Will anyone hold Republicans responsible for what they've done to the post office, and will anyone save it?
Contrary to popular belief, the US postal service is the cheapest and most efficient deliverer of mail on the planet. This British study determined that the USPS is the most efficient out of the 20 largest economies on the planet. An excerpt:
The U.S. Postal Service scored the highest for efficiency, even as it delivers far more letters per employee—268,894 in 2010—than other services in the G20. Japan Post, which came in second, delivers 103,149 letters per employee, and Australia Post, which placed third, delivers 166,776.
Unfortunately, as I’m sure you know, the USPS is faced with drastic financial woes at the moment. But the reason may surprise you.
Seeing declining revenues over a long stretch of years (but still profits mind you), the Federal government (under Bush and a Republican controlled congress) decided they were worried that the Post Office wouldn’t be able to handle it’s future finances and retiree pension obligations. They passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which among other things mandated that the USPS prefund it’s retirement programs 75 years in advance (for comparison, the next highest prefunding by any agency government or private, is around 30 years). In other words someone born today, who won’t work at the post office until they’re an adult already has their retirement paid for. The effective cost to the post office is around $5.5 billion dollars per year. And wouldn’t you know it, as of today the post office is expected to default on a $5 billion payment into it’s pension plan.
Going further than that, Bush and company refused to allow the Post Office to end Saturday mail deliveries (which would be a big money saver for the USPS). Admittedly Democrats under Obama didn’t act on this issue. But now Democrats in congress are pushing allowing the USPS to at least end Saturday delivery, but Republicans in the house have refused to address the issue.
As an extra slap in the face, Republicans actively campaign against the USPS. They frequently call it inefficient, and accuse it of wasting money. Many on the right have even openly called for letting the USPS simply end, and using purely private companies for mail delivery. Apparently those people are ignorant of the fact that private companies are not required to deliver everywhere, and they charge nearly 4x the amount to ship basic letters.
The balls it must take to stab someone, and then blame them for bleeding, is simply astounding to me.
The Founding Fathers themselves mandated the USPS, it was even Benjamin Franklin’s pet project (he was the first postmaster general). I wonder what they would think of all this?
Do you think the Republicans will ever take responsibility for the fact that they took an otherwise successful (albeit downsizing with the times) government agency – which is run without any tax payer dollars by the way, not even a loan in over 40 years – and mandating ridiculous rules that are driving it into the ground? Do you think Obama and the Democrats (or even Republicans) will tackle this issue after the election, and save our post office?