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A Slow Shutdown

by on May 15, 2012
post office

Nobody found out that one of the post office’s buildings that helps you get your birthday card in a week was staying open via a letter. People got the information sent to them through a wire or the ether, or at worst by means of a newspaper tossed upon the doorstep.

By the time anyone who relies on some sort of super-speedy mailed federal newsletter gets the update, the facility in question may be shuttered. They’ll be fruitlessly wondering what happened.

By contrast to our glacial Postal Service, the only thing faster than information transmitted magically through space is the speed at which Charles Schumer calls press conferences. Blame him for the impossibly slow pace at which the primitive mail service sheds dead weight:

It looks like the United States Postal Service is giving the Williams Street Processing Facility a short reprieve.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer says the Postmaster General has told him that the facility will stay open for at least three years, keeping 700 jobs in tact for the time being.

By the same logic, we’d help the economy by keeping horse buggy building jobs “in tact,” too. Chuck and the article writer both know how to hit their big-spending talking points:

“Western New York businesses, residents, and senior citizens rely each and every day on the Williams St. Processing Center for timely and reliable mail service that delivers everything from paychecks to Social Security payments at their door. The Buffalo processing facility is simply too important to the Western New York community, and its 700 employees, to be shut down, and I’m thrilled to announce that the Postmaster General agrees,” said Schumer.

Emphasize the subsidized jobs and how much the mailman’s enemies hate grandmas. Still, we must save costs. Specifically, we must save costs somewhere else:

“While I recognize the importance of making cost-saving reforms in order to preserve Post Office’s vital services, I lobbied the Postmaster General to keep the Williams Street facility open, in order to prevent the loss of hundreds of jobs at the facility and hardship for families and businesses in Western New York.

Ask every single American to list 10 adjectives to classify their mail service, and Schumer will be the sole citizen to use the word “timely”:

Today’s news means the Buffalo processing facility’s doors will be open for years to come, providing Western New Yorkers with the timely mail delivery that they deserve.”

His skewed perspective explains so much about his career. And we wonder why lobbying carries a connotation on par with “ambulance chaser” or “angel dust-dealing ice cream man”:

2 On Your Side reported in February, the USPS had announced that the Buffalo facility would close May and transfer operations to the Rochester processing facility.

Another 60 miles between you and your mail shouldn’t make that much of a difference. You’ll still get your solicitation for a gutter-cleaning service, letter from your pen pal in Bolivia, and copy of Mad Magazine soon enough, as you don’t presently expect them quite quickly.

We’re enduring national pain when it comes to bloat caused by excessive consumption of currency. But we’ll never be cured unless we disavow the theory that pumping one extremity full of painkillers is the cure.

Keeping open an obsolete facility allegedly benefits locals, at least according to the miserably calculating people who see government spending as a game where winners intake more than they send to Washington. Such impulsive players never ponder what those extraneous jobs cost the economy in terms of resources that could be applied toward inducing progress. Or maybe the currency appears out of nowhere just like your interweb news.

The sadly likely postal bailout will take money that could be used to finance the design and construction of even more efficiently futuristic means of information transmission. Instead, it will fund salaries of professional dinosaur herders.

This particular government-oriented business wouldn’t survive with competition and is actually failing without it. The money used to prop the facility is merely being redistributed.

The building should be shuttered if it would make the service on the whole function better, even if it causes temporary local hardship. But too many leaders have concluded that government spending is at its best when its wasted on people who might vote for you.

At this rate, the United States Postal Service is almost as pointless as Chuck Nasty’s opinions. To be fair, money incinerated to support a dying industry is still a better value for your tax dollars than his salary.

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