It is sad to contemplate the possible demise of our reliable “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” U.S. Postal Service, but that may fall victim to the onslaught of the privatization pirates.
The groundwork for the financial distress that the postal service is going through is caused by congressional mandates that were imposed upon the postal service. The Republican-led Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush Dec. 20, 2006.
Under the guise of modernizing the postal service for the 21st century, it actually doomed the it. If not for the PAEA, the postal service would be functioning fine even with the impact of e-mail and the financial collapse of 2008. PAEA is an unprecedented piece of legislation that requires the USPS to pre-fund its pension benefits for 75 years through the $5.5 billion annual payment, which no other government agency or private company is forced to do.
The postal service does not receive taxpayer dollars for operational costs, but is nonetheless under congressional control. The USPS is legally obligated to deliver mail to every house in the country, including in remote areas where UPS and FedEx will not venture. Were the USPS to collapse, it would hit poor Americans the hardest. And while other private delivery companies have continued to grow and diversify, Congress has stymied the postal service from directly competing.
The solution is simple: Repeal the pre-funding mandate of PAEA, implement common sense postal service reforms and stop undermining the USPS with needless and unfair legislation.