Blade Runner, Terminator, Minority Report and the deliberate sabotage of the Postal Service

Ten years from today, in 2023, a baby will be born. She will grow up, head off to school, graduate from high school in the class of 2041 and then graduate from college in the class of 2045.

She will get a job with the U.S. Post Office, starting work there in 2046 and staying on until retirement at age 65 in 2088.

Just think of that date: 2088. That’s the future. It’s decades after the future we’ve imagined.

It’s 87 years after a Space Odyssey; 69 years after Blade Runner; 61 years after Children of Men; 59 years after the robots take over in Terminator; 34 years after Minority Report; four years after Total Recall.

I’ll be long dead by then. So will every current member of Congress. 2088 is a long, long way away.

And yet, today, now, at the moment, the U.S. Postal Service is required by law to already be pre-funding employee benefits for that baby who won’t be born until 2023 and won’t start working for the USPS until 2046.

Why? Well, because Americans like the Postal Service. They may not like standing in long lines at the post office — the high cost of low taxes for everyone — but they like the idea of the Postal Service. They rely on it and rely on being able to rely on it.

And the Postal Service is run by the government, even though it funds itself without any tax dollars.

So if your whole political shtick is based on being anti-government, then the Postal Service is a threat you’ve got to get rid of. That’s why, back in 2006, Republicans in Congress passed something called the “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act,” requiring the agency to “pre-fund its future health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years in an astonishing ten-year time span.”

(The USPS is also home to lots of unionized public employees, and the GOP lately has decided that unionized public employees are Public Enemy No. 1. That’s an odd claim — villainizing police officers, firefighters, first responders, teachers and mail carriers doesn’t seem like an easy or an obvious task, but that’s the current Republican plan, and the “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act” is a part of that strategy.)

The PAEA was designed to bankrupt the Postal Service — to turn a government service that Americans like into something that could be railed against as wasteful, inefficient and costly. That’s what the law was meant to do. That’s exactly what the law is doing, just as planned.

It was a deliberate act of sabotage. And it’s working. The whole point of requiring the agency today to fund benefits for workers it won’t hire until 2046 was to ensure that the agency wouldn’t still be around in 2046 to hire anybody.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, has introduced a bill to repeal the sabotage of the Postal Service — getting rid of the malicious and absurd requirement for pre-funding 75 years worth of benefits, and rescuing the agency from this Bush-era attempt to euthanize it.

But the Republicans who passed the sabotage bill in 2006 are still in charge of the House of Representatives today, so DeFazio’s bill faces a brick wall of opposition. The last thing that John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan want to see is a money-saving plan to improve the efficiency of a government service beloved and relied on by the American people.

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  • Alix

    Republicans do not seem to be very good at long-term thinking. If their little plan succeeds in getting rid of the Postal Service, how the hell do they think they’ll be getting their mail?

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    The magical free market will provide of course!
    (Please ignore that all major non-USPS carriers use USPS to provide services to large areas of the country that just aren’t economical for a private company to do themselves).

  • Alix

    I just… *throws hands up in air*

    It boggles me that anyone would seriously support this bullshit. It boggles me that enough people did that this bullshit became law.

    There is seriously no clearer indicator of how irrational the modern Republican party is than this thing with USPS, because my god. Not only are they shooting themselves in the foot, but they’re flat-out stating that they don’t want useful government agencies – ones they use – to actually work, to actually cost the taxpayers nothing, to actually be efficient. The government could meet the needs and wants of the citizenry perfectly, without costing them a dime, and the Republicans would want to rip it to shreds, because Government, idk. Like, omg, how dare society actually work.

    I seriously wonder how the hell this doesn’t count as some kind of treason. I am, honest to god, almost to the point where I consider being a Republican criminal, I am that fed up with this shit.

  • AnonaMiss

    It boggles me that anyone would seriously support this bullshit. It boggles me that enough people did that this bullshit became law.

    It didn’t become law because enough people supported it; it became law because enough money supported it.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    The Post Office has also proposed using banking to increase its cash flow, offering fee free checking accounts. Congress passed a law to PREVENT it from doing that too.

  • Alix

    *sigh*

  • P J Evans

    They also can’t license their logo for clothing or do anything else that would make money.

  • Matri

    They aren’t just shooting themselves in the foot. They’re jumping into shark-infested waters to do it while blaming everyone else for not talking them out of it.

  • addicted4444

    ++++

    FedEx and UPS are only profitable because they can skim off the cream of the market (profitable high end services to major cities) while letting USPS handle the loss-making parts of deliveries and mail.

    Of course, the irony is that it is rural, republican voting areas which will get hurt the most. In a purely private market, liberal cities such as NYC, LA, Chicago will only get cheaper service, while rural areas will be more expensive.

  • rm

    But when mail service fails in rural areas, people will blame the government. It’s a win-win for Republicans.

  • Frank Delao

    An article at Motley Fool recently, talked about how UPS and FedEx are heavily subsidized by USPS. Don’t forget the millions of dollars every year the OSHA collects from the Post Office.

  • Wednesday

    UPS is also profitable because they sometimes are point-blank dishonest. A few years back the NYTimes did a nice bit of investigative journalism where reporters went to UPS stores that also offered USPS shipping. The stores were supposed to only charge USPS rates for USPS shipping, but at almost every store the journalists went to, the cost quoted to them for mailing a package through USPS was inflated from the actual rate just enough so that it would be cheaper to ship UPS.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Wait. Why isn’t that a federal crime?

  • Colorado Springs ET

    An article at Motley Fool told about how the Postal Service actually subsidizes FedEx and UPS by millions of dollars a year!

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    No one has ever imagined the market to be magical, and, with a government-subsidized road system, the market in mail transport cannot be considered “free”. The market can provide mail to all areas of the country, but the costs would surely be much higher than those of today.

  • Alix

    I like my government-subsidized roads, thanks.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    “If only we got rid of those damned taxes, everything would be so much WORSE!”
    That’s… an original argument, I’ll grant you.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Things would be worse in the realm of government services; however, many would have more money left to pay for them. Note that I am not advocating the abolition of taxes.

  • Mark Z.

    No one has ever imagined the market to be magical, and, with a government-subsidized road system, the market in mail transport cannot be considered “free”.

    Wrong. The roads are equally open to anyone–UPS and FedEx and bicycle messengers use them just like the postal service does.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    That’s a sign of a lack of a free market. In a free market, only the users of roads would pay the fees required by private road companies to use them.

  • Foelhe

    And I’ve explained to you how this makes no sense, yes? Just because you don’t drive on a road yourself doesn’t mean it’s not useful to you. (My last example was farming roads, but roads for mail carriers also works.)

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Link, please?

  • Foelhe

    It… this isn’t something that you need a graph to prove. If a road is used by someone who’s bringing you food (or mail, or if they’re doing any other service for you), you benefit from that road. If you only charge people who physically use that road in person, you’re ignoring that fact, and putting a huge portion of the burden on providers. That’s not a scientific hypothesis, that’s just basic logic.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Those who indirectly benefit will also indirectly pay under a privatized road system; they will be charged higher prices by providers of goods and services that use the private roads.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    What would likely happen is that people in poorer or less-frequented areas wouldn’t be able to pay for the upkeep of their streets and roads, and the lack of transportation would serve to make them poorer, and it’d be a vicious cycle.

  • Foelhe

    And to bring up my earlier post, if you have a road through farmland that only connects with a dozen or so farms everyone is screwed. Either farmers have to use the road all the time, in which case they have to jack the price of food WAY up and everyone suffers, or they don’t use it that often and the person who owns the road can’t afford to fix it when it falls into disrepair.

  • reynard61

    From your post above (I’m combining them because it’ll make my points easier to understand):

    “In a free market, only the users of roads would pay the fees required by private road companies to use them.”

    So how are you going to *collect* those fees, Mr. Business Wiz? What if streets in a certain area are owned by *multiple* road companies? (i.e. North-South streets are owned by Acme Roads and East-West streets are owned by Amalgamated Roadways, while alleys and other smaller access roads are owned by Joe’s Streets and Alleys.) What are you going to do? Put toll booths on *every* corner?! How are you going to charge? By the mile? The half-mile? The linear foot? Are you going to use manned or automated booths? How are you going to *support* such an infrastructure? (And are repair trucks going to have to pay tolls to their competitors whenever they have to use said competitor’s roads?) What about Emergency vehicles in non-emergency situations? (i.e. Police cars out on normal patrol.) Are you going to charge them at the booth or negotiate a deal beforehand? Hell, these questions only *begin* to cover what you’re going to have to answer if you’re going to put a “private road companies” business model before your “adoring” public. *I’d* rather walk barefoot on broken glass, myself…

    “Those who indirectly benefit would also indirectly pay under a privatized road system; they would be charged higher prices by providers of goods and services that use the private roads.”

    You mean *on top of* all the tolls that they had to pay in the scenario outlined above?!?!?! So how do they afford to eat? How do they afford to pay the rent? How do they afford to feed themselves? (Remember: Most food gets *trucked in on roads!* But, hey! More money for the private sector, right?) Under your proposed Libertopia, would anyone even *want* to venture beyond their own driveway — or will you charge a toll for using *that* too? (I can see one good thing coming from this, though: a lot less pollution because no one can afford to drive; unless, of course you charge for bicycles and pedestrians as well…)

    So, yeah; go ahead and enjoy your little feudalistic fantasy Mr. Enopoletus Galt. Me? I’ll be using the taxpayer-subsidized streets where I live to get where I need to go and thanking Luna and Celestia that I have a reasonably good government that built and maintains them. Happy trails!

  • Jenora Feuer

    What if streets in a certain area are owned by *multiple* road
    companies? (i.e. North-South streets are owned by Acme Roads and
    East-West streets are owned by Amalgamated Roadways, while alleys and
    other smaller access roads are owned by Joe’s Streets and Alleys.)

    And, of course, this sort of thing has a long history of already happening anyway.

    Before the city of Toronto was amalgamated the the Ontario Provincial Government, there were six separate cities (well, five cities and one borough) plus the ‘Metro’ municipality that covered the same area and controlled the regional services such as police and transit.

    Major streets that crossed city boundaries (such as Eglinton) fell under the jurisdiction of the Metro government, while smaller streets fell under the jurisdiction of the individual city. This became an issue when the City of Toronto and Metro Toronto had conflicting by-laws regarding street usage, and you technically had to know who owned the street to know which set of by-laws to follow. (In particular, one considered people on roller blades as pedestrians that had to use the sidewalk, and the other considered people on roller blades as wheeled transport like bicycles that had to use the road.)

    And that’s even before you get into the highways within the city limits being provincial jurisdiction (meaning they’re covered by an entirely different police force, even); the 407 which is a toll highway for which tolls are collected by a separate company that then outsources the enforcement back to the government; or the matter of unassumed roads which are still technically the property of whichever developer built the area up, and thus are pretty much only covered by public safety requirements and none of the municipality by-laws.

    So, yeah, I’ve seen ‘different streets run by different people’, and it’s a mess, and I see no way that it will be any better if corporations could actively own and enforce their own street regulations.

  • reynard61

    Yeah, that *does* sound messy; but now imagine (under Enopoletus’ scheme) having to pay a toll *every time you needed to turn a corner!!!* Imagine the wads of cash and/or bags of coins that you’d have to carry in order to go to work or go shopping or run various errands — and Celestia help you if your workplace or any one of those errand destinations was on the “diagonal” in relation to others! (And imagine the near-military level of logistical planning needed if you were poor!) You could theoretically map out routes that minimize the number of times that you’d have to pay all those tolls, but you’d also have to hope that there were no closed or one-way streets. So, yeah; *NOT* a place I’d want to live in.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Sounds like New Jersey to me. :p

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    And just imagine the fun if RoadCo decided to ban you from using their roads for whatever reason.

  • reynard61

    [Enopoletus Harding mode] Why would they ban anyone from using their roads? [/Enopoletus Harding mode]

    But, yeah; that would *definitely* add to the navigation nightmare.

  • Mark Z.

    It’s a free market in mail delivery. The state monopoly on roads somehow doesn’t lead to a state monopoly on all services that run over those roads, even when one of the participants in mail service is a state-owned corporation.

    A free market in roads is impossible–they’re inherently monopolistic. A road occupies land and the utility of the road is precisely defined by which land it occupies. If there’s a road in front of my house, then I must use that road to get anywhere from my house.

    On the other hand, if we’re traveling between our isolated homesteads in rural Kansas, I guess we can have multiple competing roads everywhere. So it’s yet another feature of orthodox libertarianism that works great as long as there are no cities.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Agreed.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    FedEx and UPS use the same government-subsidized roads. Yet, somehow, it’s still more cost-effective for you to send a non-urgent envelope domestically for around 50 cents.

    Via USPS.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    I’m confused. First you start out sounding like you’re proposing private ownership of roads (since taxes cause roads to not be free) and then you end up admitting that if the market provided mail delivery, mail delivery would end up being more expensive than it is now.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I’m not sure about private ownership of roads.

  • J_Enigma32

    BS. I’ve been told, pointblank by rather educated libertarians (an oxymoron, I know) that the market functions like it’s magic.

    So yes, there are people – mostly libertarians – that believe it is magic.

  • Jamoche

    “Any sufficiently complex economy is indistinguishable from magic?”

    And the world is divided into people who recognize their personal Clarke’s Law Threshold and call things they don’t understand “sufficiently advanced [whatevers]”, and those who just call it “magic”.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    If their little plan succeeds in getting rid of the Postal Service, how the hell do they think they’ll be getting their mail?

    “WHO IS JOHN GALT?”

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    This is the weird part for me: anyone who seriously believed in that philosophy wouldn’t think that the sabotage was necessary (the government is supposed to be inefficient by default) anyone who was practical enough to see that the government can work well to the point of needing to sabotage it to make the philosophy seem viable should have seen and should currently see the problems that not having the Postal Service would cause to Republicans.

    Republicans are more concentrated in areas where rates would go up, Democrats in areas where they probably wouldn’t (and might even go down.) Already this would put Republicans at a disadvantage, but because the Republican Party and, especially, allies rely on direct mail more than the Democratic Party and allies it would really fuck with the Republican machine.

    Yes, getting rid of the most trusted government agency would help make Republican arguments seem true, but it would make the entire apparatus by which they deliver those arguments more expensive. It wouldn’t fuck with Democrats in nearly the same way.

    How can that not be seen as a problem?

  • Mr X Not Homer Simpson

    I think the argument goes that, while the government’s mail service is inefficient and of course inferior to private companies, the government artificially subsidizes it to keep their costs down and drive other competitors out. In Atlas Shrugged, I seem to recall the evil steel company swallowing up several competitors, which were better and more efficient than it was, because the bad company had many government loans.

    Of course, the problem is that this belief does not actually comport with reality.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    In Atlas Shrugged, I seem to recall the evil steel company swallowing up several competitors, which were better and more efficient than it was, because the bad company had many government loans.

    And yet, the argument we hear most frequently (or at least butt-heads most over) from the big Rand fans is that we should take a lesson in personal responsibility and self-agency from Atlas Shrugged, instead of say, “Don’t let moneyed companies lobby for government subsidization and competitor-acquisition as a cheaper way of driving up income than actual innovation is.”

    I doubt anyone thinks that personal responsibility and individual agency are bad things, on either side of the political spectrum, yet that is the issue that gets hammered on the most like a cudgel while the other side of it goes so often unspoken and ignored. I feel like the spectrum of responsibility goes from the top down rather than the bottom up when it comes to priority.

