Sunday, August 9, 2009

#142 Health-Care Reform, the Post Office, and Me

The Blogman must take umbrage--nay, extreme umbrage--at the aspersions cast upon our U.S. Postal Service by GOPers, Blue Doggers, Tea-Baggers, and other rump-fed runnions* bent on denying Americans proper health care. Aroint thee, fat-rump baggage--health care is one thing, but "hands-off" MY U.S. mail bag. That would be my picket sign. For I was a "mail-bagger" once. During one Christmas season long, long ago.

And it was by far the hardest and honestest job I ever had. And the biggest hourly-rate of pay, up to that time. It was Christmas break from my 1962-63 sophomore year at Kalamazoo College. Having taken the civil-service exam in the fall, I became an auxiliary mail-carrier assigned to several routes in our Chicago suburb of Lombard for the three-week rush and volume, mailwise, in and around the big Dec. 25th holiday. And we were true mail-CARRIERS back then--big leather pouch and all--none of those cute little putt-putt Good Humor vans in those days (only for parcel-post). Delivering overflow cards and letters, us temps trudged our appointed rounds faithfully, despite the drifting snow (neither rain nor sleet ...), and got the mail through. It really was a White Christmas the whole time--not unusual for the "lake-effect" Chicago area. Satisfying work, and nobody "went postal"... as far as I know.

So I take these indirect slurs on our postal service personally. Gimme just 5 minutes with John Boehner, please. (*Shakespeare's runnion is a "boner"= male-member, by the way.) The Senate Minority Leader and his minions have slandered the good name of our USPS by way of false analogy and invidious comparison. Asks Boehner: "Would you want our health-care system run by the Post Office, or the DMV?"--thinking it a rhetorical question. As to the former ... hell yes, and I'll get to that in a minute. (Notice though , as mentioned in last post, these folk don't dare point to the V.A., where we have an actual government-run, indeed "socialized," health-care program at work, and working.) As for the DMV whipping-boy, they know this is dishonest ... a TV sit-com cliche'. DMV's are state-run, not federal. Some states are efficient, some not. Inevitably, though, it works--you will always walk out with a license plate, or get a renewal sticker in--you guessed it--THE MAIL.

It's self-defeating, I hope, for those rump-fed, graft-bloated politicians (DM #133) to compare the workings of our postal service to what might happen in a government-run health-care program--e.g. the Public Option. For most thinking people unthinkingly take for granted that their cards and letters are going to get where they send them. Some of us may experience inconvenient clogs at holiday-times, like Christmas, but otherwise, generations of Americans have counted on the non-profit institution as a model of inexpensive efficiency. Put a 37-cent U.S. stamp on your birthday card to Grandma, slip it in the mailbox, and it arrives at her house the very next day. Two days at the most, anywhere in the country. If she lives in Hong Kong, plan on 6-10 days for only 98 cents (I looked it up). Still ... a marvel. And I don't even have to mention the wonderful world of Netflix.

Our government gets a goodly number of good things right, and everything doesn't have make a profit to be good. A very few things are too important to be left to the vagaries of private enterprise. Health care is one of them.

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