This is one of those little issues that gets lost in the shuffle of the daily outrage that is life under the Bush administration. I posted on this some time ago, but Josh brings it up again today in the wake of a blitz of panicked emails from various small press publications. After being heavily lobbied by Time Warner, the US Post Office is about to change the rates for mailing magazines, effectively threatening most small publications with bankrupting increases. Josh thinks it's a threat to democracy and freedom of the press.
On the other side of the debate, James Joyner argues that the system was skewed in favor of the small press in the first place, with the big corporate mags subsidizing the rates and besides, with the plethora of media outlets on the internets now, who really needs those small high brow presses? Surely, the academic elites who read those publications can afford the increases.
It's a valid point as far as it goes but I tend to side with Josh on this one. James seems to be unaware that are many places in America that are not even wired for cable television. I was surprised to recently discover my old home base in the Berkshires is still one of them and there are many Americans who are not internet savvy and depend on print publications for alternate points of view. I know I did when I lived out there and a hefty increase in postal rates would have priced me out of the market.
The big corporations enjoy many tax breaks and other forms of government subsidized corporate welfare in the name of promoting "economic growth" that the little guys don't. They don't need the relief from lower rates. The little guys do and the Post Office should send this hare-brained proposal to the dead letter office and let it lie there.