It's time to pull out the world's smallest violin for The Nation magazine. They are lefties, but at a time when the conservative establishment is promoting Big Government at every opportunity, as well as restricting civil liberties, increasing military spending, and launching unnecessary wars, I've grown fond of lefties. But not too fond. The Nation, like other small publications, is worried about an impending postage rate increase. They naturally think the increase is outrageous, though they can offer no evidence for that position, other than the fact that, well, they can't afford to pay more. As Teresa Stack, The Nation's president, was kind enough to inform me via email:
Dear Member of the Nation Community, Tuesday's the big day. That's when Congress will hold a hearing on the outrageous Time Warner-inspired postage rate hike that's saddled The Nation with a half million dollar annual increase in postal costs and brought other small publications to the brink of financial disaster. Now's the moment for champions of independent media to take a stand. We're joining our friends at Free Press to collect 100,000 signatures, and we want to have phones ringing off the hook on Capitol Hill by Tuesday. Please send a message to Congress, post haste. Our founding fathers knew that a free press is a cornerstone of democracy. That's why they encouraged small publishers and a broad spectrum of opinions in media by guaranteeing fair postal rates for all. But mega-magazines have undermined that founding principle. Time Warner and others like them are passing the buck onto smaller independent publishers, threatening to silence the fearless investigative journalism that small media outlets like The Nation are known for. Now is our chance to restore the founder's vision. The Nation isn't the only small magazine forced to foot the bill. We're on the same page with small publishers on the opposite side of the aisle, like National Review, who have also been hit hard by the increase. It's not just the fate of your favorite magazine that rests on the outcome of this hearing. The health of our nation's open public discourse hangs in the balance. Your Congressperson needs to hear from you now. Please let them know you won't stand by quietly while the future of independent publications are at risk. Thank you in advance for doing your part today -- and thank you for all you've done on this critical issue during the past few months. Without the help of grassroots activists like yourself we wouldn't even be witnessing these important hearings! Your support is amazing and we are truly grateful. Sincerely, Teresa Stack President, The NationOf course, the real problem is that The Nation is stuck with a government monopoly that faces no competition for magazine delivery. So there's no pressure on the Post Office to keep rates down, or to develop more cost-effective delivery methods. All The Nation can do is whine about the increase, talking about fairness, denouncing corporate oppressores, and hoping its political allies on Capitol Hill will do something. Good luck. How about a new approach? The Nation calling for privatization of the delivery market. Get the government out of the Post Office and kill the private express statutes which create a monopoly for standard mail. Then there would be more options for The Nation and the rest of us! Whaddya' say, my favorite lefties?