By Matthew Rothschild on February 06, 2013

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader and Senator Bernie Sanders condemned the U.S. Postal Service for its decision to end Saturday delivery.

"The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) today continued its tradition under the leadership of Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe of shooting itself in the foot," Nader said. "The only question that remains is: When will the madness end? By ending Saturday letter delivery in August 2013, as the USPS has proposed, millions of customers who take advantage of its services will be harmed, mail service will be slowed, and the USPS's current death spiral will deepen."

Nader also called into question the legality of the move.

"In making the move to end Saturday letter delivery, Postmaster General Donahoe has not only shown his complete disregard for the good of the USPS's consumers, but he has also ignored the will of Congress," Nader said. "For decades, Congress has mandated six-day delivery. Congress must act to protect rural communities, small businesses, the elderly, and the disabled, among others by reasserting its authority over the U.S. Postal Service and stopping it from making such an irresponsible decision."

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont echoed Nader. "The postmaster general cannot save the Postal Service by ending one of its major competitive advantages," he said. "Cutting six-day delivery is not a viable plan for the future." Sanders added that it "will harm rural America while doing very little to improve the financial condition of the Postal Service. Providing fewer services and less quality will cause more customers to seek other options. Rural Americans, businesses, senior citizens and veterans will be hurt by ending Saturday mail."

Many disabled people, veterans, and elderly folks who sometimes get their Social Security checks or Veterans' checks on a Saturday will now have to wait until Monday to get their checks, and they are often desperately short by the end of the month already. This will make tthose last few days even more excruciating than ever. And many veterans are employed by the Postal Service and some could lose their jobs in the cutbacks that will flow from ending Saturday delivery.

Both Nader and Sanders noted that the financial burden the Postal Service faces was manufactured by Congress. In 2006, Congress required the Postal Service to "pre-fund 75 years' worth of future retiree health benefits over a 10-year period," said Sanders. "That pre-funding requirement is responsible for about 80 percent of the Postal Service's financial losses since 2007. No other government agency, no other corporation in America is burdened with this mandate. This mandate must be lifted."

Nader pointed out how silly this mandate is, saying it "effectively forces the USPS to prefund retiree health benefits for some of its future employees who haven't even been born yet!"

Nader added: "Postmaster General Donahoe has demonstrated that he lacks the political courage to stand up to Congress and tell them that they caused this mess and they need to fix it."

Nader called for Donahoe to resign.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Obama's So-So Speech on Immigration."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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