Monday, May 12, 2008

Of postage, petroleum, pennies and profit

To-day the price of a first class stamp increased a penny. There does not seem the usual amount of piffle on the cathodique and other media, this time around; after all, look at the price of petroleum. When the controversially, divisive Bill Clinton ended his constitutionally, obtained, tenure in office, postage was 34¢. At the close of business, to-day, a barrel of oil was $124.23, it had decreased from yesterday.
The OPEC nations are responding to decreased demand. World demand, they think, is going to decrease and, therefore, they've responded with a million barrel cut. The piece of good news in their decision was that the Saudi minister made it clear that he and his friends would not allow the price of oil, crude oil to exceed $28 a barrel. — gwbjr 3/19/01
When the postage went from 22¢ to 2 bits, a hue and cry arose. A comedian had a wonderful comment: I put a message in an envelope, someone comes to my my house, and it is carried anywhere in the country to the house of someone else, for a quarter; a kid won’t lick an envelope for a quarter.

I worked in the post office. It is run as an ersatz military organisation. The highest officer is the postmaster general. There are many levels (grades) between him and the carrier and clerk. There is a numeric code with slashes for everything. 1.30 p.m. is 13.50. You are AWOL, if they do not your whereabouts. Straightforward clear english is not used. The terminology is faux military and, generally, you are treated with the respect a recruit receives in basic training.

Bush junior has escaped blame for the oil situation. I remember, people berating Jimmy Carter for the price of gasoline and its availability, up to the point of the start of the current war bush created. These people, who were older than myself, had all forgotten the 1973 oil crisis under Nixon as ever occurring. Being Republicans, they had different standards and selective memory and outrage. Granted: there has been no Republican better than Nixon since, but Carter was morally superior. Bush and Cheney were both Texas oilmen, it is unconstitutional for both the president and vice-president being from the same state*. The oilfields of Iraq were to pay for the war, they said, they assured the country.

There had been non-denominated stamps for Christmas 1975. Beginning in ’78 there were stamps identified by letter, that were indexed to new rates. The last was ‘H’. Some other stamps also were not denominated, some specifically created to make up the difference between old and new rates. Now a new system has been implemented, where non-denominated stamps are to remain good, for future rates . It is a good idea. [God knows, that postal management does not have many. Practically every novelty is flawed.] People do not remember all the changes. All previous stamps remain their intended, original, value. Customers and workers would need charts. The quarter of 1988 will have more value than the 25¢ of 2038. Many stamps bought are never used. People pay for services never to be done, profit for the postal service.

Under Reagan, the capitalist cheerleaders came out of the woodwork to privatise, rob and wreak havoc. Stamps printed by the government, an internationally logical and thoroughly legitimate practice, were being relegated out to different private printers, creating an inferior product. Postal stamps are like currency and official documents, they should not be advertising labels. Some people thought the contingency stamps unattractive. The text only one, certainly, was. The new design is a good one.

*But, as they have often demonstrated, they are not bound by the Constitution. A Wyoming address was provided, to actually, satisfy the Constitution, perhaps the last action they modified for its sake.

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