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Why You Should Be Outraged By What Is Being Done to Our Postal Service

Like so many other "crises" imposed on us lately, there is a lot to the Post Office pivatization story that you are not being told.

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Postal access is, ultimately, a rights issue for rural Americans; since they live in areas where internet coverage is inconsistent, post office closures and slowed-down delivery can mean big limitations on communication. A lack of access to postal services can lead to a growth in economic inequality. The new rules for Saturday delivery, set to take effect on August 1, 2013, will continue delivery of packages, but discontinue basic first-class mail.

From Sept 2011, Brigid OFarrell, writing at the Roosevelt Institute's Next New Deal blog,  Ten Reasons That the U.S. Postal Service is Not a Failure -- and is Vital to Our Country,

There is a crisis, but it is not because the Postal Service is inefficient and its workers overpaid. It is because the Postal Service: 1. Receives no taxpayer dollars 2. Is funded by the products and services it sells 3. Working with its unions, has already reduced its workforce by 110,000 employees, improved efficiency, and introduced new products and services 4. Handles more than 40 percent of the world's mail more efficiently and at lower cost than other services 5. Despite the growth of the digital world, continues to support a $1 trillion mailing industry with more than 8 million jobs 6. Has a workforce that is made up of 40 percent women, 40 percent minorities, and 22 percent veterans, many disabled

There is a crisis, but it is not because the Postal Service is inefficient and its workers overpaid. It is because the Postal Service:

7. Is the only federal agency or private company required to pre-fund retiree health benefits for 75 years
8. Is therefore required to pay $5.5 billion annually to the Treasury, an amount not required of any other agency or company

Without these unique requirements, it would have earned a surplus of over $600 million during the last four years. In addition, the USPS:

9. Has over-paid its obligations to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) by an estimated $50 billion (and this money should be returned)
10. Has overfunded the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) by approximately $6.9 billion (and would be profitable if these funds were returned)

David Morris at AlterNet takes a good look at the history of the Postal Service and the current problems, in Why We Must Rescue the U.S. Postal Service From the Brink of Death, and concludes,

The Postal Service can still be saved. But the grave has been dug. The coffin has been built. And funeral music is in the air. Only the most aggressive effort by AARP, the NAACP, Consumers Union and other affected constituencies can save this most public of all public institutions.



Dave Johnson is a fellow at Campaign for America's Future.
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