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Don't let business lobbyists kill the Post Office

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That headline isn't mine, it's Taibbi's, and it's nicely direct. In addition, this post has an Action Opportunity, something you can actually do.

As you may already know, the USPS is going broke, thanks to Bush II and a 2006 law that forces it to fund its pension obligations completely for the next 75 years — and complete that funding in 10 years.

As you'll read below, because money earns money, no one (literally, no one) funds pension funds more than 30%.

Now Taibbi (all emphasis mine):

In 2006, in what looks like an attempt to bust the Postal Workers' Union, George Bush signed into law the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. This law required the Postal Service to pre-fund 100 percent of its entire future obligations for 75 years of health benefits to its employees – and not only do it, but do it within ten years. No other organization, public or private, has to pre-fund 100 percent of its future health benefits.

"No one prefunds at more than 30 percent," Anthony Vegliante, the U.S. Postal Service's executive vice president, told reporters last year.

The new law forced the postal service to come up with about $5.5 billion a year for the ten years following the bill's passage. In 2006, before those payments kicked in, the USPS generated a small profit. Not surprisingly, the USPS is now basically broke.
And the reason is obvious — unions, plus privatization:
The transparent purpose of this law, which was pushed heavily by industry lobbyists, was to break a public sector union and privatize the mail industry. Before the 2006 act, the postal service did one thing, did it well, and, minus the need to generate profits and bonuses for executives, did it cheaply. It paid for itself and was not a burden to taxpayers. ... This is a classic example of private-sector lobbyists using the government to protect its profits and keep prices inflated.
Taibbi's piece explains all the non-postal benefits of having post offices in a great many places not served by profit-hungry businesses.

Action Opportunity — Senator Bernie Sanders has a bill to delay the worst outcomes, such as Saturday closings.
Sen. Sanders is pushing a bill that would delay the end of Saturday delivery for two years, and prevent a number of post-office closings, but the writing is on the wall, unless there's a public outcry.
We have more about that bill here.

You can let your senators know that you strongly support that bill. Here's a nice list. And thanks!

(Update: Deleted an errant link.)


(To follow on Twitter or to send links: @Gaius_Publius)

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