Move over, Russia. The latest conspiracy theory about election stealing is that President Trump is “dismantling” the US Postal Service as a way to keep people from mailing in their ballots and suppressing the vote. This is a stupid theory for so many reasons, but here are two: One, nothing stops people from dropping their ballots at an official collection box at a Board of Elections or other government building, which is preferable anyway, and, two in-person voting will be available in every state, including California.
Of course, the Democrats are promoting this theory as a way to both defend a bloated bureaucracy and to convince voters that they can’t trust the results of the election should Trump win. Of course, if Biden were to win they would claim that Trump’s nefarious plot was foiled and obviously the results are valid.
As part of the rush to mania, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took to Twitter Sunday to urge her caucus to come back to Washington and save the USPS – and retirees’ Social Security checks – from this relentless assault.
The assault by President Trump & his mega-donor Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on the Postal Service threatens lives, livelihood & life of our American democracy. I am calling on the House to return to vote on Chairwoman Maloney’s "Delivering for America Act." #DontMessWithUSPS
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) August 17, 2020
Of course, she’s not calling on the House to return to vote on anything having to do with pandemic unemployment.
She then tweeted a link to what she called a letter to her colleagues, but which is actually a press release. In it, she makes an absolutely false claim designed only to scare people:
The Postal Service is a pillar of our democracy, enshrined in the Constitution and essential for providing critical services: delivering prescriptions, Social Security benefits, paychecks, tax returns and absentee ballots to millions of Americans, including in our most remote communities.
Alarmingly, across the nation, we see the devastating effects of the President’s campaign to sabotage the election by manipulating the Postal Service to disenfranchise voters….
Like mind-numbed sheep, some of her colleagues blindly retweeted Madame Speaker’s assertion:
President Trump is trying to suppress the vote by not properly funding @USPS with no regard for Americans who rely on it for prescriptions, social security checks, & other essentials. The House should recovene – Congressional oversight & action is needed. https://t.co/6hA1iUwWMP
— Jim Langevin (@JimLangevin) August 16, 2020
There’s just one problem. The Social Security Administration hasn’t mailed the overwhelming majority of benefit checks for nearly 10 years*, as Matt Whitlock of the NRSC pointed out:
In the first sentence of her letter announcing the House will come back to vote on Postal Service legislation (*not unemployment benefits) Pelosi warns of mail delays delivering social security checks.
But the Obama admin ended social security cheeks by mail 10 years ago pic.twitter.com/LT5Pw8V7fl
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) August 16, 2020
A June 11, 2010 ABC News article announced the shift, which also impacted veterans’ benefits, railroad retirement, and other benefits. I’ve quoted a great deal of the piece here because… well, just read on. You’ll understand why.
On Monday the Obama administration will announce that all payments from the government will now be made to consumers electronically….
Americans receiving payments for Social Security, unemployment insurance, veterans benefits, railroad retirement, and government benefits will now find the money automatically deposited into their personal bank accounts. Americans without bank accounts can get paid using the Treasury Department’s Direct Express Debit MasterCard program.
Why the shift to direct deposits? Two reasons: one, it will be easier and faster for consumers to get paid and, two, it will save taxpayers money – an estimated $303 million over the first five years and about $120 million each year after that.
For instance, despite repeated attempts to get recipients to convert to electronic payments, the Treasury Department still mails out more than 136 million benefit checks each year. Now, as part of President Obama’s effort to eliminate waste and modernize government for taxpayers, that will change with Monday’s announcement of a complete shift to direct deposits.
“[The] announcement is a win-win for the American public because it makes government more convenient and cost-effective while generating significant savings for the country,” said Office of Management & Budget director Peter Orszag. “This is precisely the type of smart, streamlined improvement that this administration is committed to making across government to boost efficiency and modernize how we do business.”
While savings of a few hundred million dollars a year might sound impressive, though, remember that just last month the government ran up $135 billion in red ink.
Perhaps it’s just me, but it was really difficult to determine where the “reporting” ended and where OMB Director Orszag’s quote began.
In any event, Pelosi was definitely around when that major change took place. She couldn’t have been confusing it with benefit checks in her home state of California, since those are paid electronically – loaded onto a debit card – as well. Being such a feather in the Obama administration’s cap, Pelosi should have remembered that.
Don’t count on any mainstream news organizations calling Pelosi, et al., out on their disinformation.
And, heads up – Pelosi is calling on her colleagues to host a “Day of Action” at their local post offices Tuesday, presumably before returning to Washington:
To save the Postal Service, I am also calling upon Members to participate in a Day of Action on Tuesday by appearing at a Post Office in their districts for a press event. In a time of a pandemic, the Postal Service is Election Central. Americans should not have to choose between their health and their vote.
The Postal Service is Election Central? Frightening in the extreme.
*According to the Social Security Administration, in August 2020 about 550,000 people received Social Security checks in the mail, compared to 63 million receiving benefits electronically.