  • AnonaMiss

    It’s not a problem for Republican politicians. The demographic of the Republican base that would be negatively affected is tied to the party by Abortion!, so the Republicans aren’t in danger of losing enough of that demographic to matter – if anyone remembers the Republicans were behind the USPS’s collapse by the time it goes under. If anything, postal service differentials between the country and cities will help to stoke the resentments of Real America against Fake America, while also providing a high-profile example of Government Doesn’t Work to reinforce their point to people who aren’t interested enough to examine the causes of the USPS’s death in more detail.

    Burdening the USPS and eventually having it collapse weakens unions, the major organized supporters of the Democratic party, and thus reduces the amount of energy they can spend on political causes, as well as suppressing the corporatists’ checks-and-balances.

    And trying to force a government-run institution into bankruptcy wins points with Objectivists, libertarians-who-don’t-think-too-hard*, and people-concerned-with-government-waste who are unfamiliar with the USPS’s excellent financial track record pre-2006.

    Honestly, I don’t see a downside for Republican politicians. It was a great tactical move.

    * Libertarians Proper should recognize that a service that receives no public funding and turns a profit despite competing with private companies in the same sector is the opposite of a problem, and actually should be looked to as a possible model for increasing efficiency in other government services.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    John Galt is a character in an Ayn Rand novel. He is known in that novel for being the first person to strike against collectivism (uniquely, in the form of terrible business management at a Wisconsin auto company rather than in the form of government coercion), inventing a perpetual motion machine, and for being a brilliant philosophy student.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Alexander/502988241 Alan Alexander

    He’s a also a preposterous figure from the only book WORSE than any part of the Left Behind series. A sociopathic and rapacious cult leader who concealed his invention of a perpetual motion machine because he knew neither his bosses nor anyone else would ever be able to pay him what his “genius” was worth, his “philosophy” supports piracy directed against ships bearing famine relief.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    The last is done by Danneskjold. What makes you think Atlas Shrugged is worse than any part of the LB series?

  • Mr X Not Homer Simpson

    But Galt’s philosophy still supports this, and Danneskjold says as much to Dagny when they meet in the Gulch.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    True.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Val-Nostdahl/1025990186 Val Nostdahl
  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Link doesn’t work.

  • JustoneK

    This is a clear sign you haven’t read the book. I mean, I haven’t even read the book and I know the significance of WHO IS JOHN GALT.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I’ve read it twice, once in 2008 and once in 2009.

  • reynard61

    Make that 5…

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Why?

  • stardreamer42

    John Galt is a character in what is perhaps the Trope Namer for the category of “social engineering ideas that can’t work without having an author standing over them to make sure they work”. That’s his only significance to people who live in the reality-based community.

  • JustoneK

    Exactly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Hiers/100000523827311 Bill Hiers

    Oddly enough, John Galt was also the name of the scientist played by Hugh Quarshie in the first story arc of the revived Tomorrow People which aired on Nickelodeon in the 90’s. He was basically just a flunky for the main bad guy of the arc, Colonel Masters, so I’m unsure what the writers were going for in naming him after the protagonist in Atlas Shrugged. Unless it’s just a coincidence.

  • J_Enigma32

    And more importantly, when the hell will he shut up?

  • Frito_Bandito

    Laced, apparently. No other crier was forced to put chemical detection systems in place to protect recipients.

  • Fusina

    I’ve been thinking, and I think that some Republicans don’t hate taxes or unions, they hate egalitarianism. And anything that makes life more equal for everyone is something to be done away with. The postal service makes it easier for everyone to get things from point A to point B–ooh, bad stuff.

    This is just my opinion, for what it is worth.

  • Alix

    Every single self-identified Republican I know falls into one of two groups: people like my mother, who vote Republican because that’s what Good Christians do, but who, when you get them to give a breakdown of their beliefs really accord much more strongly with a liberal platform.

    And people like my father, who are extremely authoritarian, buy strongly into a notion of human society as innately hierarchical, and stop just short of actually saying they want their slaves back. The vast majority of self-described libertarians I know fall into this camp, actually, when one gets them to actually describe their visions for how society ought to work.

    (Obligatory disclaimer: yes, this is a generalization.)

    Republicans seem to really, really like the notion of feudalism, to stick with one of the politer labels one might give their ideal society. Lords on top reaping the rewards of all the labor of the peasants, who in fantasy-land all Know Their Place, of course. The problem is, they think they’ll naturally be the lords – and a lot of the appeal of Republican rhetoric is to folks like my dad, who feel cheated by life (like, omg, he had to actually get a job) and entitled to the effortless riches they imagine their ancestors had.

    Never mind that if their reality came to pass, most of them would be peasants. Modern Republicanism is an adolescent power fantasy, and like a lot of fantasies, trying to really enact it in the real world is dangerous. Especially for those of us who fall outside the fantasy ideal.

  • Fusina

    I was discussing this with a friend, and she thinks that the republicans do seem to want to return to feudalism. This also explains why they are so invested in preventing gun control. Because who controls the weapons, in their world, controls the world.

    It is as if in their thought process, it isn’t just earning, but keeping that counts, and not just what they earn, but whatever they can skim off the serf’s earnings, and the way to keep that is to keep the serfs working in the fields and ignorant. So now we have added teachers to their hit list.

    Oooh, a Unified Field Theory of Republicanism!

  • Alix

    Feudalism, the era of the robber barons, and/or the antebellum South. Usually combined with fond reminisces about Empire. They all amount to the same thing, really.

    You’re absolutely right with the Unified Theory of Republicanism.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Republicans don’t want to return to feudalism-where’s the nationalism and easy mass warmongering in that? Some libertarians have been a bit too admiring of feudalism.

  • Alix

    Er. The feudal system is beautifully designed to incite national fervor and raise an army. See: the Middle Ages. Hint: it was not exactly a peaceful time in Europe.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Nationalism existed before the rise of the nation-state? Citation, please?

  • Alix

    I was being imprecise. For “national” substitute “patriotic,” and the point still stands – what we call nationalism is patriotic fervor tied to a nation-state, but the basic ideology goes back to the first organized civilizations, and has roots much further back. It’s not the nation part that’s important, it’s the state part.

    For a beautiful illustration of this, look at the Peloponnesian War. Or the really crazy endless rounds of wars between city-states in Bronze Age Mesopotamia.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Not quite; a feudal fief had certain minimum responsibilities to his serfs: they were a part of his wealth, and treating them as disposable meant that he was eating into his own net worth (And because of the complex webs of subsidiarity that feudalism implied, even if one fief decided his serfs were disposable, that fief was himself vassal to some higher lord who would object to one of his underlings squandering their human capital). What they want is some kind of feudalism-like system where they get to act like feudal lords without having to treat the serfs even as fungible assets.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Alexander/502988241 Alan Alexander

    I have said for some time now that if REAL tyranny came to America, all those asshats who say they need guns to fight against tyranny would actually be the ones goosestepping down the street in homemade uniforms, looking to round up anyone insufficiently loyal to the new regime.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cphlewis Chloe P. H. Lewis

    “It can’t happen here!”

  • Foelhe

    Unless it’s Sharia Law. White people aren’t powerful enough for tyranny in the US, but the MUSLIMS are just breathing right down our necks donchaknow.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Bob Altemeyer described such a personality as a “social dominator”, and his conclusion about their lack of regard for equality is thus:

    What reasons do dominators give for giving equality short-shrift? Well, they say, ultimately complete equality is a pipe dream. Natural forces inevitably govern the worth of the individual. And people should have to earn their places in society, not get any free rides. All that society is obliged to do, if fairness is an issue, is provide a level playing field. The poor can pull themselves up by their bootstraps if they really want to. Lots of people have, haven’t they?

    […]

    If you stare deeply into the souls of social dominators, they believe “equality” is a sucker word. Only fools believe in it, they say. And if people took equality seriously, if society did try to provide equal opportunity for all, and if the playing field really were made level so that bootstraps could be pulled up and multitudes of lives bettered, the social dominator knows he would get less. And he very much dislikes that notion. He says so.

  • Fusina

    The same friend I spoke to who suggested the Unified Field Theory of Republicanism, also suggested that they were reverting to wolf pack type behaviour, in which status within the pack depended on the strength of the member, such that the stronger members got more privileges based on their ability to beat the crap out of weaker members.

    I am not suggesting this is a good model–in fact, I think it is a terrible model. Wolves are lovely, but I wouldn’t want to live with one. I am also of the opinion that there is a level of comfort that is adequate, and anything else would be overkill–I would like my children to be comfortable, but if they never get filthy rich I would be totally okay with that. So long as they are happy.

    I have also been thinking that one of the things that should be abolished is rental property. By which I mean, you have it, you sell it, they have it. This would solve a lot of problems, such as high rents, trailer park residents being priced out of their lots and etc… Sell the unit. If they move, the original owner has the option of buying the unit back, if he does not, the “renting owner” can sell it to whomever. I guess the best description is a rent to own sort of thing. I don’t know how it would play out in real life, just an idea that popped into my head, based on the trailer park things, rental properties, and a description of German Landlords that a friend gave me–talk about your slumlords–eep.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Wolves are lovely…

    You may be consoled in the knowledge that the old theories about how wolf society worked — “alpha”, “beta”, and all that — were based on observations of captive wolves, which tended to be unrelated individuals thrown together. Most wolf packs are familial.

    http://www.tarynblyth.co.za/articles/pack-theory-fact-or-fiction/

  • arcseconds

    On the other hand, a captive pack is probably a better model for contemporary large-scale human societies…

  • Jamoche

    I want someone to write the werewolf urban fantasy book where the established packs don’t have any of the alpha/beta nonsense – that only happens in the artificially-created packs of recently-turned but otherwise unrelated individuals thrown together.

  • arcseconds

    Well, it’s not going to be me! I can’t stand werewolves. Nasty, hairy, bitey things. Not known for their rationality, either.

    (you’ve mentioned it before, and it’s a good idea — not sure I would read it myself, mind, as it’d probably have werewolves in it.)

  • arcseconds

    Dammit, it also occurs to me that such a story could also make points about human society along the way. how dare you have such good ideas about werewolves.

  • Jamoche

    Yes, definitely – that would be part of the fun in writing it, if I had the skill. There’s just something about plotting out more than a few chapter’s worth of story that escapes me.

  • arcseconds

    oh oh, and also… “I am not a Church numeral! I am a Free Variable!”

  • Jamoche

    My default LJ icon – sharable, but not here, please, because the icon’s the only way I can find my comments. :)
    /cue Disqus rant here.

  • phantomreader42

    I would like to read that!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    The terms “alpha male” and “alpha female” drive me crazy. As the article you linked indicates, the proper term for these wolves is “the father” and “the mother.”

  • Fusina

    Probably I should have compared it to herds of prey type animals. This possibly explains some people’s behaviour in traffic–as in, what do you call the slowest member of the herd?

    Lunch.

    And no one wants to be lunch. That said, some of us have evolved beyond that mentality. I realized the other day that what I really want is for my children to be happy. Oh, and have enough to provide food, shelter and clothing for themselves. But I want that for everyone. I just don’t see a way, with the way things are run now, for that to happen–I mean, for everyone.

  • Fusina

    Cooperative rather than competitive. As someone who was raised by a father who was very into cooperative type activities, I like this. I taught my kids one of his fave games from the seventies, a variation of hide and seek where one person hides and everyone else tries to find them. As each person does, they squeeze into the hiding place. The last person to find the group becomes the next hider. My kids taught it to their friends, and it became very popular. I did notice that the larger the group of children, the easier it became to find them as the giggling got very loud toward the end–also the shushing.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    suggested that they were reverting to wolf pack type behaviour, in
    which status within the pack depended on the strength of the member,
    such that the stronger members got more privileges based on their
    ability to beat the crap out of weaker members.

    I am not suggesting this is a good model–in fact, I think it is a
    terrible model. Wolves are lovely, but I wouldn’t want to live with one.

    Neither do the wolves.

    (Wolves only behave that way in captivity — when someone bigger and stronger than them has locked them up and broken down their natural social structures)

  • Fusina

    So several people have mentioned. :-) /dry humor

    The captivity example does help explain human behaviour though, where it seems people are behaving like captive wolves…what can that tell us about the situations etc… It seems like there could be some kind of correlation.

    I have an endless well of curiousity about behaviours. I did not learn normative behaviours as a child, and am trying hard to learn how people usually relate to others–any help is greatly appreciated. I want desperately to understand people.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    “Americans like the Postal Service.” You can’t just say that

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    He did just say that. You’re denying reality itself.

    Perhaps more importantly it’s like saying the earth is round. It doesn’t need to be backed up every time you say it because anyone who wants to check can check for themselves quite easily, in this case in a matter of seconds.

    If you had put “USPS approval rating” into google and clicked on the very first result and left your interest at that (which would have taken less effort than posting your post) you’d have found polling numbers to back it up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Alexander/502988241 Alan Alexander

    And I, in fact, did so. The USPS’s approval rating stands at 87% as of November 2010.

  • Alix

    So Americans don’t like receiving their mail in a timely fashion, no matter where in the country they live, delivered to their homes, with very little loss in transit? Americans don’t like being able to send mail cheaply to anyplace in the country, knowing that it will almost certainly get there?

    In all seriousness, what the hell would you replace the USPS with? Private businesses, who’d either never turn a profit or raise prices like crazy? Nothing, just abolish mail entirely? Pony express?

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    That’s not what he said. He said Americans like the US Postal service. 9/10 of it is federally subsidized junk mail. Americans don’t like that.

  • Alix

    Dude. A carrier is not responsible for what it carries. The USPS is providing a service, not prescreening mail so the people it serves don’t get a little annoyed. And, bluntly, that’s a good thing: I don’t want someone deciding what mail I will and won’t want.

    You have an issue with junk mail. Fine. Take it up with the people who send out the junk. It is not that fucking hard to figure out.

    Question: if I ride a bus, is the driver responsible for the fact that someone I hate is also riding the bus that day?

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Obviously I was saying I don’t want to subsidize, and thus receive in bulk, junk mail.

    ” I don’t want someone deciding what mail I will and won’t want.”

    I do. I want to decide for myself.

  • Figs

    So you want to have veto power over anybody who would want to send you mail? How in the world would this possibly be workable? Would everybody have to send you a preliminary note for your approval to send their full message?

  • JustoneK

    He wouldn’t be bored anymore, I suppose.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dpolicar David Policar

    > How in the world would this possibly be workable?

    It actually would not be that difficult to make the receiving of bulk commercial mail an opt-out service. I go to some official location (perhaps my local post office), fill out a “Do Not Send Me Bulk Commercial Mail” form, and I get put on a “Do Not Mail” list that gets distributed to all commercial bulk mailers, who are obligated by law to filter names and addresses on that list out of their bulk-mail packages, on penalty of fines or losing their mailing privileges. It’s similar in principle to the “Do Not Call” list that telemarketers are supposed to respect.

    For that matter, we could make it an opt-in service.

    Of course, this would make mail more expensive for the consumer.
    Admittedly, I can’t think of any way of doing the same thing for first-class/personal mail.

  • stardreamer42

    Actually, we do have (or at least used to have) exactly that kind of opt-out system for junk mail. And it works exactly as well as any other kind of opt-out system for spam, which is to say terribly. An opt-in system would be significantly better, but you’d never get it enacted because there would be too much money backing the status quo.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    I could stop certain people from sending me mail. I could refuse all mass mailings.

  • Alix

    I don’t want to subsidize, and thus receive in bulk, junk mail.

    You’re not. What part of this is so hard to understand? The USPS doesn’t make the junk mail. They just deliver what businesses pay them to deliver, same as they do with any other stuff sent out via them.

    You are not subsidizing the creation of junk mail. You are not subsidizing the mailing of it.

    And guess what? You aren’t subsidizing a damn thing the USPS does, because the United States Postal Service is self-funding. It does not get paid for via taxes.

