Recently, historian Adolph Reed has come under criticism for pointing out that the left is a political non-entity (Kevin Drum has also been criticized for making a similar point).
What I don’t get about these progressive apologists is that some of Obama’s ‘necessary’ compromises were not necessary at all. Worse, the starting point of the policies for which he has advocated can’t be considered ‘left’ or even Democratic. So Obama’s latest proposal to cripple the Postal Service (USPS) boggles the mind (boldface mine):
Obama’s previous budgets have had similar ideas for how to shore up USPS, which lost $5 billion in fiscal 2013. But several of the proposals floated by Obama have also generally been embraced more by Republicans than Democrats and postal unions.
Organized labor and many Democrats on Capitol Hill pushed back on the Postal Service’s push to keep only Saturday delivery of packages last year, an idea embraced by the top Republicans working on postal reform.
Obama’s budget would allow USPS to scrap all Saturday delivery – even packages, one of the most rapidly growing parts of the Postal Service’s business. USPS in recent months has shown more interest in expanding when it delivers packages, with Sunday delivery now in limited areas.
The White House budget would also allow USPS to move away from door-to-door delivery to more centralized delivery areas, an idea also panned by Democrats. Plus, USPS could keep a recent temporary increase in the price of stamps – which large mailers loathe – beyond the scheduled two years.
Finally, USPS would be allowed to skip a required prepayment for future retiree healthcare in 2014, and only pay half in 2015 and 2016 – thus saving the agency about $9 billion. Defaults on those required prepayments have caused most of the Postal Service’s red ink over the last two years.
“Together, these reforms would set USPS on a sustainable business path, providing it with over $20 billion in cash relief, operational savings and revenue through 2016,” according to the appendix to the president’s budget.
Mind you, this is not his final compromise position, this is the starting point. It’s all the more galling Congress has forced USPS to set aside 75 years of retirement benefits over ten years–something no business could possibly hope to achieve. There is a simple solution–remove the pre-funding requirement, and USPS is back in the black (that’s before we get to the added wrinkle that USPS has already overpaid into the federal pension system by fifty to one hundred billion dollars).
Sorry progressive apologists, but Obama had no reason to make this his starting offer, unless he wants to cripple USPS.
And this certainly isn’t a left or Democratic proposal either.