One of the issues not getting a lot of play, even though it affects the lives of each and every one of us is the ridiculous debate about the U.S. Post Office. This is a debate that never should have taken place at all, but because of legislation enacted by the lame duck Republican Congress in 2006, the Post Office has been hemorrhaging money. That legislation requires the Post Office to pre-fund 100% of the future obligation for retirement benefits for current employees and to do it in ten years. No other employer, private or public, is mandated to do pre-funding of that nature. Normal actuarial tables would have the funding done over a 75 year time frame. But the USPS? Ten years. The reason, it seems to me, is clear. Republicans want to privatize the Post Office, just like they want to privatize health care, social security and anything else they can think of where they can squeeze an extra buck out of the American public and give them less for their money. Can you spell GREED?
The United States Post Office is not funded by taxpayer money. All of their money comes from the sale of postage. They are efficient and they are everywhere. Did you known that when UPS and FedEx don’t have routes for packages that have been sent via their services, they hand them off to the Post Office to complete the trip? There are a lot of people in rural America who get those UPS and FedEx deliveries from their local postal employee.
The Post Office is open six days a week. If you want a Saturday delivery from UPS, you pay extra. FedEx does offer Saturday deliveries to homes. But both are a lot more expensive than the post office. A good example is something I encountered over the holidays. I was mailing a book to a reviewer and the post office had a long line because it was the week before Christmas. Because I didn’t have the time to wait in line, I instead went to the UPS Store and mailed my package from there. It cost $12 and took over a week to reach the destination. That same package mailed in a first class If It Fits Post Office envelope would have cost $4.95 and would have been delivered in three days.
So, even if you’re a selfish sort and don’t care about the thousands upon thousands of jobs that will be lost if the Republicans in Congress have their way, even if you don’t care that it will serve to put the economy in more of a slump, just think of what it means to you on terms of being able to mail a package for less than half the cost of UPS or FedEx and have it delivered more than twice as fast. Or, if you’re into getting every last cent you can, think about putting that tax check in the mail at midnight on tax day and earn a few day’s interest on your money instead of forking it over right away in an electronic transfer.
Let your representatives know that you want them to refund the overpayments the Post Office has made (that’s $11 Billion) and tell them that raising the price of a postage stamp to 50 cents isn’t going to drive you to go to UPS and FedEx, where the delivery of your letter or bill would most certainly cost you a LOT more and to get off the backs of the Post Office and the men and women who work there and serve the public so well.