President Trump inspired a journalist to explain why
2017 has been full of the president’s unhinged rants on any manner of things, from his political opponents to the media, from Saturday Night Live to the NFL. He’s railed against just about everything, and recently he set his sights on the United States Post Office.
One writer for the Washington Post was not having it.
Paul Waldman is a blogger for the Washington Post, as well as a columnist for The Week and a senior writer for American Prospect, and it seems like he had this particular Twitter rant in the holster for a while, before President Trump came along and gave him the perfect opportunity to unleash it.
On Friday morning, the President criticized the post office for not charging Amazon and the like more for package delivery:
Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer? Should be charging MUCH MORE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2017
A few hours later, Waldman sprang into action, first announcing his intentions:
I'd like to thank the president for giving me the opportunity to go on a little rant reminding everyone that the US Postal Service is a fricking marvel, and people's complaints about it are largely bogus. Strap in… /1
— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) December 29, 2017
Then he explained, in basic terms, what makes the post office so special:
They will come to your house, take a letter you wrote, transport it thousands of miles over land and air and water if necessary, and deliver it to the door of your recipient, in just a few days. /2— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) December 29, 2017
And how much do they charge for this amazing service? Fifty dollars? A hundred dollars? Nope. Forty-nine goddamn cents. /3— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) December 29, 2017
He’s not wrong. We all complain when stamps get more expensive, but they’re still cheap AF, all things considered. Some of those things to consider? The sheer volume the USPS handles every day.
They do it 500 million times a day (not counting Sundays and holidays). They handle just under half of all the mail in the world. And unlike UPS or FedEx who get to choose their customers, the USPS is required by law to deliver to every American, no matter how far-flung. /4— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) December 29, 2017
They have no choice but to maintain offices all across the country. As a service to the citizens. Even when those offices don’t make money. Because, as a government agency, it’s the law.
They have to maintain post offices where they aren't profitable (over 30,000 of them), and they have to prepay retiree health and pension costs, which no private company or gov't agency has to do, because Congress mandates it. /5— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) December 29, 2017
This one might be my favorite:
So yeah, the postal service loses money. But it also provides an invaluable service to every American. Nobody asks why the Defense Department isn't turning a profit. /6— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) December 29, 2017
“Nobody asks why the Defense Department isn’t turning a profit.” BOOM.
Waldman doesn’t shy away from the typical complaints either, but tries to put them into perspective, mostly by reminding us that people are dumb.
"I had to wait on line for 20 minutes to mail a package!" you whine. Yeah, it happens. But every time I've had to wait on line at the PO, it was because of the CUSTOMERS. /7— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) December 29, 2017
"Oh, I can't just mail this blanket to my mom? I actually need to put it in a box? And I need the correct address? And I can't just give you this jar of pennies as payment, without counting them?" People are idiots. /8— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) December 29, 2017
Where is the lie?
The writer wraps up his Twitter rant by reminding us, and, perhaps the president himself (I’m sure he’ll apologize soon), about the important parts.
The post office isn't perfect; neither is any government agency or private company. But they do a pretty incredible job, for which they charge you next to nothing. Appreciate it. /end— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) December 29, 2017
Everybody hates the post office. It’s a hassle, it’s inefficient, etc. But Waldman is right. The USPS performs a thankless job and it’s going broke doing it. Yet it keeps trudging on, through sleet and snow and all that other annoying stuff.
It’s pretty clear we take it for granted, and so does our president. But Waldman’s rant is a good reminder that for all its faults, the United States Postal Service is pretty remarkable, both in what it attempts to do and how well it accomplishes such an insurmountable task.
It’s about time someone gave them a little credit, and based on the reception his Twitter rant got, Waldman isn’t alone. Nearly 8,000 people have retweeted the thread, and over 18,000 have liked it!
It took nearly all of 2017, but I guess we finally have something to thank the president for.