Monday, February 11, 2013

Delivering The Future Of The Middle Class

With respect to one of our all-time favorite cartoon characters, Charlie Brown, he hasn't been the only one saying "Good Grief" lately.

The story surrounding the U.S. Postal Service's decision to cut Saturday delivery has cut to the heart of what most Americans believe, and still hope for. We touched on the topic ourselves just last Thursday, pointedly noting that reason the Postal Service is in such a position is because of actions taken by Republicans in the lame-duck session of Congress in 2006.

In the week where the President of The United States presents the State of The Union address to the entire nation, we can think of no better time to directly address why so many Americans have been stunned by what's happening to the United States Postal Service.

One reason is simple: our postal service is most of us, hard-working, middle class Americans.

The U.S. Postal Service has, for much of its existence, been an economic ladder for middle and lower class, blue-collar Americans, and for African Americans and armed forces veterans, especially. For Americans willing to work hard and be trustworthy, their long hours and loyalty to their neighbors and their jobs - especially during the kinds of weather that keep everyone else home -  have been repaid with the kind of decent pay and benefits that the corporate "leaders" in America long ago gutted from their contracts with most U.S. workers.

The U.S. Postal Service has also been the backbone upon which many of those same supposedly "self-made" titans of business have made their fortunes. Without the Postal Service, the hundreds of thousands of jobs at online retailers like Amazon, and more traditional retailers like Target and Wal-Mart would never have happened. Without the Postal Service, private shippers like Fed-Ex and UPS would also be dead in the water.

Still, many of those same private companies are now calling for nearly everything about the Postal Service to be privately contracted out - to them - except, of course, for the most important part of delivery: the last mile. It should be no surprise to anyone that the "last mile" - the portion of delivery that ends up at your door - is also the most expensive and least profitable part of the entire endeavor.

That the Wall Street corporatists want to keep the best and easiest earned profits from postal delivery for themselves, while sticking the American people with the bill for the most expensive part of the business should be no surprise, given the previously unprecedented level of dishonesty and selfishness shown by Wall Street "leaders" over the past few years. It should also be no surprise that no private corporation is willing to pay hard-working Americans a salary worthy of the sacrifices and responsibility being asked of our U.S. Postal Service workers.

President Obama will squarely lay out his case this week in his State of the Union address that it is now time, once again, for job growing investment in America.

After 35 months of positive economic growth, growth that ONLY the private sector was able to enjoy, we completely agree that it is time that America take on the responsible, sensible - some might even argue conservative - actions necessary to conserve those things which are at the very core of what it means to be an American citizen. The idea that hard work, loyalty, honesty, and integrity are keys to a middle class life, through jobs like those in the USPS, is chief among them.

There should be no argument that our constitutionally mandated U.S. Postal Service - and the ladder to middle class status it provides - is one of those great things about our nation which must be protected and conserved. It is as iconically, uniquely American as apple pie and Charlie Brown.