While the Federal government plays a huge role in nearly everyone’s life (on April 15 and all year round), there’s really only one government agency most of us are served by every single day: the United States Postal Service.
The USPS has its issues. Unlike most private (or public) entities, it has been required to fully fund its pension and health care obligations annually since 2006, causing a financial strain that commentators have nearly uniformly called unnecessary. A bipartisan bill aimed at fixing the Post Office’s wobbly finances garnered 230 co-sponsors in 2011, representing more than half the members of the House. It died on the vine. Mick Mulvaney was not among its supporters.
The Post Office’s inability to maintain or expand its services hits residents of York and Lancaster counties particularly hard. The Fort Mill post office was constructed in 1989, when 5,283 people lived in town. Today, nearly three times as many people do. The population of Fort Mill township has similarly grown, from 17,000 in 1990 to more than 36,000 in 2010. Tega Cay’s growth has paralleled Fort Mill’s, from barely 3000 residents in 1990 to nearly 9000 today. Indian Land has continued to grow as well, as US 521 has become a main corridor into Charlotte.
Through all of this growth, the little Fort Mill post office continues to serve not only Fort Mill, but also Tega Cay and Indian Land. The employees and letter carries of the Fort Mill post office can only strain to keep up with the growing demand for services, while the residents of York and Lancaster county watch service levels decline. The residents of Indian Land, Mulvaney’s current “home town,” have it particularly rough, with some folks living no less than 13 miles from their post office. It seems some of Mick Mulvaney’s Indian Land neighbors in zip code 29707 have complained to him and not seen any results.
This is particularly hard to stomach considering the Congressman not only lives in an underserved community, but also sits on the Congressional committee and subcommittee that oversees the Post Office!
There was an informative hearing on Postal Service Reform, held before the House Oversight Committee on May 11, 2016. If you know Congressman Mulvaney, you may want to pass along the link to the testimony, since he didn’t actually show up to the hearing. He did find time to be on Fox Business the next day, though.
Mick Mulvaney’s lack of interest in the post office is clear from his home page, which helpfully points out that “the prices for many mail services went up on June 30, 2002.” While true, the price of a stamp has also gone up 8 TIMES since 2002 and went DOWN in April 2016. When was the last time this guy bought a stamp? If it was in June 2002, he didn’t even live in South Carolina yet then.
Mulvaney’s lack of interest in helping his constituents’ access to their local post office doesn’t seem to stem from the fact that he’s out of touch or doesn’t care. Instead, his “small government” politics conflict with the idea of a Federally-run Postal Service (even one that receives no taxpayer money). He’d rather see the Postal Service, like the VA and other vital government services, privatized.
The political action committee of one of the Post Office’s principal competitors, United Parcel Service, donated $1000 ($500 + $500) to Mulvaney’s re-election campaign in 2012. They’re apparently better at finding their allies in Congress than they are at finding your front door.