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Senator Carper introduces legislation to virtually end the USPS

Democratic Senator Tom Carper has moved the Postal Service one big step closer to extinction this weekend by introducing his new Postal Reform Act S 1486. Mr Carper a long time ally of wealthy corporate interests intends to drive the stake into the heart of the worlds best Postal Service. His bill on many levels closely resembles Congressman Issa’s HR 2748 which passed out of a House committee 10 days ago on a party line vote, with only GOP support.

Carper’s S 1486 will allow the elimination of Saturday delivery in just one year. That itself will put the USPS in a death spiral. Cutting service is clearly not the way to compete in a 21st economy. Cutting 16% of the USPS services to save at most 3% of the budget doesn’t seem to be a rational strategy. Saving any money itself is in question as studies have shown that losing Saturday delivery would reduce mail volume by 7.7% that itself would result in a revenue loss of $5.3 Billion far exceeding the money projected to be saved by cutting a day of delivery.

Other aspects of this bill that would harm the American public is that this bill requires the Postal Service to change your mode of delivery to the deivery mode “that is most cost – effective and in the best long-term interest of the Postal Service” This may save the Postal Service some delivery time but to force elderly people into a situation where it will be difficult for them to retrieve their mail in the harsh winter or sweltering summer is not a matter that a civilized society should put a price on.

This Senate bill also removes safeguards for rural customers that have been in place to guarantee them reasonable access to a post office. There will be no limit on how far you must travel to get to your “local” post office. I guess for Mr Carper being a Senator from Delaware that issue does not resonate with him.

S 1486  makes it easy for the Postal Service to sell historic buildings. This was previously forbidden in past postal reform bills. As we all know the conservatives love the idea of selling off Postal Service assets, it is a long-held dream of the right wing. Key Romney advisor Kevin Hassett outlines the plan: “The Postal Service owns or operates 33,000 facilities nationwide, and owns 219,000 vehicles. If we were to auction it off to private investors, the bids would likely be enormous. FedEx and UPS, for example, have a combined market capitalization of almost $100 billion. Given that, how much might a private bidder offer for the right to start a business with the Postal Service’s footprint? The $100 billion mark might be a good first guess” At least they are not hiding their motives.

S 1486 in tandem with HR 2748 if enacted will seem to put an end to a great American institution for purely ideological reasons. The wealthy could never allow a highly unionized and efficient government institution ( USPS does not use a dime of tax money) like the Postal Service be allowed to thrive. In 2006 Bush inserted a poison pill requiring the USPS to prefund retiree health care costs 75 years into the future over a 10 year period. This resulted in this manufactured crisis that corporate owned politicians seem more than happy to capitalize on to increase profits for their wealthy campaign contributors.

The only losers are ordinary American people whose very popular postal service, with an 83% approval rating, has to be dismantled to be “saved”.

 

NHLN  Note:
Read the Union Response to this proposed legislation.
Read the LTE in response to this post.

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About Bill Brickley

Bill is a member of the National Association of Letter Carriers, serving on the NH Letter Carrier Executive Board as CD1 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
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