Friday, November 4, 2011

My Postman is a Jerk

You know what, I don't like my postman (post-person, whatever). My house has a mail slot. Below that slot is a note that says, "Put oversized items in the door; don't put them in the slot.," because I had an item damaged. The asswad still keeps doing it.

However, the US Postal Service reaches many areas that UPS and Fedex don't, delivers some of the mail of those companies, and has competitive rates overall. Some are saying the USPS is in danger of going away, and the reason is a ridiculous bill from 2006.

Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA) has been forcing the USPS to prepay benefits for employees it hasn't even hired yet. By June 2011, the USPS had a $19.5 billion deficit and had made $20.95 billion in prepayments to the fund for future retiree health care benefits. This means that if not for the PAEA, the USPS would actually have a surplus of $1.5 billion right now, be in no trouble, and not be talking of stopping Saturday service in order to prevent closing down completely.

The math speaks for itself. It's crisis that was created by Congress in early 2006. I'm not going to endorse talk that it was done to cause the Post Office to fail in order to privatize it, but I'll say others have said it.

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) introduced bipartisan legislation (with 193 co-sponsors)
to fix this. by allowing the USPS to use pension overpayments to pay down its debt.

Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-CA) idea of a fix is to fire lots of postal workers and eliminate their union's collective bargaining power.

To sum it up, the "Post Office Crisis" is a manufactured crisis. The reality is that the problem is solvable without closing down post offices, layoffs, or canceling Saturday service.