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Archives: USPS Bailout is an act of political cowardice

Originally published in April 2012
Simon Nguyen

Government bailout seems to be the only thing members of Congress could compromise on in this election year. Senators from both parties joined in unison to overwhelmingly pass an $11 billion bailout for the U.S. Postal Service. Although the measure still needs to be approved by the House, the odds it will fail are miniscule. This political stunt is a perfect example of why most polls are showing Congress’ job rating at near historical lows.

At current form, the postal bailout is nothing more than an attempt to “throw money” at a problem. The legislation does not fix any of the structural issues faced by the agency. The proposed elimination of Saturday delivery, which is critical to any reform, was omitted from the measure. Possible closings of low-traffic postal offices were also curiously absent. This stop-gap legislation is clearly designed to appease powerful labor unions in an election year rather than actually fixing problems.

The bailout is part of a pattern of political cowardice exhibited by elected officials. Despite bold statements from government leaders, there has been no credible attempt to contain the nation’s ballooning debts. In fact, Congress has not produced a budget since 2009. The reason for the inaction is very clear. Few politicians in Washington have the courage to back unpopular measures needed to cut the deficits.

President Barack Obama is also not exempt from the blame. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the president’s recently proposed budget will add $6.4 trillion to the deficits in 10 years. President Obama likes to deride Congress for a lack of political courage, but he is equally guilty on that front.

The good news is that American voters are increasingly wary of the status quo. In point of fact, the last three national elections were won by the party that ran in the banner of change and governmental reform. The whole tea party movement was born out of a desire to restore fiscal sanity to the U.S.

Americans are clearly sending a message to Washington. Whether Congress and the president will actually heed the warning is a big question mark.

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