The problem with the US Postal Service is the 2006 postal reform -- mandating the “prefunding” of 75 years worth of future retirees’ health care benefits be paid in 10 years.
That's proportional to paying off an entire 30-year mortgage in about 4 years. Could you do that?
There is more than $45 billion in that horrendously over-funded retiree account today. The USPS is the only government agency required to do this, and the requirement came from a “lame duck” Republican controlled Congress, signed by then-President George W. Bush.
This requires the USPS to pay $5.6 billion each year, an amount that has accounted for 85% of USPS losses since 2006.
In fact for the first half of this current fiscal year, the “prefunding” accounts for $6.2 billion of the $6.5 billion of red ink at the USPS.
The USPS has cut more than 130,000 jobs over the last five years. It is also delivering “the last mile” of tens of thousands of parcels from UPS and Fedex each day, which those companies deliver to post offices and mail processing plants all over the country for postal clerks and mail handlers to sort and deliver.
The USPS has and will continue to adapt to the Internet and other future changes.
The only “snail mail” going on around here is Congress, not fixing the mess that it created. This crisis created by the “prefunding” mandate has put the USPS in a panic mode to cut your service -- this is not the answer.
Congress must act now.
Currently in the House, there are two bills with enough co-sponsors to pass them both. HR 1351 has 230 co-sponsors. It addresses the over-funding of the Civil Service Retirement System by $50-75 billion. This bill would transfer the overpaid money to the current “prefunding” account to fully fund that account without any taxpayer money.
The second bill – HR 137 -- all but insures six-day mail service. A recent study by the USPS showed that ending 1 day of mail service would lead to close to 11 percent loss in mail volume, thus posing grave danger to the entire $1.3 trillion mailing industry, that offers 7.5 million private jobs.
Now, why are these bill not on the House floor getting passed, you ask?
Well, Rep. Darrell Issa is the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and he can decide what bills go to the floor. Issa has his own bill, HR 2309 — which does not even address the mandated prefunding problem. His bill completely dismantles the USPS, your mail service.
Oh, and did I mention yet that Rep. Adrian Smith is on board with Issa’s entire plan? In fact, they seem to be best buddies, according to a letter from Smith.
We must act now. Call Adrian Smith, tell him to vote NO on HR 2309. Tell him that any new postal reform must end the senseless prefunding mandate. Don’t let him also tell you that this is some kind of “bailout” -- nothing could be further from the truth.
The USPS has not used and taxpayer money for more than 30 years.
Call Adrian Smith: 308-384-3900, at his Grand Island office, 308-633-6335 at his Scottsbluff office and 202-225-6435 in Washington DC.
Call House Speaker John Boehner at 202-225-0600 in Washington D.C. or 513-779-5400 or 513-837-1524 in Ohio. Tell him to make Darrell Issa put the two bills, HR 1351 and HR 137 with the cosponsors to pass on the house floor for a vote — now.
In my opinion, this is nothing short of an attack on unions by the far right Republicans---with the USPS and the American people as hostages. If the USPS is dismantled the unions would basically fall apart. The USPS is the nation’s second largest employer, after Wal-Mart. In the day now of all the “Big Money Super PACS”, it's possible that big business, corporations and the extreme wealthy will control our government. We cannot allow this to happen.
Postal reform needs to happen now.
Ken Nickerson, US Navy Veteran and Branch 312 Steward, National Letter Carriers, Kearney