Thursday, April 26, 2012

United States Postal Service Worth Saving

The other day I mailed  a birthday card for my father at the Copley, Ohio post office. 

As I was talking to the staff at the station, I asked how they were holding up during this current period of  United States Postal Service uncertainties.  

Benjamin Franklin Presided Over the Postal Service Before the Colonies Were United
Again, as with anyone of us, they were worried about their jobs and feel very much in a limbo as they wait and wonder if they will still have a job.   As one of the employees noted, “Being an election year, the Congress may help save the agency.”

In case you have been living under a rock or have never mailed a letter, there is a real danger that US Postal Services will declare bankruptcy and the agency’s services will be cut back severely if Congress does not help make the agency become competitive.

There are many reasons why the US Postal Service is struggling---let’s face it a large part of the problem is that the agency has to go to the very partisan Congress for permission on how the agency needs to be operated.  

But there are other more specific reasons---the first begins—no surprise with a Congressional mandate.

Back in 2006 the then Republican controlled Congress passed a law that required the Postal Service to pre-fund its Health Insurance and Pensions funds 75 years in advance and, it had to pay it in 10 years!   

Besides collecting funds which likely were used to reduce the national debt, this most definite political stunt hurt the agency and was a requirement no private sector company would have had to do.

This pre-funding of a Health Insurance Pension fund and day to day personnel costs have  accounted for about 77 percent of USPS operating expenses in 2011.   Source:  Reuters Factbox: Why the Postal Service is Going Bankrupt.

For most private employers, worker costs represent a much lower percentage of total costs and rumor has it that some conservatives want the agency to fail because it is the largest unionized employer in the country.

The only postal revenue comes from stamps and postage.  With increased internet use and banking on line, sources of postal revenue dropped.   The economic downturn also led businesses to purchase less postage to mail out advertisements. 

There have been discussions about adding additional services to compete with the private delivery agencies----however again---any changes would have to be approved by Congress.

So today as I was flipping through CNN I read that the Plan to Fix the Postal Services Passes the Senate. Though a remedy has bi-partisan Senate approval,  the plan might not pass the House of Representatives. 

Whether you are a Progressive, Conservative,  or Independent, maintaining a  United States Postal Service  is good for all sectors of the economy.  The postal service as an institution which provided national services that  allowed the United States to grow.  With some streamlining and reduced Congressional oversight,  the United States Postal service should continue to  grow and change to meet  new national needs.   

Samuel Osgood (First United States Postmaster General Appointed by President Washington) and His Wife Maria

Rather than regurgitate what I have read, the United States Postal Services has provided a fact filled page as to the significance of its services today as well as in the past.  Please read:
 United States Postal Service Facts

No comments:

Post a Comment