“Mail is like oxygen. It’s there and you count on it, and you don’t get worried about it until it disappears. There is going to be concern by a lot of people if this goes away. The national concern is going to be enormous.” — Tonda Rush, president of the National Newspaper Association, commenting on the unraveling of the United States Postal Service

So here’s a radical idea for radical times: Nationalize the United States Post Office.

Just writing the words makes my eyes spin around in my head. The Ryan-esque view that it would un-American to un-privatize an operation like the United States Post Office is such a retromingent exercise in inverse reasoning that I regret not being clever enough to come up with a corporate flak-friendly name for it. Like right-sizing or blamestorming or activating synergies of scale.

Yet in the up-is-down, Bizarro World that is Washington, D.C., privatizing the United States Postal Service — Benjamin Franklin’s United States Post Office — makes Bizarro sense. Drape its coffin in a flag and watch right-thinking patriots salute as FedEx hauls it over to Arlington for burial.

There isn’t anything more core to what America’s founders thought government of, by and for the people is for than delivering the mail, except maybe raising an army. Both are authorized in the same article in the U.S. Constitution. (The tea party loves them some Article 1, Section 8.) Like the military, the United States Post Office is a public service as well as a public trust. And Republicans such as Congressman Darrel Issa (R-CA) want to privatized it because it doesn’t make a profit ? When did the U.S. Army ever turn a profit? This is how conservatives honor the founders’ vision? By dressing up like them and dismantling the country they shed blood to build?

Of course, Republicans (mostly) in Congress are hard at work on privatizing not just the United States Post Office, but the military, too, by diverting work traditionally done by GIs to for-profit, private contractors that can charge a tidy markup to cost-conscious American taxpayers. With hundreds of billions of public dollars on the table, the con is simple. More middle-man profit equals Freedom . No middle man profit equals Tyranny . It’s almost as if they want to dismantle the country’s core infrastructure, to strip America bare — like locusts — of every financial resource before moving on….

Speaking of tyranny, here’s Howie Klein at (Down With Tyranny):

There’s a lot of money to be made in privatizing the post office — not for us, of course, but Wall Street drools at the prospect. And, of course, Republicans and their Blue Dog allies are doing everything in their power to undermine and sabotage the post office for exactly that reason.

At the Huffington Post , Dave Jamieson examines what a post-post office America would look like. Take tiny Syria, Virginia, for example, where for over a hundred years the post office has resided in a walk-in closet-sized office inside Syria Mercantile Company, the village general store. Villagers faced with the closure of this resource may have to drive as far as 20 miles over back-country roads to mail a package or buy stamps.

The absurdity is the insistence by Congress that the United States Post Office operate as a profitable business or go “bankrupt.” As if a constitutionally authorized agency can? As if the Constitution or common sense requires it? Certainly the United States Post Office faces competition in major markets, and from the Internet, but what has that to

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Tom Sullivan

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