Trump vs USPS: The Dark Truth Behind the GOP’s War on the Postal Service
The GOP has just launched its latest offensive in an all-out war against the United States Postal Service. After being accused of slowing down the mail intentionally, Trump’s latest kleptocrat and postmaster general Louis DeJoy committed his own Friday Night Massacre on August 7th, firing several top USPS executives and reshuffling more than two dozen other high-level officials.
While this latest development has caught the eye of the press and the ire of Democrats (or anyone with a conscience), it is far from the beginning of the GOP’s war on the United States Postal Service.
Many people are theorizing that the takeover of the postal service is a direct attempt to sabotage mail-in voting. That is likely true, but it is far from the whole story. The Republican Party, and in some instances even the Democrats, have been in the trenches fighting the postal service for a long time.
Republicans vs. the USPS
Let’s head back to December 2006 for a minute and set the scene.
You’ve just heard Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” for the 314th time and it honestly still kinda slaps. Everyone is wearing enormous scarves. Donald Trump is just that “you’re fired” douchebag on The Apprentice.
I’ll let you just savor that part for a moment.
America is also balls deep in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Republicans are working to cripple the United States Postal Service.
On December 7, House Republican and complete asshole Tom Davis introduced the “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.” If you know Republicans, you know this bill was absolutely vile.
In short, the bill requires the United States Postal Service to fully fund retirement healthcare benefits for the next 75 years. In effect, that means the USPS had until 2016 to fully fund retirement healthcare benefits to future employees who may not even be born until 2057.
While you can probably rest assured that some grocery stores will still be playing “Crazy” in 2057, it is a batshit burden to put on any business. One wordsmith for The Roanoke Times called the PAEA “one of the most insane laws Congress ever enacted.”
The USPS estimates that pre-paying these benefits cost upwards of $5.5 billion per year. After the impact of COVID-19 decimated postal traffic, the postal service is embroiled in a very avoidable financial crisis. It has not recorded a profit since the bill was signed in 2006.
Why Defund USPS?
This isn’t to say that Donald Trump isn’t trying to slow down the mail to sabotage the election. It sounds like something he’d do. But if that were the only reason, why has the GOP been pushing the USPS towards a cliff for the last dozen years?
Let’s take a look at a few bits of info about the postal service.
The average annual salary for a USPS employee is just over $60,000. That’s almost twice the median salary in the United States of just over $33,000. Postal employees also enjoy benefits that are on par with many white-collar jobs. However, many USPS jobs do not require a higher-education degree.
That means that people can get a job that can, in many places, feed a family without needing to go into debt to get an advanced degree. You can see why this might be an issue for Republican leadership.
But the real reason for Republicans’ scorn is who gets these jobs. Take a look at this chart from the Pew Research Group on the demographics of postal service employees:
The postal service is more racially diverse than the country as a whole. Hurting the postal service disproportionately affects non-white folks more than it does white people.
Destroying the postal service would eliminate well-paying jobs with benefits, retirement plans, and a career track for over 600,000 people. Those people are, statistically, more likely to be non-white than your average American.
If you guessed “racism” for the reason the GOP hates the post office, congratulations on passing America 101. The GOP doesn’t have a whole lot of principles. However, keeping poor people poor and fucking over non-white people are two things Republicans will always stand up for.
Trump vs Amazon
The Postal Service’s largest commercial customer is Amazon. The agency generated $3.9 billion in revenue from Amazon last fiscal year. This business generated a $1.6 billion profit for Postal Service, more than double that of any other. The Post first reported the figure this week. Over 10,000 pages of documents reveal how the agency struggled to manage its finances and responsibilities during this spring’s pandemic.
Documents reveal that Trump’s suggestion to quadruple postage rates this spring coincided with ongoing discussions with the Postal Service over Amazon contracts, which made negotiating with the e-commerce giant difficult. Trump has accused the Postal Service of being a pawn for Amazon throughout most of his presidency, complaining that it has been “ripping off” the agency in a “sweetheart deal.”
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