Manufactured Crisis About to Cripple the Post Office

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

First-class mail service is headed for a significant slowdown beginning next spring, unless Congress acts to help the struggling U.S. Postal Service.

 
In order to save $2.1 billion annually and stave off possible bankruptcy, USPS is planning next May to end almost all overnight delivery of first-class letters and postcards. Such mail would instead take at least two to three business days for arrival.
 
The cutbacks will not impact Express Mail or Priority Mail services, according to the agency.
 
The first-class mail change would come about because the Postal Service is preparing to shutter about half of all its mail processing plants in the U.S. More than 250 facilities would close and about 28,000 workers laid off under a plan adopted in September.
 
Postal officials say they must take drastic steps and cut the budget by $20 billion so that the agency becomes profitable by 2015.
 
But critics of the plan say another option exists.
 
Back in 2006, the Republican-led Congress adopted legislation (the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act) which forced the USPS—which does not receive any money from the federal budget—to prefund its future health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years. In other words, the Postal Service was ordered to pay for the benefits of workers it hasn’t even hired yet and do it an accelerated time frame.
 
If this mandate was changed, the USPS would today be running in the black, says consumer advocate Ralph Nader.
 
Representative Stephen Lynch (D-MA) has introduced bipartisan legislation that would allow the agency to spend more of its own money to pay down its deficits, while still paying nearly $7 billion towards pensions and other costs.
–Noel Brinkerhoff
 
Postal Service Cuts Will Slow First-Class Mail (by Steven Greenhouse, New York Times)
U.S. Postal Service Proposes Cuts that Would Slow Mail Delivery (by Melanie Mason and Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times)

USPS Plan Will Hasten Demise of a Still-Vital Institution (Postal Reporter News Blog)

Comments

Bobby 5 years ago
the postal service not only does this prefunding but it has overpayed billions of dollars into the fers retirement system and the csrs retirement system. if the usps had people in-charge who realy new how to run a business then these overpayments would not have happened and the usps may have made a profit. no one has done anything to address this and i believe the reason this is not being addressed is because the ones in power want to sale off the usps. the post master knows that if you drop your service standards you will drive away more customers and this will speed up the killing of the postal service. there should be a complete audit of the postal service with the findings publizied so that everyone can see where all the money goes.
Mitch LeMay 5 years ago
how come the usps (unlike other government agencies) has to pay for pension funds so far into the future - especially when the private sector pays for none? the postal accountability and enhancement act (what an absurd facade and nonsense title!) was/is a clear and hostile effort to bankrupt the people's mail delivery system so it can be privatized and turned over to yet another blood-sucking for-profit corporation for public use, misuse and abuse. corporate lackeys and millionaire legislators don't use or need the post office - they get special delivery, inside trader information and bags of money by fedex and ups and direct deposit. the only thing they love more than endless war is endless money. there is no 'financial crisis' - only a moral one without end.

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