• Burnout

The Postal Service Conspiracy, Explained

Nancy Pelosi is recalling the House of Representatives back from recess. There are a few good reasons she could be doing this. She could recall the House to deal with Coronavirus relief, but that’s not it. She could be calling them to begin an investigation into the staggeringly disproportionate number of COVID related deaths in the five states where governors inexplicably ordered COVID patients be locked down in nursing homes with some of our most vulnerable citizens. But she’s not doing that either. She's worried about. . . .



Yep, she's VERY worried about your social security check getting delivered, even though social security checks aren't sent through the mail anymore (thanks, Obama!) so she’s investigating why mailboxes are being removed from streets in CA, OR, and NJ. Hmph.


Now, for sure, if the mailboxes were just becoming sentient and removing themselves, that’d be worth investigating. It’d also be worth investigating if, say, they were being put in the path of destruction of violent separatist groups.


They’re not though. The mailboxes are primarily being removed because they’re mostly relay boxes, which move all the time based on population needs. That they’d be leaving places in CA, OR, and NJ--which are bleeding population like a stuck pig--should surprise nobody outside of governors Newsom, Brown, and Murphy respectively.


We, of course, do not have a responsible media, and so the conspiracy theory that Trump is somehow trying to cripple the post-office ahead of the election got started. Let’s review why this is silly: 1. The post-office has been crippling itself for generations now. They’ve only run a budget surplus for 11 of the last 60 years, all but one during the Clinton and W presidencies. Between decades of bloated pension obligations and declining usage, they just can’t generate revenue on the scale that they need to in order to survive. This is in part because…


2. The post-office just isn’t as vital as it used to be. In 1850, your options to communicate were “see the person” or “mail a letter.” The reality is that between the rise of FedEx/UPS/DHL, the demise of the concept of long distance calling, and the use of email for business correspondence and marketing, the need for the post-office has been steadily declining for decades. “But people still need to ship things, Burnout” you cry. And this is true, but that hasn’t helped the post-office because…


3. Their service sucks. Some of this is budgetary; you get what you pay for and letter carriers' last golden days were when I was a little kid. Some of it, however, is the nature of government vs. non-government entity. UPS and FedEx are reachable on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. You’re far less likely to get a little note that says “could not deliver” from them (I’ve gotten two from the post office this month, one for a package smaller than a loaf of bread, while FedEx managed to deliver two paintings and a kitchen table directly to my door without incident). Carriers like UPS and FedEx need you to be a repeat customer because if you don’t they’ll die, which brings me to point four…


4. The actions of the Trump administration directly contradict this line of thinking. At the outset of the full blown CoronaPanic in April, Congress passed a 10 billion dollar loan to help the post-office. Mnuchin floated the idea of using the loan as leverage for postal reform, but that’s neither here nor there, because ultimately the White House didn’t even utter a whimper over the money. Were Trump so Machieavellian in his machinations, he’d have taken the opportunity to crush the post-office preemptively. Instead, he went about his business as an executive and let Congress go about theirs as legislators.


What’s more telling, however, is how Dems and Journos (but I repeat myself) make such stupidly disingenuous arguments that this is somehow evidence that Trump is trying to repress votes.


Take this one:



In another life, before I was financially sound, I used to fly Spirit Airlines when the need for air travel arose. It was horrible, and every Christmas season I now sit in a first class seat and thank God for United Airlines. If you’ve never flown Spirit we should talk some time, but for now, just know that you’re essentially not allowed to bring a carry-on. You can, but it’s costly. So costly, in-fact, that it used to be cheaper to just ship winter clothing back north to my parents’ house. Every year, I’d vacuum pack my clothes into a large Priority Mail box and send it on its merry way. Every year, I had to get the package weighed (why I have no idea; "if it fits it ships for a low, flat rate" was the marketing slogan at the time), and then the lady would put a special label on the box. Then she’d scan it. This woman goes on in some subsequent tweets to mention that she ships a lot of goods via Etsy, and so she’s set up to print the labels at home, thus causing her rent envelope to not be scanned for 10 days.


While I, quite frankly, don’t believe that, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. Here is the fool proof way to avoid her problem every time. Walk in. Say “I need this postmarked as today, please.” Voila.


The reality of the post office is that part of why it has survived is that it offers the postmarking service, provided you’re actually mailing something and can pay the rate of the first-class postage (you can afford a stamp). There’s no trick to it; it’s just a simple trick!


Then there’s the disingenuous claim that this will prevent people from mailing their ballots.


Yes, the blue relay boxes are being moved. Let me tell you something really cool: If you put the mail in your mailbox with the appropriate postage, the mail carrier will actually pick it up from your house. In fact, most mailboxes come pre-equipped with a little flag to let them know you have outgoing mail. Just raise the little red flag when you put the letter in, and the mail carrier lowers the flag when they take the mail. Trump could remove every relay box in the country and melt them down into bricks, and you’d still be able to mail your ballots, or insulin, or Christmas cards.


Then, of course, there are these four tweets (s/o to Meara for dragging them earlier and making my job for this column way easier).




Then there is the whole "TRUMP IS RIGGING THE ELECTION BY DISMANTLING THE POST OFFICE!!!!! REEEEEEE" line of thinking, as posited by stuff like this:

That are complete nonsense and quickly debunked by simple google searches;


Hollywood has to get in the mix, because of course Hollywood has to get in the mix:

Yep, Jamie Lee Curtis thinks Trump supporters are LITERALLY stealing a mail trucks in order to rig the election. Not like, that postal truck probably needed new spark plugs or something.


Then there was Taylor Swift, who loves USPS so much, GUYS!:

Except, she doesn't use USPS to ship her shitty, overpriced, merch


The reality is that some of the most liberal Democrats in Congress and the media were openly calling out the post-office for years over their terrible service, financial problems, accessibility issues, and security concerns. Nobody is relying on them for medicine if they can choose a different shipper. Nobody is choosing the USPS if they can avoid it--for anything--because the post-office is unreliable and inaccessible.


If you’re unhappy about the continued reduced services and hours perhaps you should reflect on the fact that most government services are not available at convenient times of day for the vast majority of American workers. Perhaps that is indicative of the real problem. Hell, I get to leave work at 3 every day and even I have to beat it over to the post-office to get there before they close.


No, the post-office isn’t healthy, and no, mail in elections are probably a terrible idea, but the Postal Service has enough funds to sustain itself through the end of 2021. . . according to the Postal Service:



Don’t let the Dems and the media (but there I go repeating myself again) lie to you and tell you problems they were screaming about during the Obama administration are somehow Orange Man's fault.


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Mathew Foldi is a Lib