How bad public policy happens

0
Courtesy of Jim Hightower

If you inject a stream of raw ignorance into a vat of gaseous arrogance, then jolt the mixture with 1,000 megawatts of malevolence — what does it produce? Answer: Donald Trump’s Executive Order of April 12.

King Donald the First has been in a deep pout over negative articles about him in the Washington Post newspaper, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, King of the Amazon.com empire. King Trump fired off several rounds of angry tweets assailing King Bezos, including a potshot claiming that Amazon is “ripping off the post office” by underpaying for the millions of its packages the postal service ships.

Tweets aside, Trump had the firepower of the federal government at his fingertips, so he’s now arrogantly using the government to escalate his personal spat with Bezos. By executive order, he set up a federal task force to conduct a pernicious political inquisition into “our money losing post office,” particularly looking at the “pricing of the package delivery market.”

This reflects Trump’s vast ignorance. Far from being a money loser, the U.S. Postal Service has actually been earning about a billion dollars a year in profit. His false claim of “unsustainable” postal losses stems from a 2006 political ploy by right-wingers who want to destroy the public service. They passed a law dictating that USPS pre-fund retiree health benefits 75 years into the future — covering benefit costs for workers who haven’t even been born, much less hired and retired.

This adds a totally hokey “expense” of up to $5 billion a year to the USPS corporate ledger, creating the fake “loss” Trump is now so bombastically citing as the rationale for his destructive inquisition.

Sometimes public policy inadvertently turns bad, but when it’s based on ignorance and arrogance, policy inevitably goes bad.

This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.