Unburden the post office

The U.S. Postal Service announced last month that it is planning to discontinue first class Saturday mail delivery in August, resulting in a savings of $2 billion a year when fully implemented.
Mar 14, 2013

 

Last week, the Postal Service backed off its original timeline and said it plans to extend Saturday delivery through the end of the current calendar year, but what happens after that is anyone’s guess.

Regardless, it’s clear that the U.S. Postal Service is in dire straights financially, and we feel that trimming valuable services — such as Saturday delivery — is not the answer.

In November 2012, the Postal Service reported a record loss of $15.9 billion for the last budget year and forecasts more red ink in 2013.

While many are quick to point at online mail for being the demise of the postal system, it’s Congress that is inflicting the greatest pain.

Under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, Congress has forced the Postal Service to pre-fund 75 years worth of pensions for its employees. The reality of that means that the Postal Service is footing the bill for employees it hasn’t even hired yet. That sum makes up $11.1 billion of the Postal Service's losses.

No one argues the fact that the Postal Service cannot continue to operate as it is today. But like any smart business, good decisions must be made, and eliminating essential services is not the recommended path to prosperity.

The congressional action required to fix the problem of its own making is obvious —  pass legislation to discontinue the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. No other private or public institution is required to pre-fund 75 years’ worth of pensions, and neither should the post office.

Exploring savings in labor costs and benefits with the Postal Service's workers and unions is also needed and should be done before negatively impacting the public — the real customers, in case anyone needs reminding.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

Comments

coloradohere

we can get along without saturday deliveries and postal employees can get along with pay, benefits and pensions that arent's so far out of line with such rates in most of our communities...it's outrageous that the post office is being subsidized by the taxpayers because it can't operate in the black...considering what our inefficient congress members are paid though i guess we can't criticize postal employee pay and benefits...but we can expect a postal service which can operate efficiently at a profit - like other delivery services are able to do because they can't fall back on $$ from overheated printing presses.

Lanivan

The USPS is entirely self-funded and has not received any direct taxpayer money for general services since the early 1980's. With the current major reduction in employees, it is now the 3rd-largest employer in the US, behind the Federal Government and Wal-Mart.

As coloradohere suggests, USPS wages are significantly less than most Federal employees, including members of Congress. For instance, the average USPS worker wage (not including benefits) is $21,000-$36,000, with Associate Engineers earning $88,000; compare this to the average non-officer congressional wage of $174,000 (not including benefits or expenses).

Operating as a self-funded institution without taxpayer money, the USPS is required to report to Congress, get congressional approval for price increases or any other changes to their business plan, and since the 2006 Republican legislation, is required to make the payment of 75 years of pension funding beginning in 2006 and ending in 2016, an unprecedented requirement in either the public or private arena. And do not forget this requirement is from a Congress that has gotten an average approval rating no higher than of 10%-14%, and yet they will not act to lighten the yoke they have placed on the USPS.

If anyone is able to find a delivery service that charges 50 cents to deliver a letter in a few days across the country, let us know. Good Luck!

Wingmaster

Send an email...oh and its more environmentaly friendly ; -)

 

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.