Sunday, July 19, 2009

Baloney: part 1 of a continuing series

As part of its disinformation scheme to cripple our government, the right wing has been trying to defame its various branches. A popular target of these attacks is the U. S. Postal Service (USPS): a quasi-government agency. The smear campaign has, to my knowledge, never presented any actual facts, other than that the USPS periodically raises its rates to repair its deficits -- an unpopular move -- and, like any large employer, has occasional , though well-publicized, problems with its employees ("going postal"). In fact, as an employer, USPS has a smaller percentage of its workers become victims of homicide than most other large employers -- this from a government study quoted in the L. A. Times (http://articles.latimes.com/2000/sep/01/news/mn-13847). Retail trade has a much higher homicide rate, yet no one speaks of an employee "going retail". Similarly for the police .

What about accusations of inefficiency and bad service? I could find no study claiming these bad qualities for the USPS; in fact, recent surveys have shown that well over 90% of its customers think the USPS renders dependable service at a reasonable price. On this matter I can give a personal verification.

For nearly 10 years a ran a small software business out of my home. For most of those years I used the USPS exclusively, and I shipped my product -- mathematical graphing software -- throughout the U.S. and probably a dozen foreign countries. During that time I sent thousands of packages via first-class mail, and not one was lost and only a handful were damaged -- and those only slightly. During the last years of my business I had a person doing my shipping for me who used United Parcel Service. UPS was comparable in price and, to be fair, also had an exemplary shipping record. UPS, on the other hand, is small in comparison with USPS, and doesn't handle letters.

In general, the right doesn't attack UPS because it is not tied to our government; however, true to form, the right doesn't like the fact that UPS has a strong union. When it comes to economic self-protection, the right is all for individualism -- no helpful government agencies and no unions. When it comes to privacy and individual liberties (other than firearms), though, Big Brother knows best.

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