Magazine article The American Prospect

Bless You, Little Redundancy. (Devil in the Details)

Magazine article The American Prospect

Bless You, Little Redundancy. (Devil in the Details)

Article excerpt

SAY YOU'RE THE HEAD OF A New Democrat think tank and a report you've commissioned on how to downsize the U.S. Postal Service, in best third-way fashion, has just been plopped upon your desk. Right up top in the introduction, the study forthrightly acknowledges that the proposed reforms "may well mean that the USPS will cut its workforce substantially." And then the anthrax starts hitting, and postal workers take sick and die, and talk of downsizing the department sounds heartless to even the tinniest New Democrat ear.

Such was the challenge faced this month by Will Marshall, president of the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), whose December 6 cover letter accompanying the PPI's report is a masterpiece of first-paragraph delicacy (its composition clearly demanded of the affable Marshall the most intense tonal concentration). "The men and women of the United States Postal Service have suffered greatly in the wake of the terrorist attacks," Marshall begins. (This is way high up to let on that we'll be adding to their suffering, too, right? …

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