Dead Tree Edition is an often interesting blog that covers the printing industry, which means that it frequently has a few words to say about the US Postal Service. Yesterday the blog featured an item entitled “It’s Time for Liberals To Rethink USPS Downsizing”. It’s an odd piece.
The first oddity is the opening line:
Liberal conspiracy theories about the Postmaster General’s plan to downsize the U.S. Postal Service ran head on into reality yesterday.
Dead Guy never explains what those “conspiracy theories” are, so your guess is as good as mine.
But nevermind that- what startling new “reality” did we run into that changes everything?
A press release from the USPS Board of Governors backing the Postmaster General.
In Dead Guy’s opinion this press release is a game changer. Why? Because of the name of the Chairman of the Board of Governors. You will be forgiven if you don’t know the name of the Chairman of the Board of Governors. Unless, of course you are a liberal! Because the Chairman of the Board of Governors is none other than Thurgood Marshall Jr! The Chairman of the Board of Governors is the son of Thurgood Marshall!! So, obviously, any liberals who have harbored any doubts about the wisdom of massive layoffs, shutdowns and service cutbacks must immediately change their minds, right?
In the first place, while the name Thurgood Marshall means a lot to most liberals, he’s dead, and has been for quite some time now. And I suspect that most liberals have no idea that a Thurgood Marshall Jr exists- much less any idea where he stands on postal reform. I’m proud to consider myself a liberal, but were it not for my interest in postal affairs, I would have no more concern for the opinions of Thurgood Marshall Jr than I do for those of Adlai Stevenson IV, or Luci Baines Johnson Nugent Turpin. (Do you suppose Dennis Ross checks with Ron Reagan before taking a position?)
Thurgood Marshall Jr. may well be a very nice man, but he is not known as a leader of American Liberalism. He, like most of his colleagues on the BOG, is a politically well connected lobbyist. The idea that he’s been spending sleepless nights wrestling with his liberal conscience over postal reform before finally handing down a landmark pronouncement on the issue is just plain silly.
There’s nothing new or surprising in Marshall’s statement. The same BOG that backs the PMG elected Thurgood Marshall Jr. as its chairman, so if you find it surprising that Marshall backs the BOG’s official line, you haven’t been paying attention.
Dead Guy also makes the unsupported assertion that “The Postal Service’s expenses are billions of dollars higher than its revenues (even if the retiree-benefits and pension accounting games are excluded).”
Last time we checked, the PAEA trust fund contained $42 billion. Deduct the $13 billion USPS had to borrow, and you find that, excluding “retiree-benefits and pension accounting games”, USPS expenses have been $29 billion LOWER than revenues!
So Dead Guy’s wrong on both the facts and his analysis of them- but could there be a kernel of truth in what he writes?
Consider the fact that Marshall also serves on the board of the Corrections Corporation of America, “the largest commercial vendor of federal detainment and prisoner transport in the United States”. I suspect that his appointment to CCA’s board had less to do with his expertise in the area of putting people in jail, than with the fact that his name is Thurgood Marshall Jr. It’s a good name to have handy when you get sued by the ACLU, or when you’re trying to convince legislators to enact laws that increase prison sentences (and therefore your profits).
Now put yourself in the position of the BOG, trying to put a happy face on your plans to destroy the unions and decimate the USPS- who better than a nice guy with a liberal brand name!
Maybe that’s the conspiracy Dead Guy’s talking about?