Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) argued during a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee Friday that the United States Postal Service should cut jobs to save money — despite the fact that the country is currently experiencing a historic unemployment crisis, with tens of millions of Americans collecting job-loss benefits amid a coronavirus-fueled economic downturn.
"When the Post Office becomes desperate for money — less employees," Paul said Friday at a hearing with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. "We started that a few years ago, but we've got to do more of it. Mail keeps dropping, you've got to have less employees."
DeJoy was called to answer questions about recent changes to the Postal Service that have caused significant delays in mail and package delivery.
The slowdowns have caused delays in such varied areas as the delivery of critical medications to veterans and of baby chicks to farmers, with chicks being reported to have arrived dead because of the lag.
Slowdowns at the agency have also raised questions about whether mail-in ballots will be counted on time and whether voters could face disenfranchisement due to Postal Service delays.
Paul, however, called for more cuts at the agency, which could further exacerbate delivery delays.
Paul also argued that the Postal Service should cut the number of delivery days in rural areas from six a week to five — something that would almost certainly impact many of Paul's own constituents in the largely rural state of Kentucky.
Cutting jobs is always unpopular.
However, arguing for more job cuts during a global pandemic, during which unemployment in the United States has risen to record highs, leaving tens of millions of workers jobless, could be politically damaging.
And the Postal Service — which currently employs more than 600,000 people across the country — is almost universally popular with Americans.
In a 2019 Gallup poll, 74 percent of Americans said the Postal Service was doing an "excellent" or "good" job, making it the top-rated federal agency.
That would also make tinkering with the agency politically risky, as Americans like the services they are receiving and could grow angry if they were to lose them.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.