Clinton St. Quarterly, Vol. 7 No. 1 | Spring 1985

strayed. We assumed that ninety percent of the people who owned that property and of the banks who lent money on it were within the radius of destruction themselves. That left two hundred billion dollars to be compensated. “The owners of the destroyed property can’t pay off the mortgages, but, if they default, the banking system collapses. So the federal government is going to have to buy the destroyed assets. It can't pay in full now. It will have to accept the mortgages and pay them off over time. The titles transfer to the federal government, which eventually can sell the property and recoup some of the losses. If the property is paid up, the government will pay t|ie owner over time, and he can use the proceeds to rebuild.” That there would be people left to pay taxes was assumed in the exercise scenario, which stipulated that nuclear weapons fell on only about 25 percent of the country. “The pattern of attack ran along the East Coast—they hit New York and Washington—and then through Georgia and out to the missile installations in the West,” Robbins said. “The results were interesting. The attack destroyed the entire capability of the United States to print money, and we were told there were no currency reserves. It was a frightening situation. East-West transportation was cut off. Communications were wiped out. And the explosions’ electromagnetic pulse wiped out computer memories. In that situation, our current tax policy is absolutely meaningless. Employers have no records, so they can’t fill out W-2 forms. Bank records are gone. Paper backup records are no good. You can’t process them fast enough. “Now you need a different kind of tax policy. You have to forgive all current taxes. If the attack happens on July 1, say, some people have paid withholding and some people have paid nothing, but you have to forgive and forget on both sides. It’s not fair to some people, but it’s too hard to figure out. Then you probably want to put on something like a sales tax. That’s the simplest one to administer. Stores are already familiar with the system, and you don’t want to have to train them at this point. The rate would probaOther “Postmaster General Standby Emergency Actions” authorize postmasters to burn stamps to prevent their “falling into enemy hands,” restrict postattack mail to first-class letters, and place an immediate ban on the issuance of money orders for payment in the country that attacked the United States. bly be close to thirty percent—that equals the current government take plus enough extra money to finance the war-loss sharing—with absolutely no exceptions. If state and local governments were exempted, a black market would appear immediately." And how would all this be communicated to the surviving population? “I’m not exactly certain,” Robbins said. “Normal communications wouldn’t work. You’d probably post it somewhere.” But Robbins hadn’t reckoned with the planners at the U.S. Postal Service. As soon as possible after a nuclear attack on the United States, the following message, which has already been recorded, will be broadcast over surviving radio stations to surviving radios: This is the United States Emergency Broadcast System with a message about emergency mail service and how it will help to reunite separated families. If because of the emergency you become separated from or do not know the whereabouts of family members, relatives, employers, employees or government agencies...the Postal Service will provide the principal, and perhaps the only, means available for reestablishing such contacts. Welfare offices and post offices...which are still functioning after an attack will furnish persons whose regular post offices or home addresses are no longer usable with two types of important cards with instructions for filling them out. One is called a Safety Notification Card; the other an Emergency Change of Address Card. The safety Notification Card should be completed and mailed promptly to the last known address of those whom it is important for you to contact...The Emergency Change of Address Card should be addressed to the Postmaster at the post office where you normally received your mail at the time of the attack, even though that post office is known to be out of operation.... If that post office is out of operations, the Emergency Change of Address Card will be sent to a special “Emergency Postal Concentration Center” (PCC) that will be set up to process and forward mail to people whose old addresses no longer exist. Sites for PCCs have already been selected in “areas of maximum safety,” according to the Postal Service’s Emergency Planning Manual. The manual, revised in 1981, contains detailed instructions on how to test Emergency Change of Address Cards for dangerous radioactivity before processing them (“to enhance the safety of postal employees"), explains how the cards should be alphabetized and filed (“sort according to the first letter of the last name“), and suggests that all postmasters stockpile a plastic letter tray (stock item 1262, now obsolete), which is perfect for stacking incoming Emergency Change of Address Card§, a large number of which are expected. Other “Postmaster General Standby Emergency Actions" that will go into effect after a nuclear attack authorize postmasters to burn stamps to prevent their “falling into enemy hands,” restrict postattack mail to first-class letters, and place an immediate ban on the issuance of money orders for payment in the country that attacked the United States. 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