There has always been one thing that I could always count on…The Postman always cometh…but beginning in August on Saturdays, he shall cometh no more.
Did you know that the United States Postal Service delivers 660 million pieces of mail to 142 million delivery points in the United States every day? And did you know that it was the U.S Constitution in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7 that gave Congress the responsibility to establish and ensure operation of the Postal Service way back in 1792… and it’s been in operation ever since? That’ a lot of mail!
And even though many of us have poked fun at the post office by declaring its letters “snail mail,” ever since the advent of the internet, the post office still manages to deliver to every household in America at low cost, efficiently, and…get this… without a penny of taxpayer money!
So why is it experiencing budget difficulties and having to cut back on its services? I bet you’re thinking that it’s because of its out dated and “snail like” service and ponderous union workers’ benefits and wages, and stifling bureaucratic red tape…right?…but you’d be wrong.
The real reason is that Congress, that very same government entity empowered to create it, has for some reason unknown to man or beast, set out to destroy it.
Yes, it’s absolutely true! Because In 2006 a law called the “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act” was approved by Congress that mandates pre-funding the postal service retiree health care and pension benefits for 75 years into the future — something that no other government agency or private company is forced to do.
This means that the US Post Office must pre-fund the healthcare and retirement benefits of employees that it hasn’t even hired yet! To the tune of 5.5 billion dollars a year. And this mandate was passed in the House of Representatives by a voice vote only and then it was passed in the Senate by Unanimous Consent. And remember, this is the same Senate that today can’t decide to take a vote on anything..
As a result of this incredible new law 85% of the USPS budget red ink comes from this pre-funding mandate. In fact without this incredibly ridiculous requirement the USPS would have over a 1 billion dollar surplus… and it should also be noted that the retiree health care account is fully funded for every current employee.
And because of this insane Congressional new rule, the post office has already been forced to close 500 post offices, cut operating hours, lay off 13,000 workers and bump 9,000 employees down to part time, with an additional 30,000 jobs being threatened. What business would lay off current employees in order to assure workers who haven’t even been hired yet of health care benefits when they retire???
So what’s going on? Who is Congress working for and why have they decided to “Go Postal” (sorry post office but who doesn’t know this unfortunate phrase?) on one of the oldest and most reliable institution we have!
Is it because they want to make the public believe that government services are underfunded and poorly managed, forcing more cuts, and eventually privatizing services altogether, handing over public goods to private corporations that enrich a select few at the expense of many? That’s all I can come up with…how about you?
If the American Congress does not right this wrong, which private sector member do you suppose will stand to benefit most from the postal service shutting down and who will get the contract from the US government to privatize the post office?
And by the way, Did you know that the USPS is the 3rd largest employer in America? Can you name the top 2?
#1 is the U.S. Government.
And in second place is that employer we’d all love to work for?…
For we all know that nothing more embodies the American Dream and our pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness like having a job at Wal-Mart!
…And I fear that Privatization shall cometh for us all when the Postman cometh no more.