    But it will, if Republicans have their way.

    I do. I want to decide for myself.

    That was my point.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    I want to decide for myself
    A service not offered by any private carrier either. BECAUSE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE.

  • David S.

    You don’t subsidize bulk junk mail; they subsidize you. Bulk mail is dirt-cheap to handle, since it’s all tagged for mechanical processing, preseparted, and doesn’t have to be returned. It’s those letters and packages that take human processing and care.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    The same way you want to decide for yourself if that ground beef is tainted, right?

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    You are aware how money works, right?

    If I pay you money I’m subsidizing you. Not the other way around.

    The Post Office isn’t subsidizing junk mail. The junk mailers are subsidizing the Post Office.

    Unless you’re proposing that businesses (the ones sending the junk mail) should need to seek government approval before they say anything there’s nothing anyone can do to stop that kind of subsidizing. If a private carrier were delivering mail there are only two possibilities:
    1 Someone other than you would decide what mail you are allowed to receive and do so based upon the content of that mail.
    2 The private carrier would be similarly subsidized by the junk mailers.

    Or, for the short version, junk mail isn’t federally subsidized, it’s federally subsidizing. The opposite of what you claim.

  • Carstonio

    Wait – is Chris arguing that first-class mail is partially subsidizing junk mail? I’ve long wondered if the presorted standard rate is lower than the actual per-piece cost, and if the USPS covers the difference by charging ordinary schmoes higher rates for first-class mail.

  • Alix

    Possibly. But if junk mail is so evil, why aren’t consumers refusing to patronize businesses who send it out, thus forcing them to change their ways and eliminating junk mail entirely? Isn’t that how the market’s supposed to work?

    I find the whole junk mail thing weirdly hilarious. Like, half my mom’s friends piss and moan about their junk mail, while flipping through it for “the good coupons,” which are somehow mysteriously Not Junk. Everybody acts like “junk mail” is some weird thing that just popped up out of nowhere and does nothing but piss people off, but that’s evidently not true.

  • Carstonio

    I wouldn’t call junk mail evil. My objection would be if the postal service is cutting the businesses a break on the processing costs and passing these along to other customers.

  • whengreg

    Presorted junk mail is cheaper for the sender, but costs much less for USPS to process because:
    1) It’s all computer readable, and presorted by zipcode, requiring much less processing.

    2) If a couple pieces get lost, no big deal.

  • Carstonio

    No question about the lower costs for processing junk mail. This hypothetical example with made-up costs and rates may illustrate my question…Let’s suppose it costs USPS 5 cents to process presorted standard and 10 cents to process first class. But instead of charging both sets of users the actual costs, the presorted users pay only 3.5 cents and the first-class users pay 12 cents, so effectively the second group helps subsidize the first. My suspicion is that the USPS does something like that now.

  • LiamSkye

    No. they don;t do that because it is illegal and the regulator would not allow it. Each class of mail is required to pay its own costs, and with the exception of Periodicals, they do. Just read the Annual Compliance Report on the Postal Regulatory Commission’s website prc dot org. The audited data is all there in black and white.

  • P J Evans

    Junk mail – bulk rate – *is* paying less than first class. It’s also probably the largest part – by volume – of what the USPS carries. (I think it could pay a bit more, and first/second class could pay a bit less.)
    Incidentally, one reason for magazines to go online is that second-class penalizes small -circulation publications.

  • Carstonio

    I might be having trouble making my question clear. I’m suggesting that the USPS is deliberately charging its presorted standard customers less than the actual cost of processing this class of mail. If so, the motive might be a tactic to placate businesses with political connections. Under my scenario, the USPS would be similarly charging first-class and second-class customers more than what it costs to mail these items, to make up for the presorted standard discount. Note that I’m not referring to greater volume leading to lower per-piece costs, but a possible business decision to take a loss on one rate class and make this up by overcharging other rate classes.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    I’m suggesting that the USPS is deliberately charging its presorted standard customers less than the actual cost of processing this class of mail. […] the USPS would be similarly charging first-class and second-class customers more than what it costs to mail these items, to make up for the presorted standard discount.

    I’d be interested to know what you base the conspiracy theory on. (Sometimes a conspiracy theory is true because there is a conspiracy, so the fact that it is a conspiracy theory in no way invalidates it.)

    Can you provide some support for your suggestion that the Post Office is deliberately losing money in the area that should be making the most money and trying to hedge for it by deliberately over charging in other areas?

    It’s been years since I’ve looked into this (variations in postal rates are not the most interesting topic to me), and it definitely could have changed in that time, but last I checked presorted standard was paying for first class, not the other way around.

    If you’ve got evidence that this has flipped since then I’d certainly love to hear it.

  • Carstonio

    I should have been more clear that I’m just speculating out of cynicism. It’s not a conspiracy theory. I just expect such organizations to please their wealthiest customers at the expense of everyone else.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    When organizations try to please their wealthiest customers at the expense of others it’s usually so the wealthy customers will buy more stuff (which they can do because they’re wealthy) and thus the organization makes more money off those wealthy customers.

    They make less profit per unit off the wealthy customers than they do off the not-so-wealthy ones but make up for it by selling more to the wealthy customers, and thus making more profit off the wealthy customers overall, than they would without cutting per unit profit for them.

    It all revolves around making money. Keep the wealthy customers coming back for more because it makes you more money. (Focus on the wealthy over everyone else because they’re more able to come back for more on account of their wealth.)

    What you’re talking about turns all of that on it’s head by making it so that the wealthy customers being customers costs the organization money. If the wealthy customers are paying less than cost it means that the more the wealthy customers buy the more the organization loses. In which case it would be in the organization’s best interest to piss off the wealthy customers because the wealthy customers staying customers is costing them money.

    Under your scenario the less the wealthy customers buy the better, and thus the less pleased they are the better. Thus the organization has a powerful incentive to not please the wealthy customers, which seems to contradict the premises necessary to set up your scenario in the first place. (If they’re not trying to please them why would they charge them less than cost?)

  • Carstonio

    That makes sense. My speculation was based partly on the assumption that the presorted mail folks would threaten to withhold their business (or use their political influence) if they didn’t get the prices they wanted.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I suspect you have it exactly backwards. I suspect the cost-per-unit on bulk presorted is kept low* in order to encourage volume. The high volume is more likely designed to keep the cost of 1st and 2nd class mail lower.

    *You’re really gonna have to at least try and back up the claim that the USPS is taking a loss on bulk mail at a per unit level. I did a little reading and it’s a LOT more complicated than that.

  • Carstonio

    You may be right. I wasn’t making a claim but offering a suspicion. This was based partly on the continually skyrocketing price of first-class stamps, and the proportion of presorted standard versus first-class mail.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    the continually skyrocketing price of first-class stamps

    Now see that’s an interesting thing. For one thing, a first class stamp costs all of 46 cents. When you consider the enormity of the task of delivering a paper envelope to any address in the continental United States, that’s not much money. And it’s cheaper than many, maybe most, other first world countries: http://goo.gl/kBlBB

    For another thing, check this out: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b0/US_Postage_History.svg

    Obviously, that dark graph is what you’re talking about, and it is an impressive increase. But look at the lighter graph. That’s adjusted to 2008 cents. In over a century, the current cost of postage is about a nickel lower than it’s peak, and maybe a nickel above the mean.

  • Carstonio

    Yes, that’s similar in principle to how gasoline was less than 60 cents per gallon when I was a kid. It’s very tempting to suspect that the fossil fuel companies play games with the prices to benefit or penalize candidates before elections. But it’s simply another commodity that’s subject to not only inflation over time, but also to market speculation and to simple supply and demand.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It costs twice as much as it did ten years ago. There’s no way the generalized rise in prices has been 2x in the same time span.

  • LiamSkye

    Skyrocketing? The price of First-Class stamps are keeping pace with inflation as measured by CPI-U which is an amazing feat because the cost of a new pair of loafers and a sweet roll have not increased anywhere near the costs of the factors which actually affect the cost of delivery, like fuel, increased number of delivery points, and medical cost inflation (which drives up USPS’ costs of providing medical benefits for employees). The price of First-Class is almost incredibly low considering how much the costs have risen.
    USPS is insanely efficient, which has driven the marginal cost of delivering a letter to near zero.

  • Carstonio

    No argument there. I suppose my real issue is that incomes for all but the very wealthy have stagnated in real dollars, with health care costs in particular almost negating any pay increases. It’s easy to perceive postage prices, gas prices, milk prices and so forth as more of the same – being in the 99 percent feels like being Sisyphus.

  • LiamSkye

    No. The data shows clearly that Standard Mail had 149% cost coverage last year. Now within the class, there are money winners and losers – flats (mostly catalogs) have only around 80% cost coverage and the same with Standard Mail parcels. Each CLASS must, overall, cover its costs so there is no cross subsidization across classes but there is plenty within each class.

  • LiamSkye

    No – Standard Mail, as a class covers its costs in compliance with the law. There is subsidization within class – letters make all the contribution while catalogs and parcels do not cover their costs. There is no reason to wonder about this stuff – all the data is publicly available online on the Postal Regulatory Commission website. prc dot gov.

  • Carstonio

    Thanks. I’ll check it out. Perhaps I should stop being so cynical.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Hey, Chris, for the low-low price of $9.99 a month, I will act as a replacement mail service for you. I will prescreen your mail, throwing out any junk mail, pocketing the money I am paid by mailers to deliver it.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    I doubt that’s legal. I can’t even deliver an envelope from online co I work for into a mailbox because the mailbox is prop of Obama.

    Also, lack of competition tends to lead to higher not lower prices.

    I can’t offer you a mail service with a cheaper stamp and bells and whistles like…I don’t know, taking you off junk mail lists, Sunday delivery, etc because it’s against the law

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Nothing says “Don’t listen to me, I’m a clueless dolt” like using “Obama” and “the US Government” interchangeably

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    I thought it was more colorful

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You are so incredibly literal-mindedly blockheadish. Ross was mocking you.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Does Fred need to consult you personally before he dares making any statement? I mean, apparently it’s a crime to say anything you personally disagree with.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    It’s actually possible to retire at 60 with full benefits provided that half of your life, or more, has been spent working for the Post Office non-stop.

    Meaning that some of the people whose retirement is being paid for today will not be born for another 15 years.

    This is one of the things where I think it should be possible to get things done if one were able to reach the Republian rank and file. (Which, unfortunately, requires money for advertising that I certainly don’t have.) Paying for the retirements of people who won’t even be born for another ten to 15 years is sort of government waste incarnate, and while those in office might not actually care about government waste a fair number of the rank and file probably do. Presented in the right way* I think the situation probably would be able to get a lot of Republicans with Republican congresscritters to call their congresscritters and tell them to do away with this absurd example of government waste.

    And while I might not have much faith in the morals of the congresscritters in question, I do have a feeling that they probably want to be reelected. Which, in part, means not pissing off their base by publicly embracing the example of government waste their base just called them up to say they should get rid of.

    (Even if they live in a district that will never elect anyone other than a Republican, they can still lose a primary.)

    * There are many and different true things one can say about the situation. I would not try to motivate the Republican rank and file by saying that Republicans sabotaged the Post Office in a lame duck session, apparently as an attempt to get revenge for being electorally defeated in 2006, and undoing that is all it would take to save the Post Office. Even though that is true.

    I’d try to reach them by pointing out that this is the single worst example of government waste you’ll ever find and everyone who is opposed to government waste should be working to get rid of this. Because this is also true and is a message I think might actually resonate.

  • Figs

    I agree with you almost entirely, but I have a small question about the characterization of this as “government waste”. Doesn’t the Post Office fund itself? How does it handle shortfalls due to this insane law? Is any of this money actually coming out of public coffers?

  • Alix

    The point is to cause shortfalls and make the USPS either go bankrupt or start dipping into public funds – or raise the price of mailing things to a point that no one will stand – specifically to destroy the agency.

    So the Republicans have forced through a bill to make a solvent agency wasteful specifically so they can then use that waste against it.

    (Edited for brevity.)

  • Figs

    Right, that I get. I’ll wait for him to clarify, but I read it as this particular expenditure being an example of government waste. If he meant the passage of the bill being an example of government waste, it’d be a curious usage if the passage of the bill hasn’t cost taxpayers money directly. But again, I await clarification.

    I think you and he are spot on that the purpose of this thing is to undermine the legitimacy of the USPS, and to make it look like an agency that is mismanaged to the point of having 10-figure deficits every year. It’s cynical, and it’s crystal clear.

  • Alix

    Well, except, at least around here, there’s been plenty of fodder for government-waste, anti-USPS rhetoric. The Postal Service raised prices for mailing things – money out of your pocket! They’re ripping you off! The USPS is cutting down its delivery days – you won’t get your mail! Those lazy bastards – first they raise prices on you for no good reason, now they won’t do the work you pay them for!

    And so on. Repubs are already spinning this – and have for a while, at least ’round my neck of the woods – as USPS being mismanaged and awful, with of course nary a word as to how they made it that way.

  • Figs

    Sure, I get that. But I think it’d be a hard sell to bill it as “government waste” per se, as it’s not money coming out of the general fund. The usual suspects are going to crow that it’s your choice to use the Post Office, so more money coming out of your pocket is your choice (of course, they’re going to say this while out the other side of the mouth they’re decrying rate increases or curtailed delivery schedules as the worst thing ever).

    It may be that the way the USPS is set up is essentially an accounting fiction. I was just curious for some clarification on what Chris meant re: government waste, at least in a way that will make sense to people who are inclined to vote for Republicans.

  • Alix

    I think it’d be a hard sell to bill it as “government waste”

    Well, seeing as how some people evidently believe that they are already funding USPS’ nefarious spamming of our mailboxes with junk mail…

  • Figs

    I think he’s probably using the word “subsidizing” in a misleading way. In some sense, because junk mailers get discount bulk rates, those who pay full price for one-off first class delivery are in some sense “subsidizing” that discount. But he wants it to be read as some illicit transfer of wads of cash directly to the junk mail industry out of our pockets.

  • Alix

    And, well, he’s eliding junk mailers and the USPS.

  • Figs

    The USPS is the cabal of shadowy stooges that paves the way for junk mailers to put their hands DIRECTLY IN OUR POCKETS.

  • Alix

    I’d write a silly conspiracy-theory story about this, but I’m too afraid someone would take it seriously…

  • LiamSkye

    That is not true at all. Each class of mail is required to cover its own costs and, with the exception of Periodicals, they do.

  • Figs

    You’re right, and I appreciate the correction. I should have put out a caveat, saying that he was likely referring to some vague notion that he pays more for mail so that bulk mailers can pay less, but that falls apart under even the most cursory scrutiny.

  • reynard61

    “(…)at least in a way that will make sense to people inclined to vote for Republicans.”

    Ow! That wording broke my brain…

    Probably the *only* way to get Republicans to see the law as promoting “government waste” would be to make FedEx and UPS out to be “welfare queens” that are getting rich off of “Uncle Sugar”‘s dole while the poor Post Office struggles to make it but is being pulled down by unfair laws and unreasonable demands.

    Oh wait…

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    The Post Office does fund itself, but it’s still a part of the government. Anything wasteful it does is therefore government waste. The fact that it only does this particular wasteful thing because doing so is required by law just sort of reinforces the fact that it’s government waste.

    Paying for the retirements of people who don’t exist, and who may never exist, is a waste of money. It’s a waste of government money.

    It’s not tax money, that’s true, but it’s still government money being wasted and thus government waste.

    As for how the public coffers are involved, that gets confusing and difficult well before we even get to the question of how the inevitable shortfalls are handled.

