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It's one thing to expect the "chronically dependent upon government" to empower themselves towards self-reliance and personal responsibility (preferably, as "Tea Party" types perennially insist, based on ekonomesie vryheid met Amerikaanse eienskappe and its disciplines) ... but to expect said "empowerment" to come through ideologically-driven models reeking of the Cult of Personality grafted onto the early-apartheid-era Reddingsdaadbond movement down South Africa way, especially where Scientologist models and concepts can be used, is only asking for trouble. Especially so that of the psychoemotional sort.

And especially so where the practical takes a back seat to the ideological.

No wonder "Tea Party" types are seeking the back-door corporatisation of the United States Postal Service, especially through "gotcha!" tactics vis-a-vis enforced prefunding of pension accounts without due regard for accountability: In case you haven't heard by now, Britain's Royal Mail has announced where, after 497 years of control by the Crown, a substantial portion thereof (to be determined later) will be denationalised and floated in the City as Royal Mail Group PLC.

Here's the skinny on same:
  • Royal Mail's 135,000 employees between Lands End and John O'Groats will be given 10% of the shares free, with the opportunity to subscribe for further shares later on (mininum £500) under Employee Priority Schemes; the remaining 90% will go to ordinary and institutional investors, with a mininum subscription of £750.
  • Royal Mail will have immediate access to £600 million in loans from High Street banks, with another £800 million available if required, replacing HM Treasury as its traditional source of finance.
  • Royal Mail will, barring unforseen circumstances, pay a special dividend of £133 million to shareholders next July (which they've estimated at £200 million were it already corporatised).
  • Monday-thru-Saturday deliveries and Universal Service Mandates (obligating delivery to every last address in England, Wales and Scotland) will remain in place.
  • The Post Office, its retail arm, is not affected and will remain a separate entity in its own right; further, Post Offices in especially rural areas are expected to remain open and offer a wider range of products and services, including telephonic, broadband Internet, banking, insurance, money transfer, currency exchange and licence such.
Which, in any case, doesn't sit well with the postal unions, especially the Communications Workers' Union (CWU); they're balloting its 125,000 members over authorising a strike action against Royal Mail over the corporatisation plan, which they fear would lead to job cuts, the end of Saturday deliveries and Universal Service being compromised, never mind that an Act of Parliament in 2009, passed with the prospect of corporatisation in mind, commits Royal Mail to Universal Service and Monday-Saturday letterpost deliveries. This on top of contract negotiations whereby Royal Mail is offering pay increases of 8.6% over three years, which will remain legally binding after corporatisation, and Her Majesty's Government assuming Royal Mail's pension fund liabilities.

In any event, the main rationale for corporatisation is the rise in shipping parcels and small packets (itself all the more possible thanks to online shopping), the general decline in traditional letterposts, and a need to remain competitive all the more, especially with regards to the former. (As a matter of fact, the British removed all competitive barriers to postal services, except for letterposts, in 2009; Royal Mail would retain the exclusive monopoly for letterposts under corporatisation.)

So what could be learned here, boys and girls?


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