So, it seems every newspaper and broadcast “news” reader is reporting that the U.S. Postal Service will be shutting down Saturday delivery because, try as they might, the Postal Service cannot cover its costs. …and, except for the Progressive media, that is how the story ends.
Why can’t the USPS cover costs? Could it be the Bush-era “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act” of 2006 which requires the Postal Service to pre-fund pensions out to 75 years in the future without being allowed to raise rates to cover it? This act, which costs the Postal Service almost $6 Billion per year, covers postal workers who have not yet been born. Saturday Delivery will save the USPS $2 Billion per year while it is burdened with a $6 Billion per year expense. Ending Saturday delivery will not get the USPS out of debt.
Can you imagine any company having to do this and surviving? Why has the USPS been burdened with this? Could it be to kill the USPS?
The writing of the bill (HR 6407) was done by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and was funded by the Koch Brothers, UPS, Federal Express, and a host of right-wing groups like the Cato Institute. That raises the question, “What kind of funding does a bill require other than paper and toner?” The answer is actually pretty simple. UPS, FedEx, and the other usual suspects made large donations to congressmen/women. According to OpenSecrets.org, the typical donation was around $75,000. The bill passed via a voice vote under Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) who eventually left congress and joined his son to become a lobbyist.
It’s obvious why UPS and FedEx would want to kill the USPS, but the Koch Brothers and the other ALEC members stand to gain by the privatization (profitization) of all mail and package delivery and the destruction of the American Postal Workers Union and the National Association of Letter Carriers.
What, as Progressives can we do to stop this? We can start by writing our representatives and encourage them to repeal HR 6407. We can also write letters to the editors of our local newspapers, broadcasters, and the news departments of the national networks and ask them to tell the whole story about the attack on the USPS.
Mike Thaller, Vice Chair – South
The Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party