The federal government needs to spend more and it needs to spend less.
The paradox has everything to do with timing, and the Courtland post office is in the crosshairs of the confusion.
The Republican Party is playing an essential role in keeping the nation focused on its unsustainable debt. For too long, the federal government has refused to make hard financial decisions. Instead of using times of economic growth to reduce debt, it has parlayed increased revenue into political advantage. Both parties have done so, but it is the GOP that finally got serious about correcting the problem.
Pressure from Republicans is essential as the U.S. Postal Service copes with shrinking revenue. Over the long term, the goal of federal expenditures cannot be to keep people employed. The Postal Service provides an essential but diminished role. Advances in the Internet and improved efficiency in private carriers have decreased demand for the post office.
Facing the economic realities, the U.S. Postal Service is taking the appropriate steps. One of those steps involves evaluating the wisdom of maintaining full service in Courtland and other communities. Closure or reduced hours would be a blow to Courtland residents. That negative must be balanced against the cost to taxpayers if the U.S. Postal Service fails to break even financially.
Democrats in Washington have correctly recognized the need for deficit spending as the nation tries to escape the lingering effects of the recession. They will make a mistake, however, if they translate the short-term need for stimulus spending into a long-term practice of fiscal irresponsibility.
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