While I Understand Why The Post Office Must Cut Back, I Don’t Understand Where People Will Find Good Jobs
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Post Office is considering cutbacks.
( Above—Sign in front of the post office in Nappanee, Indiana. Here is information about visiting Nappanee. )
From the WSJ report—
“The volume of first-class mail, the Postal Service’s most-lucrative business, has been eroded by the migration of bill payments and individual correspondence to the Internet. The economic downturn has exacerbated the financial woes by hitting catalogs and other direct-marketing mailings….The agency has previously struggled to cover its costs while meeting its mandate to provide mail service six days a week to all Americans, some 135.7 million delivery points. Faced with a $1.7 billion deficit in 2001, the agency raised postage rates and froze headquarters staff jobs….Continued automation, attrition and early retirements have helped pare the number of full-time employees to 636,000 from more than 800,000 in 2000. Mr. Potter said the Postal Service has reduced excess capacity but said it must become still “leaner and more efficient,” and cut “tens of thousands” more jobs….The agency is reviewing 3,100 post offices and retail outlets — out of 36,700 — for possible closure or consolidation, and it expects decisions by Oct. 1. Since 2000, the agency has shut 1,337 post offices and outlets, and since 2005 it has closed two of 380 mail-processing centers and consolidated nine. Dozens of other proposed closures or mergers were rejected, many following local resistance.”
I understand all this just as I understand why so many jobs in the automotive industry have been lost.
What I don’t understand is where people are going to find good jobs in the future.
Here is the link to the National Postal Museum. This museum is part of the Smithsonian and is in Washington, D.C.
Political columnist E.J. Dionne, who gets it right often enough, writes that President Obama is creating a political coalition inclusive of all with the exception of the far right.
Mr. Dionne says this—
“Over the last week, the true nature of Obama’s political project has come into much clearer view. He is out to build a new and enduring political establishment, located slightly to the left of center but including everyone except the far right. That’s certainly a bracing idea, since Washington has not seen a liberal establishment since the mid-1960s.”
I think Mr. Dionne misses something here that is picked by Bob Herbert of the New York Times.
From Mr. Herbert–….
“….the Center for Labor Market Studies has compiled data showing that the recession’s effects have been “disastrous beyond belief” for some groups, including young men, men without college degrees and black men. These job losses among young workers have ominous long-term implications for American families and the economy as a whole.”
It’s possible that President Obama cares about the plight of the most poor. Yet I’m yet to be convinced he cares enough to do anything about that plight or to take real political risks for the poor.
Addressing the needs of the truly down-and-out would require asking some basic questions about our economic system. It would also require asking questions about our Democratic party which uses the votes of the poor to gain office to extent those votes are needed, but often does little to offer hope to the poor the rest of the time.
President Obama is off to a good start in many respects, but there remains room for improvement. Taking political risks for the good of all Americans would be part of that needed improvement.
Time For Greater Compassion For Auto Employees Losing Jobs—The Need For A Program Of Full Employment
We all know that the American auto worker has taken a lot of hits in recent years and months.
It’s not only been auto plant workers. Car dealerships are taking cuts as well.
It’s become part of the routine when these folks lose their jobs, to criticize the American car industry for being out-of-touch with consumers and to criticize auto workers for not seeing the warning signs of trouble.
These things may be true in some respects. Though we should not forget that much of the criticism of the UAW is coming from the right and what they are objecting to at core is the idea of unions.
We should also note that consumers were in fact buying the big gas-guzzling cars that now seem—to a degree since many people are still buying them and driving them —out of touch with the times.
In any case, we all know the many issues involved. The point has been made—over and over again— that the auto industry had a large hand in its own troubles.
It’s time for compassion for these folks. Anybody losing his or her job after years on the assembly line is in big trouble. You can’t leave a job like that and make that kind of money again.
It’s easy to sit behind a keyboard and go on about some other guy’s troubles. The question now is what are we going to do to help these folks?
I don’t think anybody has an answer to that question. Just as I don’t think anybody knows what to do with the urban poor and rural poor in our country.
I question the commitment of President Obama and of the Democratic Congress to really taking on these questions. Doing so would mean addressing some core issues of our economic system, and addressing basic attitudes and stereotypes about people who have not had success in life or who are having a hard time in life.
Our criticism of auto workers seems in some ways meant to absolve ourselves of any oconcern for these people.
From the article—
“The right way to earn our way back to long-term prosperity is through stimulus efforts that will help develop, broadly deploy, fairly compensate and, especially, fully employ our human capital, which will always be our greatest source of national wealth. Only then will we have refired the commercial engines needed to recover from this dismal recession. And only then will we have addressed Americans’ belief that unemployment is by far, with no close second, the most important economic issue facing the country….We need an all-encompassing strategy on the massive scale we used at Normandy to win the war in Europe and that we later had behind the sweeping Marshall Plan to help rebuild Europe’s broken economies. This time, however, our big-thinking strategy must be about creating the 24 million jobs that are missing so that American workers will be nearly fully employed.”
This is the big way we need to be thinking. For all the improvement in our politics and policy with Mr. Obama in office instead of George W. Bush, we are not there yet.
( Blogger’s note—I do not subscribe to The Nation. I buy it on the newstand about once a month. It’s important to realize that seemingly free online content must be paid for by somebody. Please click here to read The Nation and please consider buying it on the newstand or becoming a home suscriber.)