    Short version of confusing and difficult: the Post Office can’t take a tardis 75 years into the future to pay for these retirements. The money has to be kept somewhere for the gap. When money is kept somewhere other than a pile of cash it takes the form of a loan and loans accrue interest. Who is the loan to, and who does the interest therefore need to be paid by? The public coffers.

    The Post Office has to spend the principle. The tax money has to spend 75 years worth of interest.

    While that might seem like money just shifting around between different parts of the government, remember that none of the money is going to be paid out to any part of the government. The Post Office’s money is going away, the tax money is going away, and –while it might take a circuitous route to get there– none of it is coming back. At least, that’s the case for as long as the law is in effect.

  • Figs

    Thanks for the answer, this is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. The point about interest accruing on what will in all likelihood be a 75-year pension fund full of treasury bonds is a good one, and one that ties directly to the tax question.

    It seems that there’s a secondary backup aim here. If this bill doesn’t succeed in killing the USPS, at least it will create an enormous pile of money whose management the Republicans can then push to privatize.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    People don’t understand money. If they did, they wouldn’t use their credit cards in non-emergency situations unless they had a way to pay the balance off within a month.

    The USPS is nominally part of the government. Citizens (who don’t understand that they are paying more than the original cost of the item when they “charge it” even though they can see the effect themselves) don’t understand that none of our tax money goes to the USPS. Therefore, the fact that we have to pay to use it makes it look wasteful to begin with. If they have to raise their rates, then obviously they are even more wasteful, because why can’t they make ends meet on the money that people believe that they are already paying with their taxes?

  • LiamSkye

    It handles the shortfalls by simply not making the required payments so it doesn’t really lose that money at all. Its losses that are not caused by the law are real enough but they are getting smaller every year ($2.7B in 2011, $2.4B in 2012, and $2.0B projected for 2013).

  • Figs

    Thanks for the explanation, I appreciate it. Makes it even more clear that this is nothing but grandstanding (not that that wasn’t already clear) with no real commitment.

  • Vermic

    Postal delivery is such an essential government function, it’s specifically mentioned in the Constitution. Ask Republicans why they hate the Constitution and the inerrant wisdom of our Framers.

  • Alix

    Huh. You learn something new every day.

    That just further supports my belief that Republicans are so close to treasonous as makes no difference.

  • P J Evans

    Ben Franklin was the first Postmaster General, IIRC.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cphlewis Chloe P. H. Lewis

    Ben Franklin is our Founding Nerd.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    But if you will not take this Counsel, and persist in thinking a Commerce with the Sex inevitable, then I repeat my former Advice, that in all your Amours you should prefer old Women to young ones…

    How can one not giggle at risque mid-1700’s humor.

  • Nangleator

    The Post Office is a specific requirement in the Constitution. But, of course, that’s one of the parts they hate. Along with rights, democracy and the common welfare of the people. All that stuff that interferes with profits.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    1. That’s a hasty generalization.

    2. [citation needed].

  • Alix

    Well, you can read the relevant part of the Constitution itself. For a group of people who claim to be in favor of a strict interpretation of the Constitution, the Republicans sure are happy to undermine that bit.

    As for the rest… Republicans are very explicit about how I am not a real human being. I’m genderqueer, you see, and not straight. I shouldn’t be allowed to marry, adopt, be acknowledged as the gender I am, or go through life unmolested. I also have a uterus, which I apparently do not actually own; according to Republicans, it owns me, and I not only have no right to evict someone who takes up residence there against my will, I have no right to even try to prevent someone from doing so, except by crossing my legs and praying no man takes it in his head to rape me.

    I have no right to go into a school, church, bar, or national park without worrying about being shot by a macho lunatic. I likewise have no right to breathe clean air or drink clean water. I have no right to basic healthcare. I have no right to an education. I have no right to food or shelter. I have no right to freely practice my religion, because paganism is icky and heretics are evil. I have no right to keep my money in my pocket, or to keep my home, if a bank wants it and decides to take it.

    I am not a person created equal to them, with a right to life, liberty, and my own happiness. Those are rights that are reserved only for the people who agree with Republicans.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I said “[citation needed]” not “assertions needed”.

  • JustoneK

    The Republican’s official statements will back them up on this one.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Which “Republican” are you referring to?

  • JustoneK

    The big namers. The ones who go on record saying “it’s okay if we let the gays die off” or “we’re not a secular nation, we’re a Christian nation” or that the Bible wants you to beat your children or that it’s impossible to get pregnant from rape. The ones on cspan with little Rs next to their names, who aren’t afraid to say things that are literally killing folks.

    Shoulda been plural possessive, but eh. Project’s come up.

  • Alix

    There’s this thing called Google. If you can’t turn up anything based on the words in my reply, and you should easily do so, try searching for information on the Republican party in Virginia, for a start, since that’s where I live and hence where my information starts, and see what they’re trying to do in my state.

    If you’re categorically opposed to typing a few words in an internet search box, a good starting point would be any of the many culture-war posts on this very site. Try following the links, and actually reading them, mind.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postal_Clause

    Oh look that was so fucking hard to do

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    In what universe does “shall have power to” translate to “must”?

  • J_Enigma32

    in the same universe “Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide” means that the house must have a quorum before continuing (Article 1, Section 5, Clause 1) and “Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the
    Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other
    Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting” means that the house cannot adjourn for more than 3 days without permission from the Senate and vice versa (Article 1, Section 5, Clause 4).

    Read the fucking thing, at least once in your life, and learn the language. Damn you’re dense.

  • J_Enigma32

    Fuck you, Disqus,

  • JustoneK

    I have noticed a trend: on any blogs with disqus, roughly 75% of threads are topical conversations, 15% complaining about disqus.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I don’t see the word “power” mentioned in your comment.

  • P J Evans

    Yeah, SO? Try reading it: it’s in 18th-century legalese. Because they didn’t write it the way you think it should have been done, doesn’t make it meaningless. Or less legal.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I don’t see what your comment has to do with mine.

  • Alix

    What, seriously?

    You’ve just invalidated all your legalistic nitpicking with that statement.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    How?

  • Alix

    “It’s in 18th-century legalese.”

    “I don’t see what that has to do with my nitpicky arguments over the meaning of certain words.”

    Except, y’know, it does, because a) legalese is not casual writing and b) there’s been language drift (small, but some) since the 18th century.

    In other words, you can’t just pull stuff out of your ass when it comes to defining the terms, phrases, clauses, and sections in the damn Constitution.

  • J_Enigma32

    So what you’re telling me, then, is that congress can go ahead and roll without a quorum, and that the House can just say “Okay, I think I’m going to take a long break now without consulting with the Senate.”

    Jesus fuck. No wonder you’re a Libertarian – you don’t know jackshit about how the government, people, the constitution or reality operations, do you? You can’t read (or you’re just willfully ignorant) and you’re stubborn as all get out.

    Hi there, Creationist, how are you?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    What the fuck? Firstly, I was arguing with a creationist in http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2013/05/young-earth-creationists-living-in-sin.html#comment-888897884 while I was arguing with the people in this thread yesterday. Where did I say

    congress can go ahead and roll without a quorum, and that the House can just say “Okay, I think I’m going to take a long break now without consulting with the Senate.”

    ?
    I also explicitly stated I was not a libertarian in http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/05/07/blade-runner-terminator-minority-report-and-the-deliberate-sabotage-of-the-postal-service/#comment-888441720
    -Congratulations. You managed to lie about me in every sentence of your comment.

  • J_Enigma32

    “You are what you do, not what you say.”

    Second, you willfully distort evidence, you ignore and overlook facts inconvenient to your position, and pretend they don’t exist, and you argue from the same points over and over again, even though they’ve been attacked and debunked.

    Yes. You are a creationist – you’re using the same damn “logic” they use.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Examples, please, or these accusations are baseless. I have now switched over to arguing with a creationist at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2013/05/young-earth-creationists-living-in-sin.html

  • Narcissus

    Less mentioned are the original bills (HR 6407) two Democrat co-sponsors, Waxman (CA) and Davis (IL) and its rather mysterious passage through Congress.

    The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act was passed in less than 48 hours. There were no recorded votes. Republican Congressman Pence asked for the yeas and nays but was denied. Appears Democrats had no objections. The Congressional Record seems to indicate that Minority Leader Reid was on the floor when the Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent.

    If you still think reforms can work to change this mess, well than, you will be elated to hear that there is also a pension waiting for you in the Post Office.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    You want to try that post again, but with some coherence in the last paragraph?
    Are you suggesting that because Democrats didn’t oppose the law, that means that the facts of its financial situation are different to how they appear? Because that is not how facts work.

  • Narcissus

    Not really and No. I’m suggesting that both parties are the problem. The picking of sides is such a manufactured ruse.

  • Alix

    So we should sit around twiddling our thumbs and do nothing?

  • Narcissus

    No, by all means ridicule republicans as if the democrats were not involved. That ought to get things done.

  • Alix

    Ah. So the proper way to handle a problem is not to address the problem, but first make sure we’ve sufficiently spread the blame around. Did you miss the part where it’s a Democrat who’s actually trying to fix things?

  • Narcissus

    Determining why it passed in the first place might go a long way to addressing the problem. The systemic problem. Picking a team in a manufactured game may feel warm and fuzzy but it doesn’t address the problem. I doubt having a republican sign on to actually repelling HR 6407 would then exonerate republicans. But nor should it.

  • Alix

    Sure. Except, y’know, there’s already an effort underway to repeal the problematic bill. So the whole “but they do it too!” thing is … a bit late.

    I have a lot of reasons to loathe Republicans, beyond just this. And if you look through my comments, I have never once said the Democrats were saints, or that I am myself a Democrat. Why?

    Because I’m a registered independent, precisely because the Democrats are too far right for me. Too willing to compromise with the far-right extremists. All too willing to sacrifice me for political expediency. Do you think I don’t know this?

    Pointing out all the many ways the Republicans are shits doesn’t mean I’m automatically siding with the Democrats, or that I’m “picking a team.” There may only be, for now, two viable national parties, but that doesn’t mean that every single comment I make must automatically be for either one of them.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Objectively Obama is to the right of Nixon(who passes minimum wage laws, and founded the EPA) . He’s not trying to fix anything, he’s the guy who’s put SS & Medicare into play that the Repubs just love. Obamacare is a boondoggle that enriches insurance company parasites that will still leave millions of the most vulnerable Americans uninsured.

    Republicans are terrible, but the Dems aren’t any better. The solution of course is not to do “nothing” but to demonstrate that Dems don’t have lefty votes locked up if they don’t deliver. If that means voting 3rd party, beating out blue dog incumbents, do it, but included under the umbrella of “doing nothing” is continuing to believe the Dems have your back. The entire political class is a part of the 1%, never forget that.

  • Foelhe

    I am so sick of this argument.

    Have the Democrats done as much as they can to support a woman’s control of her own body? No, absolutely not. But at least they aren’t actively trying to curtail it the way Republicans are. Did Democrats as a group take way too long to get off the fence on equal marriage rights for same-sex couples? Damn right, but at least they aren’t actively trying to prevent it the way Republicans are. Are Democrats fighting as hard as they should be to get welfare to a point where it’s actually something you can survive on? Hell no, but at least they aren’t actively dismantling it the way Republicans are.

    You want to say the Democrats have issues and shouldn’t be completely trusted, well, no kidding. But saying they’re no better than the Republicans is just defeatist and stupid.

  • Narcissus

    When no one bothers to read the bills they are voting on and then also refuse attempts to have their votes recorded so as to be accountable, I’d say we have a wide spread systematic problem that engulfs all participants and parties. I think arguments have been made elsewhere that choosing the lesser of evils is the defeatist/stupid strategy.

    But to not test the patience of you fine folk, I hope the repeal happens. Maybe they will even read it before voting!
    Of course tomorrow will bring a new/old issue to get worked up about. Sides will be taken and names called. Both sides will rally to the cause. “We are not as evil as them”, some will remind us all.
    But the system will remain intact.

  • EllieMurasaki

    All = both? Since when?

  • JustoneK

    Pretending you are outside the system reinforces it too, rly.

  • Foelhe

    I’ve never seen the word “evil” as useful for anything but scaremongering or venting, so I don’t know what to tell you on that score. The Democrats have done some good. They’ve also done some bad. Very bad, in a lot of cases. And I completely agree that our system is a mess, which makes it hard to hold them accountable when they screw up. All of this is true.

    But hard doesn’t mean impossible, and I for one am not giving up. Sometimes choosing the lesser of two “evils” means choosing the one you think you can drag back into the light. And y’know, I’m not necessarily saying you have to choose that path if you have a better one, but being unable to tell which of two choices is worse is not something you should be proud of, even if you don’t think you should have to choose something bad in the first place.

    The Democrats are not as bad as the Republicans. Not by a long shot. You want to argue about how bad they actually are, by all means, but being unable to tell the difference just makes it look like you don’t know what’s actually happening.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I never said they “were as bad as” I said they didn’t have your back. When was the last time Dems threw their support behind supporting a woman’s control over her own body? Obama can’t even help bringing other people into the decision whenever he frames abortion as a decision between a woman, her doctor, and her_______(priest, father, husband, pastor he’s used them all).

    The Dems didn’t do the things you mention, but you do know the Dems hired Wellpoint lobbyists to write the healthcare bill? That they arrested Single Payer advocates with the temerity to attend a Senate committee hearing? That they actively suppressed mentions of single payer during the ACA debate?

    Yes, the issues the Dems have finally shown movement on are the ones that appeal to the narrowest stripe of voters(young people with Obamacare, gay marriage for LGBT supporters).

    When the Dems actually do something about the economy, about jobs, about the looting by the FIRE industries, about foreclosures, and about health CARE(not insurance) come talk to me. Until then you are allowing the MARGINAL differences between Ds & Rs stand in the way of actual progress.

    The difference between Dems & Reps is the difference between someone deliberate driving over the cliff, and someone who is hitting the brakes as we careen towards the cliff. Neither party is interested in using the steering wheel.

  • Foelhe

    You did actually say they were as bad as: “Republicans are terrible, but the Dems aren’t any better.” You’re not wrong about the Democrats being rife with issues, and you’re not wrong about our system being pretty well broken – I’ve been banging that drum for years. Sorry if I missed what you were actually saying, I’m just so used to people either playing the false-equivalency game or flat-out saying that it’s hopeless and we should give up.

    I think the Democrats are the only real option we have to move forward now. I wish that wasn’t true, but I don’t see any other options. Having said that, I do think it’s possible to push the Dems into a better place… eventually. With a lot of effort. Things have improved, we just have a long way to go.

  • Alix

    Interjecting to clarify something I left a bit unclear in my comment upthread:

    I don’t think there is a genuine equivalency between the Ds and the Rs – the Ds seem to be simply willing to ignore me for political expediency, while the Rs are actively malicious.

    I’m an independent because I refuse to let any political party take my vote for granted, though I’m sure they do anyway.

  • Foelhe

    I don’t disagree with you. I’m registered Democrat because I think the primaries are the best opportunity to actually effect change, but I’d be happy to jump ship if there was anywhere else to land. Unfortunately all the other ships seem to be either sinking or on fire.

  • Alix

    I was mostly reading over this thread and thinking my comment deserved a bit of elaboration, and was using your comment as a good jumping-off point, sorry.

    Fortunately, Virginia has open primaries, and no one has to register their party affiliation anyway, so I can go around labeling myself an independent and still vote in primaries, when I can.

  • Foelhe

    In retrospect “I don’t disagree with you” sounds like I was trying to head off an argument. I agree, is what I meant. Sorry, that was poor phrasing.

    I’m from an open primary state myself (Arkansas) but the political landscape feels so unstable lately I worry about changing to independent. I’m half convinced if I did, they’d flip back to closed primaries and I’d miss the memo until it’s too late. That’s probably ridiculous, but, well.

