An octogenarian in Humble, Texas has been waiting more than a week for an essential heart medication that’s been stalled at a mail processing facility roughly a half-hour away in Houston, due to the implementation of new rules for the US Postal Service that have slowed deliveries of such things nationwide.
Many believe that the slowdowns are part of an intentional push to disrupt the USPS in accordance with the dire warnings President Trump has been issuing about the “dangers” of mail-in voting. Republican victories often depend on low voter turnout, and the GOP believes that if the mail — which many people will rely on to vote this year due to the coronavirus — can be interrupted, it will have the same impact on voter turnout that other forms of voter suppression, such as voter ID laws and polling location closures, have had over the years.
Of course, it has the potential to backfire on Trump massively in a couple of ways: Number one, older Americans vote by mail in far larger numbers than other demographics and make up a significant portion of Trump’s base. The president may be shooting himself in the foot by negatively impacting mail service just when it comes to ballots.
But more importantly, a lot of older Americans may end up having the same experience as Don White from Texas. Essential medications come through the US Mail, and Mr. White exhausted his supply, despite thinking that ordering ahead of that point would get him his medication in time to continue uninterrupted:
There have been a few times in which it’s taken a week, week and a half, two weeks, but this is the first time I actually ran out and checking with the post office didn’t do much good, even though I had a tracking number on it.”
He said that the tracking number shows his medicine has been at that Houston mail plant for ten days. Again, this facility is less than an hour from his home.
After White’s story made the news, the Postal Service issued a statement that served to cover them somewhat, but which relied on largely interpretive data in order to justify the actions taken that have led to the slowdown of the mail.
For example, the statement included an explanation as to why the USPS was taking austere financial measures, like cutting overtime and suppressing volumes:
[The] Postal Service is in a financially unsustainable position, stemming from substantial declines in mail volume, and a broken business model. We are currently unable to balance our costs with available funding sources to fulfill both our universal service mission and other legal obligations.”
They fail to mention, however, that the business model of the USPS was “broken” by Republicans who voted to force the federal institution to fully fund employee pensions for the next three-quarters of a century, requiring them to have such an overabundance of unusable cash on hand that it has proven to be unsustainable.
No other federal agency is required to fund pensions that far in advance, and the move to make the USPS do so was a transparent effort to bankrupt the service and allow private companies like UPS and FedEx to pick up federal contracts.
Let’s hope that the GOP effort to destroy the mail service and Trump’s actions speeding up that effort don’t kill too many seniors before November.
Watch the original broadcast story from news station KHOU in Houston:
Featured image via screen capture
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