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Congressman Issa Takes Aim At The USPS And Saturday Delivery

Congress is using a manufactured budget crisis as an excuse to dismantle the Postal Service. The Postal Service is easily the top rated government service by the American people and would be making a profit if it were not for the Postal Accountability Act of 2006. They do not take a penny of tax payer money so you would thing this congress would use the USPS as an example of what’s good about America . Instead they want to destroy it.

Congress seems to over look the reason the USPS has not made money in recent years is due to an annual $5.5 billion retirement prefunding mandate that congress placed on the Postal Service in 2006. This provision requires the USPS to prefund retiree health care costs 75 years into the future within a 10 year period.  No other government agency or business is required by law to prefund retiree health care costs.

The Postal Service has a $20 billion deficit over the last 4 years but it was caused by $21 billion in congressionally mandated retiree health care cost pre payments. Without this mandate the Postal Service would have made a profit over the last four years, despite the worst recession in 80 years.

Congressman Darrell Issa

As soon as next week the House of Representatives will consider how to deal with the problem they created. House Oversight and Committee Chairman  and anti union zealot Darrell Issa is pushing his own bill HR 2309 which would eliminate Saturday delivery, end door to door delivery and dramatically weaken collective bargaining rights. This bill undoubtedly would destroy the Postal Service if enacted.

Eliminating Saturday delivery is just a cynical ploy by the forces that want to privatize the Postal Service. It makes absolutely no business sense. USPS will lose 17% of the service it delivers while saving at most 3% of the budget. Postal Service has a fast growing parcel business that would be put in peril by not delivering on Saturdays. Thousands of business petitioned the Postal Rate Commission not to eliminate a day of service. It makes no economic sense.

The Postal Service does in fact face serious challenges ahead with a rapidly changing communication industry that has resulted in a decrease of First Class Mail. Growing the service is the solution not cutting it. A good example is the rapidly growing parcel post business that  is the reason the Postal Service had a $200 million operational profit delivering the mail in the first quarter of fiscal year 2012 . It was because of increases in Internet-related shipping. The best day to deliver parcels is obviously Saturday when people are home. Why should Congress want to remove that advantage ?

Why would Congress be so eager to lose a day of delivery and the 80,000 jobs that come with it.? Consider that the USPS is the largest employer of veterans in the country (22%). Why would congress which routinely holds job fairs for veterans want to eliminate almost 20,000 veterans jobs?

The US Postal Service has the best delivery network in the world. You would think this supposedly pro jobs Congress would be considering 7 day a week mail delivery. Politicians in this country who extol the virtues of American Exceptionalism  should be fast to embrace the USPS. The United States Postal Service is indeed one aspect of our country that is the best in the world.

Sadly this ideologically driven Congress is not really looking out for the best interests of the Postal Service or the country. They are more focused on destroying the Postal Service and their unions for political gain. Eliminating a popular government service and a large group of union workers at the same time is an ideal scenario.



About Bill Brickley

Bill is a member of the National Association of Letter Carriers, serves on the NH Letter Carrier Executive Board as State Legislative Liaison. Also serves on the NH AFL-CIO Executive Board. Former NH Area Coordinator Amnesty International and NH Labor News Blogger Follow him on twitter @BillBrickley@NHSALC
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