  • Alix

    Oh, okay. :) I was just making sure you knew I wasn’t trying to pick a fight.

    In my case, I don’t vote in primaries as often as I ought, due to logistics. So, given that, I’m a bit less concerned about the potential for closed primaries. Also, we’re pretty bipartisanly proud of our open primaries, though there’s always the occasional grumble, so for VA I doubt they’d go closed anytime soon.

    Recent elections and trends in VA give me a great deal of hope – we’re a lot less red than even our own state government realizes. Not anywhere near blue, especially not in state elections, but nowhere near the assured lock for the national Rs people have assumed for years.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Unfortunately all the other ships seem to be either sinking or on fire.

    …Or still in drydock while the builders enter their 20th year of arguing over whether it should be driven by sails, nuclear power, or trained hamsters.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    On the other hand, I can’t remember the last time I heard a Democrat propose a law change to reduce the penalty for domestic assault, or to bar police from making a domestic assault arrest based on probable cause, or to bar police from arresting someone violating a restraining order while carrying a concealed weapon. :p

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    You don’t get cookies for being the bare minimum of human decency.

    We have to escape the D/R dichotomy, if we don’t, those will always be our choices, batshit insane or baseline human decency.

    I want more.

  • AnonaMiss

    In My Opinion, the next time we’re going to have a chance at reforming into a multi-party system will be with the destruction of the Republican party – either when the Republican party ceases to be viable in national (Presidential & Senatorial) elections, and/or when intra-party violence splits the vote into multiple “conservative” parties. (I suspect the former). Then the dems can split into multiple factions, and then if we’re verrry lucky/careful, we can try and wrangle ourselves into a lasting multi-party system.

    Until then, I think voting for third party candidates just puts off the splitting point.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    People keep saying that, but you know how the Tea Party convinced Republicans to adopt their platform? The Repubs feared a third party split, taking their base. The Dems have no such fear, and never will, because every time someone brings up third parties, this is the reaction. Do you think the Tea Party was worried about losing elections when they took control of the Republican party? The left is too worried about that, and I get it, really bad things could happen if the Dems lose what marginalized power they have. But that mindset is a trap.

  • P J Evans

    The Democrats are pretty close to splitting – they’ve been a coalition for decades – and if the Republicans go down, they will split.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    If that was the case, it would have happened after Gore lost, which was the last time there was serious(if you can call Nader serious) challenge from the left. What happened, and what will continue to happen, is that we on the left, faced with the reality of Republican in office, will close ranks and rally together to defeat them. And when that happens, we ending up electing ineffectual Dems who are already in hock to moneyed interests, resulting in no benefits to the average struggling American. The Blue Dogs have risen within the Dem party since Gore lost, not lost power, which is what would have happened if a split was really coming,

  • Foelhe

    Neither one of the major parties is going to split until the other one isn’t a threat. They need relative stability in-party to compete with each other. If you want parties you can hold accountable you need the current Democrats to be running against each other, and the only way to get there is to crush the Republicans underfoot. Dramatic as that may sound.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Then you weren’t paying attention in 2009. The R party almost split, because of the Tea Party. If the R’s hadn’t pretty much conceded the platform to the TP, it would’ve split, and even now, it’s an uneasy alliance, there are plenty of moderate Rs who don’t like the way things are, they just won’t act against the lunacy, because they fear their electoral future.

    Activists who didn’t care if their nominally allied party survives are what created the huge lurch to the right after Obama’s election(this was fueled by racism of course). Too many on the left concern themselves with continued survival of the Dem party, while the Dem party apparatus could care less about leftist activists.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    It’s still pretty shaky. It was only a few weeks ago that Santorum was quoted as saying that the Republican party needs to kick out all the “liberals” (i.e., the non-theocratic ultra conservatives).

  • P J Evans

    The Tea Party is *in charge* of the Republicans. The moderates have either left or been driven out, and a lot of them, *including* several in high government positions, became Democrats (at least in name).

    ‘I don’t belong to an organized party – I’m a Democrat.’ – Will Rogers

  • Foelhe

    The Republicans didn’t split. They made a lot of noise about splitting, sure. And then what happened? We hit an election cycle, and the Republicans who didn’t like the Tea Party grumbled and grouched and then voted R straight down the ticket. Maybe individuals jumped ship, but the party as a whole still presents a united front. Maybe they’ll bicker pointlessly during the off-season, but when push comes to shove they still back the party.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino
  • Narcissus

    Maybe you can clarify why this passed with unanimous consent
    without any debate or roll call.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino
  • Carstonio

    The anti-government attitude is rooted mostly in selfishness. Government’s roles include increasing equality of opportunity, and reducing the ability of individuals and organizations to exploit power inequalities at the expense of others. These meet with natural opposition from many corporations and wealthy individuals who want the market and the system to work to their advantage only.

    The rhetoric against government became more prominent when this faction won the allegiance of whites resentful over civil rights. For the latter, government was a big bully making their kids go to desegregated schools even if they lived in all-white neighborhoods. Or making them share job opportunities with women and non-whites and making them report to female or non-white bosses.

  • Alix

    Yeah, like, how dare non-white, non-straight, non-male, non-wealthy folk try to assert their basic humanity. It’s so hard to keep the serfs in their place when they start thinking that they’re people.

  • Carstonio

    While that’s technically accurate, it doesn’t capture the spirit of the ideology. The real goal is preserving wealth or power or privilege for those who have it. Jim Crow segregation suggests a society-wide effort at making sure white people feel good about themselves. Better public accommodations were a lower-level version of the luxuries and pampering that aristocrats enjoy.

  • Alix

    The real goal is preserving wealth or power or privilege for those who have it.

    I’d argue that doesn’t quite go far enough. It’s a part of it – a huge part, since Republicans see their privileges being eroded at every turn – but an awful lot of Republicans don’t just want their privileges preserved but expanded.

    I know quite a few who don’t want a return to segregation. They want a return to slavery.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Why would anyone want slavery to return?

  • Alix

    The idea, as related to me in a very circumspect fashion by many people here in Virginia, is that Virginia was once Great. It was a time when men (read: white men) were “gentleman farmers,” by which they mean other people did all the work and they simply sat back, enjoyed leisurely pursuits like dabbling in government or business or just staying home, and grew wealthy on their slaves’ labor.

    These are the same people who will flat-out say they wish the Confederacy had won the Civil War, or that the abolitionists were morally wrong and just trying to bankrupt the South.

    Today, if they got their way, they might bend a bit to newfangled morals and hire servants instead, but those servants would … not really be much different from slaves. Not in any real meaningful way. They want a permanent underclass of exploitable labor, so they don’t have to work unless they want to.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Ah. The main “argument” for restoring slavery is slaveholder-wannabes’ senses of entitlement. I was expecting more of an actual argument.

  • Alix

    Yeah, no. They don’t have one, other than greed and, as you note, entitlement.

    And they know they’re on the wrong side morally – that’s why they a) avoid using the word “slavery” itself and b) try so goddamn hard to argue that their precious Civil War had nothing to do with slavery, nope, that’s just a sick Northern lie, dontcha know.

  • arcseconds

    Did you just downrate Alix’s comment? O_o

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Yes, for the last paragraph. Cheap labor and slave labor are very different things.

  • arcseconds

    Why on earth are you pursuing such a pedantic, petty, pointless, and painful down-voting strategy? What could you possibly hope to achieve?

    There’s no way Alix could have possibly known that it was that you’re objecting to, as opposed to, say, answering your question, or not including citations, or using language you dislike, disagreeing with you, or being left-wing. Any signal you’re giving is lost in the noise.

    And anyway, we’ve now established there’s someone in our midst who downvotes on a basis that, at best, has substance but we just completely disagree with it, but often is for pedantic and petty if not completely obscure(*).

    So we just ignore solitary downvotes now, except to roll our eyes at you. We’ll assume they’re you and pay them no further mind. Pity if anyone else actually dislikes what we’ve written, because their feedback will now, too, be lost in the EH noise.

    My recommendation is that you save yourself the time and stop bothering. No, no need to thank me – just don’t downvote my post!

    __

    (*) I’m still not sure why you didn’t like my post about Arvo Pärt, unless it was just that you didn’t like the fact I had found a counterexample even though you asked for one.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Curse Disqus for anonymizing ratings!

  • Alix

    Not that different, from the perspective of the laborer. Not the kind of cheap labor I’m talking about.

    If you have some nebulous freedom, but no practical means of actually exercising it, you cannot be meaningfully called free. This is one reason, by the by, I don’t see a significant difference between serfdom and slavery.

    For future reference: I don’t care if you disagree, or if you downvote me. If you do disagree, I’d appreciate a comment as to why, so that I can at least have the option of understanding the source of the disagreement.

  • reynard61

    “Why would anyone want slavery to return?”

    Um…a large-scale source of free* labor? You’ve gotta admit, if you didn’t have to actually *pay* your work force that profit margin would look a helluva lot better on the quarterly report.

    *barring, of course, the cost of food. (And if, as in the South, you fed them with what *you* or your animals wouldn’t eat, you can probably do it pretty cheaply indeed.) In theory, one could clothe them in rags or hand-me-downs and lodge them in hut, hovel, cave, tent or stable.

  • Carstonio

    It comes down to the same thing. Selfishness is really fear. They’re terrified that if they don’t accumulate more power or wealth or privilege, they’ll be powerless and destitute and at the mercy of others. The more astute ones may recognize that a grossly hierarchical or unequal society can only be perpetuated by force. The folks you know who want a return to slavery may subconsciously fear that the only alternative is being forced into slavery themselves.

  • Fusina

    I do a lot of embroidery in a lot of different techniques. When you start learning about various techniques and how and why they started, you learn about something called sumptuary laws. These were laws written to dictate what people could wear, based on their position in society. It is an interesting subject, and timely.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    What is this “basic humanity” you speak of?

  • Alix

    Erm, are the ratings really that big a deal? I’ve gotta admit, your zeal on the issue kinda confuses me. :/

  • Maniraptor

    He wants to make sure we never forget how childish he is. It’s a public service, really.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    What is this “basic humanity” you speak of?
    Hark: the most libertarian sentence ever written.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    No, the most libertarian sentence ever written must contain the words “life”, “liberty”, and “property”. As I have stated, I am not a libertarian. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/04/12/its-easy-if-you-try/#comment-862255450

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Can you elaborate on the differences between your philosophies and libertarianism? Because from my perspective, you’re not libertarian the same way Rick Santorum is starting to think Republicans are too liberal.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Enopoletus probably claims to be a “Propertarian”.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    What nonsense is this? Lies!

  • Turcano

    “I have my life, liberty and property, so you can go hang.”

    Better?

  • reynard61

    I can do you one better: “I have my life, liberty and property; and, by hook or by crook, I’ll have *yours* too!”

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Libertarians are not proponents of fraud or coercion.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Nonsensical. As you know, many liberties are still restricted by all the world’s governments.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Hark: the most libertarian sentence ever written.

    Well, consider how Rand described the “ideal man:”

    He does not understand, because he has no organ for understanding, the necessity, meaning, or importance of other people … Other people do not exist for him and he does not understand why they should.

    http://michaelprescott.freeservers.com/romancing-the-stone-cold.html

  • JustoneK

    First question: do you think you have basic humanity as a trait?
    Second question: what does rating down all the comments in a thread gain you?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    1. I am not certain of this, due to my atheism and skepticism. If I do, that would only mean I have the rights of life, liberty, and property.
    2. I don’t rate down all the comments in a thread! I try to rate all the comments in a thread, be it down or up.

  • JustoneK

    1. If you’re not certain of it, how can you be certain anyone qualifies for those things you deem rights, as in life, liberty, and property?

    2. Why rate all the comments in a thread at all? I know disqus is wonky as shit but rly.

  • Geoffrey Kransdorf

    You know, just because I would rather decide how to spend the money I earn, rather than turn 50% of it over to the Government to decide for me, doesn’t mean that I’m selfish. And just because I think I can decide for myself how large a soda i should be able to buy doesn’t mean I want a return to slavery.

    MOST Americans today think that the Federal government is already too big and invasive and is already trying to do things that it isn’t well-suited to do. When Obamacare really kicks in next year, I expect that attitude to become even more pronounced and widespread.

    The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. And liberals in Government are the country’s biggest paving company.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    There is no way you’re forking over 50% unless you’re making $48756347675238 a year.

    http://rackjite.com/web/economics_taxes.htm

    I just closed out on TURBO TAX on the computer. At the end comes up all sorts of IRS facts. The average federal tax rate for a family of four in the $60k range is 9.7% (for the average $35k income its much lower). Add 8% for social security, 3% for property taxes (though only 60% are home owners who pay that), another 4% for state taxes (though 13 states have no state taxes), add 3% for sales taxes (adjusted for what products are taxed), exaggerate and add another 4% for gas taxes, licenses, tolls, and permits and it’s about a 30% overall tax rate no matter how you look at

    The relevant section is blockquoted, but the whole site is a rather effective, if colloquial and even coarse at times, rejoinder to your comments.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    He’s probably not referring merely to Federal Income Taxes.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If you’re paying fifty percent of your income in taxes, you must be filthy rich, not in the US, and enjoying a whole bunch of government services that the US government does not tax anybody enough to provide.

  • JustoneK

    Pull the other one, it’s got bells on it.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    You know, there is a middle ground between supporting taxes necessary for funding survival, and wanting the government to oversee every decision we make.

    And it’s funny, b/c during the response to the Boston bombing, every anti-tax TP “patriot” I work with, thought the draconian response from the police was completely acceptable.

  • Carstonio

    Don’t make assumptions about what other people support or don’t support. I happen to oppose the soda law in NYC. I also believe that single-payer is a better solution than Obamacare. Government exists so societies can obtain things that individuals cannot obtain for themselves. Be more specific about what you see as government invasiveness.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    MOST Americans today think that the Federal government is already too
    big and invasive and is already trying to do things that it isn’t
    well-suited to do.

    Then most americans are wrong because they have been lied to. Objective reality exists, and if you actualyl did shrink the federal government, most americans would suffer and STILL THINK THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS TOO BIG because they are BEING LIED TO.

    When Obamacare really kicks in next year, I expect that attitude to become even more pronounced and widespread.

    If they realize it has kicked in, the opposite will happen.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    I would rather decide how to spend the money I earn, rather than turn
    50% of it over to the Government to decide for me, doesn’t mean that I’m
    selfish.

    It means you’re a liar, actually, because no one pays 50% of their income in taxes. Even in ZOMG-super-taxed California, I pay at most 25% in state and federal taxes after getting my return. My dad makes at least twice as much as I do and he pays even less, around 18% (mostly because he uses the extra money he makes for charitable contributions, not because of any Romney-style chicanery). Neither of us are millionaires, but we’re both in the highest quintile.

    What I’m saying is, you’re full of shit.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    He’s probably not referring merely to income taxes. Do the poor pay no taxes?

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Yeah, I was including payroll taxes in those percentages I listed. I’m not going to crunch the numbers, but I’m pretty sure it’s not physically possible to buy so much stuff that a 10% sales tax results in 25% of your income going to the government without trying very, very hard.

    But by all means, please describe this tax-ridden hellscape that leads the government to take 50% of your income.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I do not know if such a hellscape can be found inside the U.S.

  • JustoneK

    Then what are you arguing here?

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Maybe he’ll tell us after he’s done rating every post in this thread. Priorities, after all!

  • rizzo

    It’s already tanking and has been for years. I haven’t been to a Postal conference since 2007 and even then they were running at a deficit of almost $4billion/year. OLD Americans like the postal service, most of us under 40 pay everything we can online and could care less about the USPS as long as UPS or FEDEX can deliver our Amazon packages…DHL could take over the whole operation for all we care.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Half the shit I order, UPS gives it to USPS for delivery the final leg.

