Sunday, June 28, 2020

Oh, DeJoy!

Louis DeJoy is the new Postmaster General of the United States.  And that's not good.
DeJoy is a Trump donor and a Republican Party hack who is likely to do more harm than good to the United States Postal Service, which has been losing money and has been getting closer to possible bankruptcy.  Although he serves at the pleasure of the U.S. Postal Service's board of governors, he acts like he serves at the pleasure of the President, something no Postmaster General has done since the post office went from being a Cabinet-level department to an independent agency in 1971.  And Trump has repeatedly called the post office a joke, calling for the Postal Service to raise rates on packages since his arch-rival Jeff Bezos' Amazon firm, which would pass the costs onto the consumer.
Although President Nixon's push to have the post office pay its own way and be weaned off taxpayer support has largely been seen as a qualified success, to say the least (the very least), one good thing about the Postal Service being a separate agency is that the executive branch has had no direct control over the  agency anymore.  This means that, up to now at least, the White House has never had one of its cronies in charge.  Before then, there were numerous examples of that.  President Benjamin Harrison give the job to Philadelphia department store owner John Wanamaker, who showed favoritism toward Republican postal employees and banned a Tolstoy novel from being sent by the U.S. mail - on obscenity grounds - because he couldn't get a big enough discount on copies for his department store.  Wanamaker also ordered postal uniforms from a company he had a financial interest in.  (I still love his store [now a Macy's], the most beautiful edifice in all of Philadelphia.)  I need also mention Lawrence O'Brien, a Postmaster General from the 1960s who was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson.  O'Brien's background was in real estate and public relations. A former director of the Kennedy and Johnson presidential campaigns, O'Brien is best remembered as the Postmaster General who canceled postal contracts with railroads, which relied on them to keep their pass  passenger trains going, and had the mail delivered only by air and highway transport.  The result?  The decline of passenger trains in the United States.  This led President Nixon to nationalize intercity rail transport and create Amtrak, but O'Brien's idiotic move led to many passenger rail routes across America bring terminated.
Oh yeah, O'Brien went on to become the commissioner of the National Basketball Association.  I fail to see the connection between mail and sports.
DeJoy's background is in logistics, but he has no direct experience with moving the mail.  And as a Trump loyalist, he can be expected to carry out various "reforms" that can cripple the Postal Service more than any presidentially appointed Postmaster General did back when it was called the Post Office Department.  Meanwhile, Democrats are pushing voting by mail at the same Trump - and, likely, DeJoy - are trying to stop it.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
(Although, if DeJoy intervenes with the U.S stamp program and gets rid of some of the more trivial stamp subjects the Postal Service has embraced of late - stamps for ice pops, pickup trucks, and, being issued this week, hip-hop - ! - I won't be offended.) 

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