Speed Reads

Johnsplaining

John Oliver has ideas to save the U.S. Postal Service from collapsing 'at the worst possible time'

"The USPS provides valuable services, from delivering mail and packages to brilliantly ruining TikTok videos," John Oliver demonstrated on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. "The current pandemic is obviously making things very difficult for postal workers right now," and along with the 40 who have died of COVID-19 and the thousand more who have tested positive, "these workers are also having to grapple with another existential threat: The Postal Service may be about to go broke."

"Without financial help, the USPS may not make it past September without significant service interruptions, which is upsetting, especially during an election year, a census year, and a pandemic that has people housebound," Oliver said "At the worst possible time, this American institution is on the brink of collapse, so tonight we thought it might be worth asking why that is, and what can be done about it."

The USPS is supposed to be independent and financially self-sufficient, "and you might think that you know why the Postal Service is in such trouble — that the internet and email mean that people just don't use it as much — but that's not actually the main reason," Oliver said. The main reason is a 2006 law.

And "one of the biggest things standing in the way of the USPS getting the federal assistance it so badly needs right now" is President Trump's bizarre insistence on making the USPS quadruple delivery rates for Amazon, almost certainly because he hates Jeff Bezos and The Washington Post and he demonstrably "makes policy decision based on his never-ending game of Six Degrees of How Is This About Me," Oliver said. "Trump is absolutely convinced that the Postal Service's biggest problem is one of the few things that is not actually one of its problems. And that's not just annoying, it's really worrying, especially as just this week he replace the outgoing postmaster general with this guy, Louis DeJoy, a major Trump donor."

The Postal Service is "a literal lifeline for many Americans," a crucial partner for small businesses, and an essential service for rural America, and Congress needs to give it "an infusion of funding as soon as possible," Oliver said. But Congress should also allow the USPS to expand its services, especially to postal banking. Oliver is also selling actual stamps if you want to help the USPS now. (There is NSFW language.) Watch below. Peter Weber