  • http://tobascodagama.com Tobasco da Gama

    Ditto FedEx. Even the supposedly superior free market alternatives are contracting their work out to those heinously inefficient, oppressive, evil government thugs.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    That’s why they are running the deficit. They have basement bottom rates, but the more lucrative business is picked off by FedUP

  • P J Evans

    I’ve seen Untied Parcel trucks coming out of the USPS parking area behind my local post office. FedEx has a pickup box in front.

  • Alix

    Interesting.

    FWIW, I vastly prefer the Postal Service, and I try my damndest to ship through them when I have the option. They don’t consistently deliver my packages to the neighbors.

    And of course none of this changes the Constitutional mandate, or the fact that as much as some of us hate snail mail, some things do need to be sent that way, and that the Postal Service is a vital lifeline. I really honestly don’t think UPS/FEDEX/DHL would be a viable substitute.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    There is no “Constitutional mandate”. In what universe does “shall have power to” translate to “must”?

  • Alix

    The same one in which we decided the federal government was also supposed to do such things as raise appropriate taxes, print money, build a navy, and fight off pirates? It is explicitly charged with “carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers.”

    You act like we wrote this thing yesterday.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    No, it isn’t. Again, “shall have Power To… make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers,” does not mean “must… make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers”.

  • Alix

    So let me ask you a question. If the founding fathers really, really didn’t want us to create a Postal Service, why did they waste the space putting it in there? Was it April Fool’s that day?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I never said “the founding fathers really, really didn’t want us to create a Postal Service”, I merely claimed Congress could constitutionally abolish it.

  • Alix

    The writers of the Constitution clearly list the powers they are granting to the federal government. They then clearly state the federal government should execute those powers. There is also the point, as I mentioned, that they wouldn’t have granted the government powers they did not intend to be used.

    All of that means that if Congress decided to abolish the Postal Service, or the navy, or decided to stop printing money or to allow each individual state the power to declare war, it would need to pass a constitutional amendment to do so. It also means that by any sane measure of “the intent of the Constitution,” a federal Postal Service is indeed mandated.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    They then clearly state the federal government should execute those powers.

    -No, they don’t. Thus, your last two sentences are incorrect.

  • Alix

    *sigh*

    Try reading clause 18 with your brain turned on.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • Beroli

    You could stop after the fourth word in the post to which I am replying with no loss of accuracy or meaning.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    The underlying assumption (assuming there is an assumption being made) is that these are things which must be done, and the Constitution specifies who, in particular, is responsible for getting it done. If you don’t like that plan, talk to the guys who wrote the thing.

  • Foelhe

    FFS, Enopoletus, what do you think “shall have power to” actually means in this context? Shall means will, and in legal terms will pretty much means must.

  • Alix

    Especially when coupled with a clause explicitly stating the federal government shall have the power necessary to enact all the previous clauses as well.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Having a power does not necessarily mean having to exercise it.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    An example: “The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”-This does not mean the House must actually use this power.

  • Alix

    Read things in context. Impeachment isn’t something that is executed every single day, only as needed. Same with printing money, or raising taxes, or fighting off pirates.

    “Shall have the power to do [x]” means “will do [x] if and when it is in their power to do so.” “Shall” indicates a requirement. Again, the framers of the Constitution were not in the habit of assigning the federal government powers they were not intending the federal government to actually use.

    If you want to see this whole argument played out on a grand scale, for another institution mentioned explicitly in that section, look at the history of the US Navy. Pay particular attention to all the shit that went down around the War of 1812.

  • Foelhe

    Having a power does mean being able to execute it though. If we changed the law so the House of Rep was unable to impeach, that wouldn’t abide by your law. If you dismantle USPS, the federal government becomes unable to deliver the mail, which takes away that power and flies in the face of the Constitutional mandate.

    Look, speaking as a pedantic nitpicking pain-in-the-ass, could you please stop with the word games? Because your definitions are sloppy and ridiculous and basically a blight on the face of semantics, and you’re splitting hairs so fine I’m afraid it’s going to end in an atomic blast. Knock it off.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Amen to everything in your last paragraph. The endless fucking word games are the most annoying thing about EH’s posts, and that is saying something.

  • reynard61

    The problem with EH’s word games is that a) he seems to be under the sad delusion that he’s some great legal mind (though I bet he’d talk himself into a contempt citation right quick if he tried in a courtroom what he tries here), and b) he seems to think that he can make (and break) the rules as he sees fit but gets…perturbed…when we call him on it. Just my observations.

  • Foelhe

    I think the problem is a lot simpler than that, honestly. He wants to think he understands things, so when someone explains something, he tries to change the explanation so it fits his preconceptions, instead of leaving his preconceptions to deal with reality.

    That’s right, folks. We’re dealing with a semantics fundamentalist.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    If you dismantle USPS, the federal government becomes unable to deliver the mail, which takes away that power and flies in the face of the Constitutional mandate.

    -If Congress can always re-create a USPS, it still has the power to deliver mail.

  • Foelhe

    And how long does it take to set up the infrastructure of the mail system, Enopoletus? If the federal government doesn’t have the manpower and resources to deliver the mail, those things aren’t going to spring out of the ground like daisies when they need it.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    There’s plenty of unemployed people and the government can easily buy resources. I suspect a month at least, several years at most.

  • Foelhe

    And during that month, at a bare minimum, the government is incapable of meeting its Constitutional mandate.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    It depends on whether “shall have the power to” means “must always be prepared for”.

  • Foelhe

    You are incredibly dumb. There’s really nothing else I can say to this argument.

  • reynard61

    Sure wish you’d been around to tell that to those idiots who filed the Articles of Impeachment against President Clinton.

  • P J Evans

    If you want to ship a book – it’s cheaper via USPS; they have ‘media mail’ aka ‘library rate’, which the private delivery companies *don’t* have. And since I’m usually sending books *to* a library, it’s great.

  • P J Evans

    ever checked the shipping rates?

  • Samantha C.

    Yeah, agreed….I honestly can’t get worked up about the continued life of the postal service. What few documents can’t be scanned and emailed, or faxed, or e-signed, should be worth the spike in price to deliver through a private carrier rather than general mail. Email is better than snail mail in pretty much every category except sentiment (which isn’t to knock sentiment, a handmade card may still be worth the spike in price to send). I have a hard time envisioning a future in which physical mail beyond specific circumstances still really matters to the average person.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That being said, there is still an inertia towards signed, physical documentation for things like contracts, so snail mail will always have its place.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    It’d ruin most of the small businesses I buy from. So I’m not a fan of that.

    It’s also ruin netflix’s DVD service. And since I like to watch things that are obscure and don’t get offered for their streaming service, that’s a problem.

    It would also drastically increase the cost of having my medications mailed to me, and since my insurance company requires that i use their mail-order service, that’s a lot of money straight out of my pocket.

    So go fuck yourself.

  • P J Evans

    ‘spike in price’ – have you checked what they charge? If you’re buying online, they should give you the various rates.
    USPS is less.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Email is better than snail mail in pretty much every category except sentiment

    Tell it to the 60+ million Americans who don’t even have email.

  • LiamSkye

    Extremely short-sighted view. USPS is the ONLY Constitutionally-protected medium of free speech. No private firm can ever replace that.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    And even then it’s been played with. ISTR that it was considered legal to search the mails for pornography at one time.

  • VMink

    These would be the Comstock Laws, and yes, at one time the Post Office were required to prevent the mailing of pornography. They were enacted in the period after the Civil War. Seriously; we don’t always think of it, but there was apparently a considerable pornography industry at the time. Most of it was oriented around racy novels — “barracks favorites,” they were called — and the eponymious “French postcards,” which were neither French nor postcards, but rather just postcard-sized.

    Anyway, Comstock (first name not Zachary, but I forgot what it was) didn’t like this and pretty much pushed for the anti-porn laws that came to have his name. It helped that he was a Postmaster. For various definitions of ‘helped.’ The various anti-vice movements he inspired more or less led right to Prohibition.

    There’s a lot of theories as to the sudden rise in pornography during the Civil War, most oriented towards the large numbers of soldiers being moved around. So I guess that means that one of the side-effects (besides, you know, ideological-based mass murder and eliminationism) of the impending Second Civil War will be a rise in pornography, despite what social reactionaries would desire from the outset.

  • Rich V

    But then again the usps isn’t all about you. They also work for the thousands of businesses that use the usps to deliver magazines, coupons and advertisements that arrive by the truckload to be delivered to every address much cheaper than advertising in the daily newspaper. You might not even want one piece of it but again they’re not working for you.
    The people who work at the advertising agencies, publishing, printing and the mailing houses along with the truck drivers and every employee that works in any capacity at these firms might feel differently than you as well.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    You are aware that 2007 is after the law designed to make the Post Office run a deficit passed, right?

    You are aware that UPS and FedEx deliver those Amazon packages via the Post Office, right?

  • LiamSkye

    Do some research. USPS was completely solvent and had $0 debt in 2006 when Congress decided to milk it like a cash cow twice a day.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    My girlfriend is a small business owner, making fine jewelry from her home workshop (shameless plug) and selling it, actually putting products into the market and building the economy in her own small way. Typical self-motivated and sustainable-success entrepreneur, much lauded in a capitalist society like ours. A lot of her customers buy from her by mail, and she sends several parcels per week from the post office on average, as well as receiving material shipments the same way to continue making her products. She does this in part because it is cost-effective, and in part because not all her customers live in areas easily serviced by private delivery services.

  • Trixie_Belden

    Gosh, Fearless Son, your girlfriend puts together some really beautiful stuff! Thanks for the link!

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Bookmarked.

  • guest

    I’m glad I looked at that–she does lovely work.

  • P J Evans

    Ah, *Them*. I have a pendant. And a pair of ear cuffs. And a bookmark.

    Because, OH yeah.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    You bought some of her stuff before? Wow, small world.

  • P J Evans

    Conventions.
    I’d buy more, if I had money.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Yeah, she does plenty of convention sales. I am sometimes there with her, though I have only been part of her business for about a year now. Maybe I will see you at the San Diego Comic Con this year?

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    For those interested, we have a Facebook page (mostly with convention announcements, pictures of works in progress, pictures of finished works, and occasional pictures of our cats) and an Etsy store (which has a small selection of her stuff, mostly cast items with geeky themes like little rocket ships, flying saucers, and polygons.)

  • Fanraeth

    I don’t think you could have posted a more stereotypical selfish Millennial post. “I don’t use the USPS, so screw those assholes!” Newsflash, you don’t speak for all of us. I went on an Etsy-buying spree last week. I got all of my packages via the USPS, paid less in S&H than I would have if those people used FedEx or UPS, and got the packages as quickly as if the privatized companies shipped them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    I don’t think it’s a generational thing, so much as the tendency some people have to disregard anything outside of their own experience.

    I’m a Millennial, and my hobbies involve buying lots of small items via ebay – and 90% of them get shipped via USPS.

  • Geoffrey Kransdorf

    “(The USPS is also home to lots of unionized public employees, and the
    GOP lately has decided that unionized public employees are Public Enemy
    No. 1. That’s an odd claim — villainizing police officers, firefighters,
    first responders, teachers and mail carriers doesn’t seem like an easy
    or an obvious task, but that’s the current Republican plan, and the
    “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act” is a part of that strategy.)”

    Do you know WHY Republicans take this attitude? Because “Public Unions” subvert the very notion of union negotiation. In a regular Union situation you have the Union on one side, who wants more money and benefits. And Management on the other side, who needs to save money and maximize profits. That’s a conflict, and they need to negotiate in good faith. But in a “Public Union”, Democrat politicians are under no real pressure to cut spending, and desperately want Union support and votes. So it is in both parties interest to readily agree to higher and higher wages and benefits. The only losers are taxpayers, who foot the bill, and Republican politicians, who refuse to play ball.

    This cozy relationship is why Government employee benefits are killing the budgets of most of the blue states, California especially. And Democrats are in no position to do anything about it.

  • EllieMurasaki

    California’s in deep shit because they can’t raise taxes without a supermajority and they’ll never have a supermajority, not because they’re spending too much money. And teachers get paid absolute shit no matter where they are.

  • Geoffrey Kransdorf

    Oh, so I guess California taxes must be really low then. After all, if they were already sky-high, they’d have plenty of money–unlike the red states, like Texas.

    Oh wait, California taxes already ARE really high. Especially compared to places like Texas. I guess there must be a spending problem then, not just an income problem.

    Bonus points for the classic liberal response, though: “We’re spending too much, so we need to raise taxes more.”

  • JustoneK

    Three replies and I have bingo.

  • http://tobascodagama.com Tobasco da Gama
  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I should like to introduce you to two gentlemen: Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann.

    Now, schools, you see, are funded generally by property taxes.

    And what happened in 1978 in California?

    A property tax limitation measure that effectively hamstrung governments at the county and city level from paying for their schools.

    You cannot simply swipe with your broad anti-tax brush and repeat all the standard Republican talking points as though you think you can use a game walkthrough to get the powerup and win the game.

  • P J Evans

    And I voted *against* their badly-written piece-o-crap, because the other proposotion on taxes that year was much better.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Yes, Texas, one of the many states subsidized by the federal income taxes paid by the resident in its blue state counterparts.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    [citation needed].

  • Mark Z.
  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Texas, as one can clearly see from your link, pays more in taxes than the Federal government spends on it.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    1. We’re all tired of you and your inability to do simple searches.

    2. It’s fun to watch you throw yet another hissy fit.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I am able; I just don’t think I should do research for others.

  • Alix

    Wow. That sentence has to be one of the more entitled things I’ve read today.

    Try this on for size: I don’t think I should have to educate you in basic facts.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Entitled?! If one makes a claim, it is one’s responsibility to support it. Demanding me to support a claim I don’t support is a very high form of a sense of entitlement.

  • Foelhe

    Support isn’t the goddamn point. Whether it’s true or not is the point. If you want to know if something’s true or not, you research it. Are you more concerned with scoring cheap points in a pointless pissing contest, or would you like to actually know stuff?

  • Alix

    People have. But none of that apparently matters to you.

    You’re asking us to serve as both Google and your memory for you, and that is not fair.

    Moreover, there’s the point that this is a blog comments section, not a formal debate.

    And lastly, yes, I expect people to research things they don’t know. What side those things support doesn’t matter.

    Really lastly: if I got the sense you were asking for citations because you really wanted to learn, I wouldn’t have a problem. I don’t get that sense. You throw out passive-aggressive little [citation needed]s only as a way to disagree without actually doing so, and that to me is poor form.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    if I got the sense you were asking for citations because you really wanted to learn, I wouldn’t have a problem. I don’t get that sense. You throw out passive-aggressive little [citation needed]s only as a way to disagree without actually doing so, and that to me is poor form.

    All of this. So much.

    But also, when someone says, “List me specific examples of this behaviour that I’ve already been called out on multiple times”, they’re not interested in improving their behaviour. They’re hoping that that they can derail the conversation by re-starting old arguments, or that their opponents will simply throw up their hands in exasperation. I’ve run into this tactic several times.

  • P J Evans

    Actually, Texas is one of the few red states that *isn’t* subsidized. It’s due to them sliding by on their oil and gas production.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Ooops. This still holds true with practically every other red state.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Texas, as one can clearly see from Mark Z’s link, pays more in taxes than the Federal government spends on it.

  • AnonaMiss

    Texas’s low tax rates are due to natural resources within the state, which makes it not a great comparison. A better comparison would be Illinois, which has low state tax rates… and is constantly on the verge of bankruptcy.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    I’d like to point out for the record that California is not in deep shit anymore. We passed a few tax increases by ballot, and elected supermajorities to both houses, and as a result California is now in the black.

