By Steve Parkhurst, Senior Editor, US Daily Review.
This will be the second time is as many weeks that I’ve done this, but this little op-ed in the Saturday San Antonio Express-News really got to me. Let me start by saying that I understand that a postal service is actually something that the Constitution grants the government the authority to run. But that doesn’t mean we should keep getting stuck with the bill for a bloated, out of control bureaucracy.
So here is what Richard Gould wrote on Saturday (original article in italics, my editor’s notes are beneath and not italicized):
The United States Postal Service claims it must eliminate 220,000 positions, more than 30 percent of its workforce, by 2015. Only 100,000 of those positions can be made through attrition; the other 120,000 through layoffs.
The USPS is seeking congressional approval to remove collective bargaining rights, end six-day delivery and replace existing government health care and retirement plans.
Hmmm, even the USPS doesn’t want the ObamaCare law, very telling. I’m sure the USPS has the typical government pension plans, so replacing those should be at the top of the list to reform the USPS.
Last year the USPS reported a net loss of $8.5 billion, and last quarter posted a $3.1 billion loss. Those losses are significant, but there are ways for the USPS to remain solvent and end the cycle of losing money without resorting to this radical overreaction.
These are devastating numbers, and the author decides to ignore them with a “but”.
It is taking longer for you to receive your mail each day. With staffing shortages, that is the case in many parts of the country. Does anyone think that service will improve with 30 percent fewer employees?
I don’t know about this for of argument. But I will say, I often go to the mail box to maybe no mail at all, or maybe one piece of mail, typically junk mail. If I have to give up one day of service, no big deal, I just figure the five days the mail does get delivered, there will be more in the mail box. Let me also put it this way, if this argument about fewer days is coming from the postal employees union, and not from the actual customer, do away with the sixth day, yesterday.
What if you are expecting medication or an important piece of mail? With no Saturday delivery you would not receive it until Monday, or even Tuesday, if there was a Monday holiday. Many businesses also rely on Saturday delivery.
If USPS can’t do the job, there is always FedEx or UPS. Both of these businesses are privatized, and they both turn stunning profits each year.
Congress is considering two House resolutions regarding the future of the USPS:
H.R. 137 supports the continuation of six-day delivery. The chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, Ruth Goldway, stated that six-day delivery is essential to the future of the USPS.
I wonder if Ms. Goldway is essential to the USPS.
H.R. 1351 is designed to correct the years of overpayment the agency has made to fund its retirement health benefit plans. The USPS has overpaid its future retirement health benefits by nearly $75 billion, and another $5.5 billion payment is due in September. The USPS is the only agency in the country required to pre-fund these accounts.
Wow. What? A government agency has overpaid $75 Billion? If you have read my previous pieces about government red tape and over-regulation, which is a huge waste of money for business owners, especially small business owners, then you know what I think about waste and fraud within government funding systems. When is somebody going to stop this cycle? $75 billion, soon to be $80.5 billion. But in government, you can’t point this out and get it stopped. It has got to be reviewed to make sure no one gets hurt feelings, it has to be sent to a committee or six to review and listen to suggestions. This thing could get in to the trillions before anyone really takes it seriously. And think about trying to pay back (or catch up to) $75 billion, 44 cents at a time, no wonder postage prices are continually rising in recent years.
The plans the USPS wants to implement (workforce reductions, dismantle collective bargaining rights and replace existing government health care and retirement plans) are unrealistic and ill-conceived.
When I read this writers entire article and then see the words “unrealistic” and “ill-conceived”, I know the plan is realisitc and well conceived.
Congress must correct the $75 billion retirement overpayment and maintain six-day delivery in order for the USPS to remain truly viable for years to come. Voice your concern to Congress in support of H.R. 137 and H.R. 1351 and remember, this is your Postal Service.
I would love to know how many people actually call and complain about this, or how many like me, will call and tell them to pass these bills immediately.
Richard Gould of San Antonio has been a letter carrier and a member of the National Association of Letter Carriers for more than 20 years.
Steve Parkhurst is a political consultant, a writer at his blog as well as a Senior Editor here at US Daily Review, where he maintains the Across The Pond feature. Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveParkhurst