJoy has slashed overtime and taken other steps to slow the delivery of mail, including reassigning dozens of USPS top staffers to focus on “core business operations.”

The USPS has long faced growing financial pressure as email and other technology reduced the number of letters and as private package services took a bigger share of deliveries. The financial blow has increased because of the pandemic with the USPS losing $2.2 billion in the quarter that ended in June.

That’s why congressional Democrats have proposed $25 billion to help USPS, while Republicans support no assistance. It is one of the key issues that has derailed the negotiations over a coronavirus relief bill that would help prop up the economy and sustain individuals on the financial brink because of the pandemic.

A healthy Postal Service isn’t just key to Americans having access to voting; it remains a vital service for America.

The value of the Postal Service is especially apparent to rural America, where residents rely on it to deliver prescription drugs and other necessities. Privatizing the USPS, as some propose, would leave an agency that would not provide service to rural America where the financial payoff is less.

The USPS has problems that it needs to fix. But destroying it is a mistake that would harm the country.