Hidden just below the surface of many of today’s news headlines in the United States, is the privatization mania that is tempting American movers and shakers. Throughout the years, there have been many attempts to divest the US of our publicly owned assets. The most horrific schemes include the selling of our national parks, the “privatization” of Social Security, our education systems, and the breakup of the US Postal Service. Will the good of the general public be sacrificed for the massive profits of a very tiny elite?
A major part of the scheme is to create a public perception of the ineptness of the business plan of public institutions. Of course, Social Security is a very successful and lucrative part of our government, it’s easy to see why private interests want to take it out of our hands. Visions of more great profits arise with privatization of schools, much like the scheme that privatized our prisons into for profit businesses, who didn’t see problems with that? Obviously, the US Park Service is in the sights of real estate moguls. All of that beautiful prime property is filled to the brim with resources to be pillaged.
Meantime, the plight of the US Postal Service is at stake and the reasons are just as subversive. There has been a steady effort to portray the US Postal Service as inefficient. Special interest and political forces have advocated and enabled this perception to the public at large.
I have seen questionable moves in my town as the Postal Service closed the conveniently located main Post Office building and opened a “retail center” in the regional sorting warehouse at an inconvenient location at the outskirts of town. This move has been mostly unpopular and controversial. In my opinion, that was the unstated intent.
Mail delivery has been an integral part of our nation’s history ever since Benjamin Franklin was appointed as the first Postmaster General before our nation’s independence. Interestingly, before Franklin’s appointment on July 26, 1775, he had been dismissed from his position with the British Parliamentary Post despite his success in streamlining the service and encouraging its growth.
Franklin was dismissed from his office in 1774, for “pernicious activity” relating to allegations of abuse of his franking privileges. Postmasters were allowed to send official letters and documents without charge. Unfortunately, he also sent private correspondence through the mails with only his signature and used no stamps.
Franklin’s record with the postal office, authorized by the Continental Congress, was much better than his stint with the colonial overseers. Under Franklin’s direction, the post served to bind the loose confederation of colonies together. The office directly led to vital communication across the 13 colonies. Furthermore it served as a catalyst in the growth of commerce and industry. The postal system remains as the second oldest agency in the United States.
Why are we being told that it is in the nation’s best interest to divest itself of its second oldest institution? Apparently, the ultra conservative think tank “American Enterprise Institute”, advocates that the US Postal Service’s state of affairs should appear worse than it actually is. In order to facilitate privatization, the public needs to think the Postal Service is obsolete and doomed. The sales pitch says that the taxpayers’ interest must be protected by getting the US Postal Service off the books ASAP.
The “need” for haste should be a tip-off to the scam, but it has been below the media radar, so far. The American Enterprise Institute has openly stated that “Privatizing the USPS has the potential of being one of history’s biggest–and most profitable–real estate deals, ever.”
According to recent USPS inventory records, the agency owned 8,621 plots of real estate. Interior building space amounted to about 200,000,000 square feet. Those buildings were located on approximately 1,000,000,000 square feet of land area. Most of this land is in the heart of some of the most prime locations in cities and towns in the country. The American Enterprise Institute, may have low-balled the market value of the USPS property at around $27,000,000,000. Actually, the true market value of much of the USPS property may have never been officially appraised.
There is very little, if any, oversight of present day sales of USPS properties. The exclusive contract has been awarded to CBRE Group, Inc. There are allegations that CBRE real estate sales have been tainted with conflict of interest problems. There are further allegations that postal real estate has been liquidated at well below fair market values. This obviously benefits the buyers down the road.
The USPS is not supported by tax revenues, it serves the public interest on its own. The post office is under Constitutional regulation by the US Congress, so politicians directly control its decision making. Despite being purposely crippled by a politically motivated separate health and pension system, the Postal Service operates at a potential profit without any federal subsidies. The politically driven “crisis” is clearly designed to snatch away our post office from the public.
The latest privatization schemes, including the downsizing of the US Postal Service, that plague the country mimick the corruption of post-Soviet Russia. Our infrastructure will no longer belong to us, its fate will be decided behind closed doors, out of public view. The carving up of America is already taking place.