Target: United States Congress
Goal: Save USPS from eventual closure and privatization by repealing act that requires it to pay $5.5 billion per year in health benefits to future retirees
The United States Postal Service recently announced that, due to annual losses, letter service will be suspended on Saturdays starting this August. A five-day mail delivery schedule can alleviate approximately two billion dollars a year from USPS’s $15.9 billion dollar budget shortfall. “Our financial condition is urgent,” announced Patrick R. Donahoe, the postmaster general, at a news conference. “This is too big of a cost savings for us to ignore.”
One of the main reasons the post office is losing money is because of the 2006 Postal Accountably and Enhancement Act (PAEA). This law requires the post office to pay almost $5.5 billion a year for heath benefits to future retirees. No other government agency is required to do this, and it is not necessary; reserves for retiree health care are higher than the federal government as a whole, the military, and nearly all Fortune 1000 companies.
Eliminating mail on Saturdays will not compensate for the losses imposed by PAEA. The United States Postal Service delivers literally hundreds of billions of letters annually, and costs taxpayers nothing. If the United States Postal Service closed, then consumers would be forced to pay private companies like FedEx and UPS for mail service. This means that mailing costs might rise and a totally effective public industry that has been working for decades will be privatized. Additionally, losing USPS would mean putting its 8.5 million employees out of work, and losing the $1 trillion that it generates annually in sales and revenue. The United States Postal Service must be saved, both for the sake of industry and for the sake of the economy.
There are simple reforms, like those proposed in a bill last year by Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware), that can save USPS, like allowing the retiree health benefit fund to accrue interest without mandating annual deposits of $5.5 billion. The postal service can be saved. If action is not taken, then the $2 billion saved by discontinuing Saturday mail will not be enough to keep the USPS afloat. More services will need to be cut, more people laid off. Judicial reforms can and must be made. PAEA must be repealed in order to save the USPS from closure and privatization.
The United States Postal Service recently announced that, beginning in August, mail will not be delivered on Saturdays. This suspension of Saturday mail is an attempt to help fill the gaping holes in USPS expenditure. The United States Postal Service’s $15.9 billion budget shortfall is in part the result of the 2006 “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act” (PAEA). PAEA mandates that the postal service pay nearly $5.5 billion each year for health benefits to future retirees, when no other government agency is required to do this, nor does any other office in the federal government or military have such a high reserve for retiree health care.
The United States Postal Service costs taxpayers absolutely nothing, employs 8.5 million people annually, and generates $1 trillion in sales and revenue. It is a necessary part of our economy. Additionally, the United States Postal Service is a relatively low-cost public organization. If PAEA is not repealed, then the postal service will need to continue cutting services, closing branches, and firing employees; eventually, it will altogether be forced to shut down. This would mean privatization of mail services in the United States. Companies like FedEx and UPS could adopt the responsibilities of the USPS—presumably at an increased cost for consumers.
For the sake USPS, those it employs, and those to whom it delivers mail, PAEA must be repealed. Save United States mail services from closure and privatization.
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