August 7, 2012

Public forum

Congress crippling U.S. Postal Service

An Associated Press report on July 31 says: “Post office nears historic default,” “.....first ever default on billions in payments....adding to widening uncertainty about solvency ...” “two legally required payments for future postal retirees’ health benefits — $5.5 billion ... and another $5.6 billion — will be left unpaid.” What is never reported is the reason for this — Congress. The Republican Congress in 2006 mandated that the post office fund its future retirees’ health benefits for the next 75 years in only 10 years!

Retirees who probably haven’t even been born yet! No other private or government entity has to conform to such an outrageous, ridiculous requirement. For anyone wanting to destroy the post office so that private companies can take over, this will do it.

If not for this onerous congressional requirement, the post office would be almost in the black this fiscal year in spite of dips in the mail stream. No government tax money provides for post office operations.

Postage and a few other small services are the sole source of income for the post office. Congress provides no money for the post office, but it does control it.

An excerpt from the Huffington Post: “If the Postal Service cuts back or disappears altogether, there are two big competitors seemingly waiting in the wings. Those shipping giants may have a combined workforce comparable to that of the Postal Service, but they probably wouldn’t fill the void left by the agency. It’s doubtful that UPS and FedEx would be interested in delivering letters, postcards and bills. ... The profits to be made on first-class mail are dwindling.”

Let your lawmakers know what you think. Only Congress can prevent you losing your post office services. The post office is planning to close many small post offices, omit Saturday mail delivery and extend the delivery time for regional first class mail from overnight to 2-day delivery in trying to operate in the straitjacket Congress has put it in.

Joanne Ratcliff, Delphi