    Contrary to the imaginary hell hole this latest idiot imagines, our taxes are not sky high, businesses are not fleeing the state, and geological surveys indicate we won’t be falling into the Pacific any time soon. It’s also 65 degrees today, so that’s nice.

    As a bonus, when California catches fire, our state leaders do more about it than hold a prayer conference. We do need to restore the services that were cut due to Republicans, though (especially education), though.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Awesome. I stand corrected.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dpolicar David Policar

    But you’re dodging the important question: if you do fall into the Pacific, which U.S. national political party should we blame?

  • P J Evans

    Mother Nature. Which I guess means the Greens.

  • LiamSkye

    I would not blame any party – I would place the blame on George Bush personally.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dpolicar David Policar

    Which one?

  • LiamSkye

    I hope everybody realized I was joking…

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    What is killing the budget of California was a draconian law that prevented reasonable tax hikes.

    Refusal to increase revenue is what’s killing the budgets of all states.

  • LiamSkye

    You don’t know what you are talking about. The taxpayers do not pay for USPS and the politicians are not involved in their contract negotiations. That split was very specifically and intentionally made in the Postal Reorganization Act which formed USPS in 1971.

  • P J Evans

    I sometime wish *that* one was repealed.

  • LiamSkye

    I understand that view but it was done mostly to relieve the government of the enormous pension liability of the huge postal work force. It has been enormously successful at that since USPS’ pension war chest is around $275 billion – well over 100% of the net present value of the liability.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    In a regular Union situation you have the Union on one side, who wants
    more money and benefits. And Management on the other side, who needs to
    save money and maximize profits.

    Note that apparently unions only “want” more money and benefits, but management “needs” to save money and maximize profits.

    Thank you for so clearly indicating that there is no point whatsoever in engaging with you.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I dunno, there’s a sense that it’s true; managers will get fired for failing to save money and maximize profits, while union representatives have someone looking out for their interests who will protect them from being capriciously fired for failing to meet arbitrary shareholder targets, so the management really needs to meet their goals, in a way that the union only “wants” to.

    See, what the managment needs is some kind of collective looking out for their interests. Some kind of united thingy, some thing that represents the sum total of their interests. Something that lets them present a unified front.

    They could call it an “intersection” or something.

  • Lee B.

    That already exists—it’s called “Congress.”

  • Hexep

    To be fair, the China Post does offer checking-account services, so I can see how someone might think that postal banking leads to tyranny. If they’re a turd.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Hell, in Europe I believe this is, or was, a common practice as well.

  • HyperSpiral

    One really insidious thing bout the debate is that mail always gets compared to phone calls, text messages, or email. It never gets compared to UPS or FedEx, and it’s never pointed out that you can’t email a a package.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shaenon Shaenon K. Garrity

    As a small online business owner, I rely on USPS for shipping. The private alternatives are way too expensive for small businesses and individuals. And I hate UPS. They’re incredibly slow and unreliable for what they charge; FedEx is even pricier, but at least they actually deliver the damn package. For the vast majority of shipments, the post office is still the way to go.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    A funny thing, PS: Canada Post offered a way to pay bills for a while. I think it’s still under ePost, but they’ve kind of migrated to being an all-in-one digital-statement repository instead.

  • Dean

    I don’t think that’s fair, the question is whether the USPS can stay solvent under it’s current business model. The problem with these pension and health care liabilities is that they’re not a problem until they are a big problem, that definitely concerns me. I’m just tired of all these hidden costs that the taxpayers somehow end up on the hook for in the future, but don’t enter into the calculus today because of a lack of political will. The applies across the board, from medicare, to social security, to subsidizing too big to fail banks, juicing the stock and real estate markets with easy money, the pension tsunami that a lot of states are facing, fracking, global warning. I just get the feeling that there are a lot of government and societal liabilities out there that are not getting internalized in the public debate, meaning we are setting policies without know what the real costs of those policies are to us now or in the future. I think anything that provides transparency for that is a good thing, but obviously folks on different parts of the political spectrum are going to favor or oppose that depending on how they feel about it.

  • P J Evans

    DId you read the post? The problem is the requirement that USPS prefund pensions for people who haven’t been born yet. I don’t know of any business, or any other part of government, that has to prefund more than 50 years of pensions.

  • Dean

    I did read the post. You have concluded that the current USPS business model works perfectly fine just from reading a blog? Lol.

  • EllieMurasaki

    From whence your evidence that there’s more wrong with the USPS business model than the fact that it funds pensions for my grandkids? (Note: I’m twenty-four.)

  • http://rightcrafttool.blogspot.com/ Sign Ahead

    Yet it appears you’re asking us to believe you on the basis of a single blog comment?

  • Alix

    Left alone, under its actual business model, it was.

  • LiamSkye

    You might want to do a little research. USPS’ pensions are funded at well over 100% of the total liability and its retiree health benefit fund is prefunded at around 50% – by far the best position of any Fortune 1000 company. USPS is the gold standard that should be the model for pension/benefit funds. None of the rest of that Chicken Little stuff about unrelated financial problems has any validity in the discussion of USPS. Stockton CA has pension problems. USPS does not. What’s the point?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ScottHarrisSeattle Scott Harris

    Why is it in all these stories on the postal service always lead to the cry babies whining about too high tax rates? The USPS uses ZERO taxes. I guess because you can’t complain about the lowest postage rates in the world that fund the USPS.

  • I guess that makes sense

    The best thing about it is that Republicans will be paying the Certified FedEx return receipt fee of $32.79. Brilliant?

  • GDwarf

    Now there’s calls for Canada’s postal service to be privatized, and all I can do is shake my head. A postal service is an archetypal example of what should be government run: It shouldn’t strive to do more than break-even money-wise and it provides an essential service to the modern world that’s used equally by rich and poor (more by the rich, really, but at least it isn’t biased in their favour).

    Want to know what a privatized postal service will mean? Same thing as when driver’s licenses were privatized: Huge delays, high costs, and zero accountability.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Could be worse – in Britain, the Tories have seriously talked about selling off the Royal Mail but keeping the pension liabilities public. Because we couldn’t expect the people making money off a public service to actually pay the costs required to run it. But welfare payments are bad for the poors’ souls, dontchaknow???

  • wake up
  • Alix

    Try reading the existing threads instead of mindlessly repeating what others have already been discussing.

  • P J Evans

    We get that kind of troll. They’re usually drive-bys.

  • Alix

    Yeah. I’m just not always good at not responding. :/

  • Postman Pat

    The postal accountability act would not have passed without the support of the democrats. The two democrat sponsors of the bill were King and Waxman. This information is easily obtainable. As a matter of fact the NALC came out in favor of the bill. Blind partisanship serves no one well. The truth shall set you free.

  • LiamSkye

    Yeah, that’s right. Nobody was really opposed to it until the recession hit and USPS couldn’t continue making those ungodly huge loans to the Treasury and Congress refused to deal with that reality.

  • Postman Pat

    The postal accountability act would not have passed without democrat support. Two democrat sponsors were King and Waxman. And I do believe the NALC came out in favor of the legislation. Blind partisanship serves no one well. The truth shall set you free.

  • P J Evans

    ‘Democrat’ is a noun. ‘Democratic’ is an adjective. People who don’t know the difference tend to be right-wing trolls.

  • arcseconds

    I’ve never seen so much detail about USA postal services (or indeed any postal services)in my life! L’n’J would be proud.

    Or is post not fancy enough for them?

  • P J Evans

    Not enough telephones. *g*

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Every time there are lots of comments on Slacktivist these days, and they’re not under a Left Behind post, they’re almost all people arguing with Enopolotes Harding.

    Disquis busted the community, but it didn’t do so alone. The community’s insistence on arguing incessantly with people who cannot be convinced also busted it. And now it’s just arguing with ONE PERSON. Y’all, you’ve been filibustered.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Endless Slacktivist threads arguing with one person predates Disqus. By several years. Those are usually my favorite threads. >.>

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Hell, it predates Patheos.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    The way he often doesn’t use contractions – combined with his total lack of anything resembling humanity – makes him sound like a Jerry Jenkins character.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Do not misspell “Enopoletus”! Also, according to gmail, only fifty comments here (out of 321) have been replies to me and I have made less than fifty comments here. Thus, less than a third of this thread is people arguing with me.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Holy good god, I had no idea you were at Commander Data-ish levels of pedantic.

  • http://twitter.com/shay_guy Shay Guy

    To be fair, I can be too.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That said, I’m sure you don’t come off as also being purposely obnoxious.

  • reynard61

    It doesn’t hurt (well…not *usually*) if you can back up your pedantry with facts.

  • P J Evans

    At least Data has something resembling a sense of humor.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    “Six days, thirteen hours, forty-seven minutes.”
    “What, no seconds?”
    “I have discovered, sir, a certain level of impatience when I calculate a lengthy time interval to the nearest second. …however, if you wish…”
    “No, no. Minutes is fine.”

  • Mark Z.

    Before that, it was all MadGastronomer telling us to fuck ourselves. Don’t pretend this is a new problem.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    To be fair, there were sometimes valid reasons for MG to be upset at people. However, I did feel her latest incarnation on patheos, she was unncessarily rough even with regulars here. She hasn’t posted since then, but I know she still reads occasionally.

  • Mark Z.

    To be fair, there were sometimes valid reasons for MG to be upset at people.

    We all sometimes have valid reasons to be upset at people. There are still right and wrong ways to express that.

    Having said that, I will say nothing further about MG. It would be unfair to her, and not really useful to anyone else, to air my grievances in her absence.

  • Mark Z.

    Also, apparently I now have -1 notifications. God bless Disqus.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Wat

    Ok whoever it is who makes Disqus work, stop trying to throw divide by zero exceptions now. :P

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I never saw that. Yes, I saw MG yelling at people, and occasionally one person or another would dominate discussion, sometimes legitimately, other times not. But never has there been this kind of concentration of attention on one person over so many posts.

    The tendency of Slacktivist people to argue with someone who really shouldn’t be argued with because it’s a pointless waste has always existed. It’s happening with Chris Harding up there too, and has for a long time. But never, in the time I’ve been observing, whether as lurker or poster, has it been allowed to be so completely and utterly dominated by ONE person.

  • Lori

    I honestly don’t think the “noise” has changed much, if at all. It only seems that way because, thanks to the crappy disqus “upgrade’, the signal has dropped so dramatically. The ratio is now shot all to hell, but the problem really isn’t on the arguing with idiots side of the equation. As you noted yourself, the threads that don’t involve arguing with EH don’t have many comments at all. There’s not some thriving conversation being blocked by EH, there’s silence.

    The community is broken and it makes me really sad, but Chris Hadrick didn’t break it and neither did EH. Being stuck on the “new and improved” disqus did that. I don’t see that changing unless Fred moves to a different commenting system because disqus clearly isn’t going to bring back the option not to have threading and they’re not going to get rid of the down vote thingy that factors so heavily in EH’s nonsense. I assume they’re trying to fix the idiotic problems with notifications, but so far they’re not succeeding at it and I’ve seen no evidence that that bothers them overly much.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Hadrick!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Val-Nostdahl/1025990186 Val Nostdahl

    yes it so ironic, since in 2000, 2001 postal letter carriers were made to pay in extra to their retirement systems under the 1997 budget reconcilation act, according to nalc legislative fact sheet ( national association of letter carriers ) and that overfunded the federal retirement systems for fers by 15 billion and csrs by 140 billion, so then because of too much money in retirment the usps had it profits earned by workers set aside to put more money in to retirement so other workers could get non replacment of craft level employee while postal executives got bonues like the pmg , so that some actually did more work for less money and others got more money for making sure others did more work and got worked so hard some die so that the retirement money goes back in to the account to begine with, career wize then congress wants to break the fair labor standards act while enforcing the paea law, and this is america, where veterens work for the usps, and die due to fiscal policy rather then a by enemy fire, nothing friendly about the usps attack by corporate power paying off senators to do this at all. every american should be up in arms for the disamarming of an american middle class job unprotectiong by congress. The post office was started by benjamin franklin and sam adams continental congress members who wanted communication to win the revolutionary war, it predates the forming of the nation, and the constitution in 1775. The post office, its past record, its present condition and its potential relation to the new world era, Daniel Calhoun Roper, chairperson of the United States Tariff Commision and the First Assistant Post Master General of the United States Post Office, 1913-1917, amazon.com search inside this book or free google books.com, during this era collective bargaining was formed, followed by 1935 the right to unionized, social security, medicare, medicade, minimum wage, the fair labor standards act, ( which is not being attacked by paul ryan- 40 hour work week ) health benifits and retirement benfits. In 1970 was the great postal strike, due to postal workers and working conditions, most were working 3 jobs and some on welfare while working for the uspo, the strike reenforced collective bargaining then the no strike law was made, and the uspo changed over to the USPS. In 2000, 2001 postal employees were made to pay in extra to their federal retirement systems, fers and csrs, under the 1997 budget reconcilation act, paying an extra 15 percent in order for budget reasons only, both the President and congress thanked the postal employees for their ‘sacrifice’ while others were getting tax cuts. This is turn overfunded or overpaid both fers and csrs for postal employees, fers by 15 billion and csrs by 140 billion, so then the increase was removed from the President budget in 2002. In 2003 it was reported back to congress the overfunding of the federal retirement sysems, ( see postal comments to the federal trade commision, august 6, 2007) so then the PAEA or postal accountibilty and enhancement act ( non accountiblity and subtraction of profits) was passed in dec 2006 by voice vote taking 5 billion a year from the profits that letter carriers and other craft members had helped earned since 2006 was a banner year for profits. Meanwhile the paea gave pay per performance bonuess for the top executives of the USPS, pmg potter got a 72 thousand a year raise, got his pay and benifits above his salary cap of the vice presidents and doubled the Presidents of the United States to 800,000 a year, and retired in 2010 with 5.5 million a year ( belived to be anually) while enforcing non replacment of attrition or retirees in the lower craft areas due to too much money being taken from profits, so if people retire they are not replaced meaning that other craft members must work harder. AWPU 3800 first are tricounty local PA, library, stress in the work place artical, How the ongoing violation of the usps guiding principles are creating a toxic work environment, 2008. http://www.billburrasjounral.org-misc page, phoney excuses for diverting usps revenues, and myths versus facts, Search for ALEC/Koch Cabal The Privitization of USPS for Ups and FedEx, bob sloan, vltp.net , april 2012, Tim McCown, examiner.com, Behind all the schemes and lies of the privitization of USPS, june 2012, Michigan American Postal Workers Union, the truth about the postal crisis, www. savethepostoffice.com, USPS Widow ( facebook)

  • darsco

    PAEA was co-sponsored by Henry Waxman D-CA, endorsed by the NALC and the house vote was around 410 to 15, truly bi-partisan support for a bill written by lobbyists that nobody read until it was too late.

  • Frank Delao

    In the last 2 months I have sent my credit card payment by mail. The first payment took 4 days to get to a 2 day delivery area. The last payment took 7 days before it was processed.

    The Post Office is planning to close many processing plants in the next year. How long will it take for my payment to get to it’s destination then? If I have to pay a late fee, does the Post Office really think I’ll keep mailing my bills?

    What about the half of the population that can not afford a high speed internet connection, or do not even have access to one? Many of these people live in rural parts of the country. How long will it take for their bills to be payed?

    Bills that are receive early by companies all over America allow companies to earn interest on the thousands of dollars or even millions of dollars they receive. How much money will these companies lose? If the company losing this interest is a utility, who is going to make up that lose of revenue? It sure won’t be congress!

