By David Cohen
You wouldn’t hand your laptop to a hacker, right? Well, the Senate could make a move just as foolish. They’ll soon vote on nominations to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors, which include a longtime advocate for postal service privatization and a lobbyist for the payday lending industry.
The internet has changed how most of us communicate, but mail remains a central part of our communications infrastructure. A public postal service supports democracy and commerce by providing affordable mail service to everyone, rich or poor, in all areas of the country. It also nurtures marginalized communities by providing access to good jobs and career advancement.
Despite being under attack, including the absurd requirement to ‘pre-fund’ the next 75 years of the agency’s retiree health benefits in a ten-year span—a demand not made of any other federal agency or any well-run private company—the USPS has remained a vibrant public service. Even free market pioneer Adam Smith thought that communication, like roads and education, is “no doubt” beneficial to all of society, and therefore should be supported by all of society.
With privatization on the table to solve a manufactured problem, we need a board that will protect, modernize, and expand the USPS as a core public function, not outsource it to corporations like Staples. Instead of appointing a payday lending lobbyist, we should further explore using post offices for public banking to help the millions of ‘unbanked’ Americans that must rely on high-priced payday lenders to cash their paychecks and pay their bills.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is opposing this recent slate of nominees. The USPS and the thousands of workers that rely on its middle class jobs shouldn’t be sacrificed for the sake of private investment. Spread the word, and please call or write your Senators in the next few weeks to support The Leadership Conference’s efforts to preserve a postal service that benefits all of us.
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