The depth of Congressman Darrell Issa’s distain for the unionized workers at the US Postal Service knows no bounds. Now he is pitting the USPS against the US Military.
Government Executive reported this morning:
“A new bill would undo the recent cuts made to certain military retirees’ pensions, and in exchange allow the U.S. Postal Service to end Saturday mail delivery.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on Thursday proposed legislation that would restore full cost-of-living adjustments for young military retirees.”
To recap, the bi-partisan budget deal that everyone was giddy over last month made cuts to Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for veterans who retire after twenty years of service, but have not reached the full retirement age of 62. To put this into context, this would be a person who could be as young as 38 years old, receiving a military pension, who would receive 1% less in a COLA increase than those retiree’s over the age of 62.
I am against cutting benefits to any worker who has done their time and completed their service after the fact. That is not the case here. This change means that these working age retirees will not get the full cost of living increase, which does not mean they are going to see their paychecks go down, as some are implying. Also nowhere does it say that a retired veteran cannot get another job after they leave the military. Just look at all the government contractors like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, who routinely hire veterans as military specialists.
You know who else hires a ton of veterans, especially those who have been medically discharged? The US Postal Service, that is who. In 2007 the USPS employed over 680,000 people and of that 25% were veterans. (Note 8% of total workforce is listed as disabled veterans).
While that information is great to have, it is not the true point of this post. The fact that Congressman Issa is, yet again, proposing to cut the Postal Service to five-day delivery is a sham. He is trying to pull the wool over your eyes, by saying that eliminating Saturday delivery will save the government enough money to offset the retiree’s COLA cuts.
The fact is that the USPS does not take any money from the US Government. The USPS is a completely self-funded operation, paid in full by the postage on the parcel. The real issue the USPS is facing is the pre-funding mandate set forth by Congress in 2006. That mandate requires the USPS to pre-fund all retiree benefits for the next 75 years before 2016.
Congressman Issa and the Postmaster General have used this mandate to make claims that the USPS is going bankrupt. It is true the USPS cannot afford to pre-pay retiree benefits at 7-times (7X) the normal rate. What corporation could afford that? They are using this as a way to push the USPS, and its unionized workforce out, and replace it with private companies like UPS and FedEx, who make more money for the 1% on Wall Street. Let us not forget how UPS and FedEx botched holiday deliveries, while the slow and steady postal service delivered all their packages on time.
This legislation is the biggest shell game I have ever seen. Instead of just reinstating the cuts to retiree’s, Congressman Issa is suggesting that we steal money from the USPS (which he claims is going bankrupt), and give it to these retiree’s.
If the USPS is failing, as Congressman Issa has said over and over, how exactly is stealing more money from them going to save it?