  • LiamSkye

    You can’t judge the post office’s performance based on when your credit card company credited your account. They commonly have their payments sent to a mail drop account and then ship them in bulk to their processing facility. Then they have to process the payments. You are looking at a complex process and naively believing that your bill gets magically paid when some post office employee goes to your bank and says “I have Frank’s payment here!” It doesn;t work that way..

    The post office does not “think.” It only processes mail put into its system.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That being said, are you denying that closing mail processing centers will increase the average latency of mail in the system?

  • LiamSkye

    Did you reply to the wrong post? I have not addressed how service standards might be affected by network reductions at all anywhere on this site.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    No, I replied to the right post. The post you replied to discussed the closing of mail processing centers which implies a further increase in the average delivery time of mail, and the poster stated that this would further delay the “posting time” of payments to their CC.

    Your response, while addressing the TCP/IP-like nature of postal mail, does not address the issue of the equivalent of a bandwidth reduction.

  • P J Evans

    They’re supposed to go by the date on the check, not when it was received, or the postmark. (That said – I try to get mine in the mail a week ahead of the due date.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino
  • BaseDeltaZero

    Republicans do not seem to be very good at long-term thinking. If their little plan succeeds in getting rid of the Postal Service, how the hell do they think they’ll be getting their mail?

    Armed couriers, of course.

    Things would be worse in the realm of government services; however, many would have more money left to pay for them. Note that I am not advocating the abolition of taxes.

    If we got rid of government services, people would have more money to pay for the government services that don’t exist? What?

    What about Emergency vehicles in non-emergency situations? (i.e. Police cars out on normal patrol.)

    What emergency vehicles? Anyone worth saving can provide for themselves.

    I was discussing this with a friend, and she thinks that the republicans do seem to want to return to feudalism. This also explains why they are so invested in preventing gun control. Because who controls the weapons, in their world, controls the world.

    Though you’d think that’d lead to *support* for gun control, at least in the sense of a strict ‘militia based’ (and the militia is run by our flunkies) sense of the 2nd Amendment. Actual feudal societies were pretty big on keeping any kind of weapons out of the hands of common people.

    Yeah, agreed….I honestly can’t get worked up about the continued life of the postal service. What few documents can’t be scanned and emailed, or faxed, or e-signed, should be worth the spike in price to deliver through a private carrier rather than general mail. Email is better than snail mail in pretty much every category except sentiment (which isn’t to knock sentiment, a handmade card may still be worth the spike in price to send). I have a hard time envisioning a future in which physical mail beyond specific circumstances still really matters to the average person.

    And when we can email goods, great!

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    If we got rid of government services, people would have more money to pay for the government services that don’t exist?

    -No, I was assuming those government services would be replaced by private businesses.

  • P J Evans

    Which would charge much more, because they want a profit.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    The question is, would that “much more” be greater than the greater wealth people would keep from the abolition of taxation?

  • Rhubarbarian82

    How many times – in this thread alone – have people pointed out that the Post Office is not funded by taxpayer dollars?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • Rhubarbarian82

    You are clearly not tall enough to ride the ride, are you.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Ad hominem attack. What was wrong with the comment you replied to?

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Ad hominem attack.

    No, actually it was an insult.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Why insult me?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    And you’re totally not a Libertarian because…?

  • AnonaMiss

    Because roads are the classic libertarian example of “There are some things that the government is good at and should be responsible for.” The more liberal of libertarians even include trust-busting in this category!

    EH appears to be a corporatist anarchist. And fancies himself a utilitarian. No, really.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    No; libertarians (e.g., W. Block) believe roads should be privatized. I am suspicious of such a policy.

  • AnonaMiss

    The fact that the one libertarian who seriously suggests privatizing roads wrote “the first-ever complete book on this topic” (Mises institute) in 2009, hundreds of years after the development of classical liberalism and in the wake of the great ship-jumping of the corporatists to the “libertarian” label during the 2008 US national elections, says all you need to know about the idea’s acceptance in the wider circles of Libertarians Proper.

    (Quick-and-dirty metric for telling the difference between a
    libertarian-proper and a corporatist: libertarians are extremely pro-union.)

    There is a spectrum of libertarian positions, but the defining feature of a libertarian is minarchy, with the role of the government being limited to maintaining order, justice, and the continued existence of the market. Generally in the modern era libertarians have considered infrastructure the defining service-necessary-for-the-continued-existence-of-the-market, and therefore belonging to the government, because of the concerns that have already been raised in this thread. A free market requires competition, and private ownership of infrastructure impedes competition, because you can’t compete because you can’t get out your own front door.

    Saying that libertarians believe roads should be
    privatized is like saying that liberals believe prayer in schools should be outlawed: some people certainly believe it, but it tramples on founding principles of the ideology.

    Also, I note that you didn’t object to being called a utilitarian: would you confirm this for me please, so I can hack out my lungs laughing at you?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Wasn’t I chastised by the commentariat for misusing the word “corporatist” less than a year ago? Since when were any libertarians (except Left-Libertarians) “extremely pro-union”?

  • Mark Z.

    Armed couriers, of course.

    Skateboard couriers! With the right equipment, they’re faster than cars!

  • Storm

    While it may not have been their idea(PAEA) it did have two democrat cosponsors and certainly does not abdicate the democrats from their votes for it. This is the same group of clowns(D’s & R’s) that don’t read the bills they pass that become law, so I can’t believe that they actually read the commission’s report(PAEA). The NALC also thought it was a good idea at the time because they supported it.

    Public Law 109-435(PAEA) went from committee on Dec 7, 2006, passed the House on Dec, 8 2006, then passed the Senate on Dec 9, 2006 and was signed by Bush on Dec 20, 2006. It passed unanimously( for the slow people out there that means very few people voted against it) in both chambers, it was voice voted and no records were kept as to how each member voted…isn’t that convenient?

    The genesis of the PAEA actually started with Public Law 108-18(Postal Civil Service Retirement System Funding Reform Act Of 2003), which also had two democrat cosponsors. It mandated a future congress to revisit the Health Benefit Funding question. The PAEA is an amendment bill to Public Law 108-18.

    It is amazing to me that this PAEA has been laid at the feet of the R’s when the D’s are every bit as culpable, and that also includes the NALC!

  • LiamSkye

    One part of it that the Republicans solely own is the $5.5 billion per year. Everybody – and I mean everybody – agreed with prefunding the retiree health benefit liability but everybody expected something reasonable like a 40 year straight line amortization. It was the Bush White House that insisted on budget neutrality – in other words they wouldn’t stand for USPS’ payments into the Treasury to be reduced by billions per year when they fixed the massive USPS overpayments into the pensions. Budget neutrality, according to Congress’ rules goes out 10 years – hence the ungodly 10 year prepayment schedule.

  • Storm

    Liam, I call BS on your post, show me where the “40 year straight line amortization” was presented as an alternative to the current schedule…which by the way the USPS has not made the last two payments. Not only that, the PAEA expires at the end of the next fiscal year and it looks as though the USPS will not make this years payment. The timeframes as I presented them are accurate and make it highly unlikely that there was any debate let alone ay actuarial discussion about how to fund it. The democrats obviously agreed. Hind sight is not wisdom and second guessing after the fact is not strategy. Liberals like to engage in this kind of tripe in an effort to appear intelligent…epic FAIL!

    Like I said…very few of the politicians voted against the bill in it’s current form. All the spinning in the world by you and the rabid left cannot change that.

  • P J Evans

    ‘Rabid left’ is a phrase only used by conservatives, usually to blame other people for their own failings.

    Would you care to rephrase your answer so it’s closer to reality, bearing in mind that when Bush was president the Republicans owned Congress and didn’t bother with letting Democrats actually have much say?

  • Storm

    No…the term stands as stated! The only one getting dizzy in your spin job is you!

  • LiamSkye

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! You “call bullshit” when you are trying to peddle a revisionist version of history when the truth is readily available to anyone who wants to look for it? The version of the bill that passed the House in 2005 called for amortization “in accordance with generally accepted actuarial practices and principles.” The Senate version specifically called for a 40-year amortization (actually it specified an amortization ending in 2046, which was 40 years out). Are you so obtuse as to really believe that there was no action between 2003 and 2006 and this all happened in 24 hours? What color is the sky in your world of the simpleminded?

    So you are going to rewrite the Act itself, as well as its history? It is the law of the land and does not “expire” next year. As a matter of fact, what do you think it calls for in 2016? (I know you don’t know the answer because it is so pitifully obvious that you have not even read the legislation). I’ll tell you: It reverts to the 40-year amortization of the remaining liability as was the original plan before the budget-scoring rule was invoked – and then it reverts to a minimum 15-year amortization in 2041.

    Here’s what really happened to bring about the PAEA: the discussion was ongoing since 2002 when it was revealed that USPS was on track to overfund its pensions by at least $70 billion. the plan was long-term amortization right up to the last few days when the rule was invoked and everybody agreed because there was no more time.

    You really ought to do a little research on the history of the PAEA. As it stands, the only part you got right is the part that you can’t lay it at the feet of the Republicans – it was one of the most bipartisan agreements ever. As I have stated, the White House played the budget-scoring card – but the White House didn’t put that card in the deck. That, too, was a bipartisan agreement. Oh yeah, you got the part about the Postal Civil Service Retirement System Funding Reform Act Of 2003 right too.

    Sorry, Storm, but you are a Johnny-come-lately on this issue and you have no firsthand knowledge or perspective of what was happening then and why. I was not only there at that time, but I had already been there for more than two decades.

  • Storm

    Liam, Thanks for proving every point I made. In 2003 the USPS was made to pay the “Military offset” to the tune of 27 billion.

    I am not late on anything, I work for the USPS and will be retiring in 2 1/2 years. As a “future retiree” I want the USPS to make those payments. The waste I see every day and the bloated management structure tells me that we could afford those payments if we got serious about running the place like a business. Those quotes are from people who have everything to hide. “Law of the Land”…are you a comedian? The PMG hasn’t made the last two payments and nothing has been or will be done about it. 10 years forward from 2006 = 2016. The urgency that was brought to light in the commission’s report, which I doubt you read, was that very soon there was going to be a large portion of the workforce retiring and that OPM via taxpayer monies was going to have a serious shortfall of revenue…hence the 10 year time frame.

  • LiamSkye

    Storm, the timeline you have provided is an accurate description of the events that took place during two days of the 4 year legislative history. Unfortunately, you do not seem to have any knowledge or understanding of those events. Your assertion that it is “highly unlikely that there was any debate let alone any actuarial discussion about how to fund it” is the most preposterous statement I have ever had the misfortune to read. I successfully rebutted it no less than four different ways, by quotes from the House and the Senate bills, as well as quotes from both Democrats and Republicans that demonstrate how far afield you are in your understanding of both how and why the ten year prepayment plan was brought to be. The truth is that there was a hundred billion dollars at stake, including billions already in escrow, and there was endless discussion about what to do about it. The only thing that was NOT discussed was a ten year prepayment schedule.

    You have outdone yourself in demonstrating your ignorance of postal finance when you state that “taxpayer monies” pay postal retiree health benefits. That has never been true since the inception of USPS in 1971, when USPS, like every private sector corporation began paying those costs out of current revenues. The ten-year plan was solely driven by the House budget-scoring rule. That is a fact and you can not change it with a revisionist recitation of a miniscule portion of the legislative history.

    I hope you are not going to try to work as a lawyer when you retire because you are even more abysmally over your head when you try (and fail) to address the law. The reason that “nothing has been or will be done about” the missed prepayments is, quite simply, because the law provides neither penalty nor relief when there is insufficient money to make the payments.

  • Lori

    The waste I see every day and the bloated management structure tells me
    that we could afford those payments if we got serious about running the
    place like a business.

    This sentence tells me that you no little or nothing about how actual businesses are run. When was the last time you actually held a corporate job?

  • Carstonio

    Blame for instituting PAEA is less important than accountability for politicians who continue to defend it.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The point raised is valid. Why did the Dems not undo the law in the two Congresses where they held a majority?

  • P J Evans

    Mostly because they only had a majority for a short time – you have to remember that there were, and are, Democrats who routinely vote with the Republicans. We call them DINOs. Several of them were very much senior – Buacus, of the health-care law, is one of them.

  • Carstonio

    I interpreted Storm’s post as a variant of “Oh yeah, what about Robert Byrd?” An accusation of hypocrisy against Democrats who oppose PAEA and condemn Republicans for it, since “their team” also voted for it and didn’t overturn it. Obviously that may not have been Storm’s intention.

  • P J Evans

    Storms word choices are those of someone who gets their information from talk radio and Fox news. Not the only one, either: the others who showed up with that ‘Democrats voted ofr it too’ also use the same word choices.

  • P J Evans

    ‘Democrat’ being used as an adjective is the mark of a Republican who is only here as a troll.

  • Jack Frost

    You would think the Democrats would have utilized their majority in ALL three branches of government to alleviate this burden upon the USPS to reward the public sector unions which are a bedrock of support. You would be wrong! Instead they used all their political capital to move the country farther to the Left by enacting Obamacare to lead ultimately to a single payer/single provider system run by the federal government. Plus they had already bought to UAW companies. The GOP came into the majority in the next midterm elections. Now in his final term, Obama has taken another look at what important issues still need his attention. He has selected gay marriage, gun control and legalizing “undocumented” aliens as his most pressing battle. Just be glad you’re not trying to fins a non-existent job in the private sector. Yeah, it’s all the GOP…

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, dipshit, the country moved farther toward the center. From the right, yes, but we ain’t nowhere near the left. Evidence supporting: corporate taxes are nonexistent and people still die of preventable things in this country.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Yeah, stupid liberals thinking that “treating gay americans like they are full human beings”, “Doing something about the MILLIONS of people who die in this country due to our ridiculously comedy third-world-level gun control”, and “Doing something about the people who suffer in this country due to our ridiculously comedy third-world-level health care system” should be high priorities.

  • AnonaMiss

    If you believe that Obamacare was a significant step to the left, please explain why the Republican party proposed it in 1993 as the HEART Act?

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Not to mention Romney implementing it as the Massachusetts health care insurance reform law of 2006, and Nixon proposing something very similar in 1971…

  • aim2misbehave

    Yeah, all of that makes me so sad. I run an Etsy shop, and shipping through the USPS is awesome – they subsidizes business shipping rates, so I can ship my stuff first-class for under $2 and it’ll arrive in usually less than a week (My record was a package being delivered 2900 miles away in a mere 46 hours from when I dropped it off at the post office). It’ll cost at least 3-4x as much to ship through any commercial carriers.

  • arcseconds

    I actually think Enopoletus Harding is kinda cute with his obsessive and pointless ranking excercises, enthusiastic linking, and continual self-commentary, and in a way he is, I think, arguing in good faith, despite the silly [citiation needed]s and other point-scoring tactics, which I’m starting to see as part of his charm.

    Despite getting a lot of shit (albeit often deserved, and when it hasn’t strictly speaking been deserved it stems from understandable exasperation) from everyone, he’s taken it on the cheek, and remained just as civil as he was before.

    Also, some of his insistence on clarification seems to be aimed at just that, clarification, rather than in support of some point or other, which I think has been overlooked.

    And from time to time he comes up with something genuinely interesting.

    Also also, I love love love the quantitative response to Lliira’s complaints that never before have so many responded so much to so few.

    I know, I’ll go and upvote it. I know he’d like that.

  • Brian Winter

    This is what is happening IMO. They (the big money corporations and their bought and payed for congressional lackeys) are requiring the prefunding to make the losses look as bad as they are. Then comes the privatization of the USPS. The prefunded health care will be raided by the corporations and the mail will be worked by minimum wage workers. Mail will cost you by distance rather than piece….if you are lucky enough to live somewhere where they deem mail service will be profitable!


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