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 firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.