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January 17, 2006

Cutting Spending

-- by Dave Johnson

Ever notice how Republicans will never say exactly WHAT "big government" spending they want to cut? And if you really, really press them, they'll name something that adds up to maybe a half a percent of the budget deficit and think they're all righteous.

ANYway, I just went to the Post Office because I had to get a utility bill into the mail and only had a 37-cent stamp. So I had to get a 2-cent stamp. When I got there the vending achine was broken and there was a line. 20 minutes later I get to the front of the line, slam down the envelope and two pennies, said "20 minutes!" and walked out.

Now I feel terrible for the employee. It wasn't her fault, but she had to soak up my anger - and probably has to do this dozens of times a day. No wonder they "go postal."

But this is about more than just that.

The reason I had to wait 20 minutes is because, as a result of "spending cuts," they don't have enough employees to serve the public. A better example is any government service, most notably state driver's license bureaus. In California it's called the DMV. The public demands "spending cuts" and the DMV reduces the number of employees. And then, of course, people are upset that there are long lines at the DMV and blames "the government" for being "inefficient." Same fthing or waiting for a police car.

My personal favorite is cutting the funding for public schools and then saying they should "compete" with private schools that charge thousands per year. (The something-thousand per year per student at public schools is mostly to cover the cost of students with special needs, that private schools won't admit.)

The Republicans have been persuing a strategy of purposely making people angry at government, fracturing society and dividing us, to gain power. And look how the use the power they gain...

Update - I'm NOT complaining about the price increase. I'll gladly pay a little more if they will hire enough employees to keep the lines down.

Posted by Dave Johnson at January 17, 2006 10:58 AM

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Comments

Poor or slow service at a government office isn't unique to either party. It's pathetic that you've attempted to make this a GOP issue.

Your claim has no merit, no basis in fact.

Posted by: Sickofspin at January 17, 2006 11:21 AM

I think your claim has many merits in fact, Dave! Just letting you know ..

Posted by: Helga Fremlin at January 17, 2006 1:16 PM

Dave stated exactly how and why government services have decayed over the last few decades. It corresponds exactly with the rise of the hard right.

Sick just plugged the current topic into his template:

X isn't unique to either party. It's pathetic that you've attempted to make this a GOP issue.

Your claim has no merit, no basis in fact.

Posted by: richard [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 17, 2006 1:41 PM

Yeah, I haven't been able to get stamps yet either. The line's still out the door, and we've been having true January winter weather here. The unpaid bills are piling up. Too bad.

I know most of the employees at our local post office. Nice little group, just trying to earn a living, in spite of being terribly overworked. Dave's right about cutting staff to pay for 'spending cuts' but there's more going on with the feds than just that. The feds are busy reducing ALL the services of the federal government to a state of total inefficiency. Usually by contracting out what the government normally does. This is NOT cutting costs. We still have Civil Service, and those Civil Service employees are still employed. On top of this they've added an army of expensive and inefficient contractors. Just take a look at the incredible mess the new Medicare private drug plans are causing, and what this is costing federal, state and local governments -- not to mention pharmacists and doctors. And the poor, put-upon patients who aren't getting their medications.

Posted by: MJ at January 17, 2006 3:00 PM

Whenever I'm pissed off at a company or organization, I do my best to make it clear to the front line individual facing me that I understand that they did not create the problem, and that I am not angry with them, but that it is very important that they convey to their managers how upset I am... and sometimes, I even ask to speak to a manager directly, since it is ultimately their responsibility to solve the problem, not the customer service rep's.

... and the post office's problems are a product of poor management and the ongoing and systematic attempt to hamstring public services by demoralizing their workforces and defunding them.

Posted by: Thomas Leavitt at January 18, 2006 8:08 AM

The Postal Service in not subsidized by the federal government. This recent 2 cent raise is directly caused by the Bush administration. Requiring the USPS to place 3.1 Billion a year in escrow to cover retirement costs that over 2 years ago were determined to be excess.

Posted by: Pat DeVita at January 18, 2006 9:56 AM

First and formost you are forgetting that the Postal Service is NOT a part of the Federal Goverment. Or so they would like us to believe. When they joined the internet they slipped up and painted USPS.gov on the sides of their fleet. Quickly changed to USPS.com. If you type the URL USPS.gov in your browser it will redirect you to USPS.com. Regardless of this what you experienced has nothing to do with government budget cuts. It has everything to do with the USPS having a monopoly on the mail. Welcome to the world of no competition. When no one is breathing down your neck you can provide any kind of poor service you want. Where else is the customer going to go? The monolopy is even extended to the mailbox attached to your house. Postal regualtions state that no one, other than the PS, can leave packages within a three foot radius of your mailbox. That's why my UPS packages are left inside my front door. When Electornic Funds Transfer happened years ago the USPS tried to say that this was a Postal function and that they should get revenue out of it. I'm as to the left as most of your readers but I draw the line when you've clearly made a mistake in your assumptions. You and your readers should look at "Free the Mail".

Posted by: Cjop at January 18, 2006 8:42 PM

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