This week’s show looks at the US postal service and the War and Peace Process in Afghanistan. Our guests are Jeff Musto and Gareth Porter.
Jeff Musto is a public interest advocate and researcher for the Center for Study of Responsive Law, a non-profit founded by Ralph Nader in 1968. In this role he works on a variety of projects, including the preservation of the U.S. Postal Service by preventing further Post Office closings, service cuts, and job cuts; the benefits of a financial speculation tax and other revenue generating proposals; the expansion of the posting of government contracts online; and the impacts of the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, among others. Prior to his work with the Center, he worked with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. In his career as an advocate for the public interest, he has conducted research and analysis on a variety of issues, co-authored nationally released reports on government transparency and corporate tax loopholes, written works published in newspapers throughout the country, lobbied legislators, and directed grassroots citizen outreach campaigns.
Reuters reported this week that President Obama has endorsed a plan to “rescue” the Postal Service, including by reducing service one day a week.
Bloomberg reports: “A measure that may put the U.S. Postal Service under a control board, end to-the-door mail delivery and close post offices using the same process as military-base shutdowns was approved by a U.S. House panel. The bill, sponsored by Representatives Darrell Issa, a California Republican, and Dennis Ross, a Florida Republican, was approved today with Republican support and Democratic opposition.”
In a letter to Sen. Joseph Lieberman and Rep. Darrell Issa, Ralph Nader writes: “The deep hole of debt that is currently facing the U.S. Postal Service is entirely due to the burdensome prepayments for future retiree health care benefits imposed by Congress in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA). By June 2011, the USPS saw a total net deficit of $19.5 billion … [this] deficit almost exactly matches the $20.95 billion the USPS made in prepayments to the fund for future retiree health care benefits by June 2011. If the prepayments required under PAEA were never enacted into law, the USPS would not have a net deficiency of nearly $20 billion, but instead be in the black by at least $1.5 billion.” Nader stresses that, in terms of retirees’ health benefits, the Postal Service is required to do things that “no other government or private corporation is required to do and is an incredibly unreasonable burden.”
Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, “Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam”, was published in 2006. He is an historian with a PhD in South-east Asian studies from Cornell University in New York state. He was Saigon Bureau Chief for Dispatch News Service in 1970 and 1971. Porter has taught international studies at City College of New York and American University and has written several books on Vietnam. He has also written on war and diplomacy in Cambodia, Korea and the Philippines. Porter has been a news analyst for IPS focusing on U.S. policy and developments in Iraq and Iran since September 2005. He has been on The Monitor several times, mostly to talk about events in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This week he joins us to talk about his two most recent articles:
You can find a full listing of his stories with IPS here