Thursday, July 3, 2014
A Simple Solution to the USPS Deficit
Matt Chittum's good piece of reporting in The Roanoke Times this a.m. (here) tells us that not only is the USPS planning to close the 400-employee Roanoke mail center--the main post office--but that it will move its operations to Greensboro, where Lynchburg's were moved a year ago. All this is to save money, which the USPS would not need to save if Congress would simply remove the requirement for the Postal Service to provide pay retirement health care benefits 75 years into the future. No other government agency does that and I'm not aware of any business anywhere that does it. Sounds like a law imposed to kill the USPS.
The Postal Service has lost $26 billion in the last three years, even as service has diminished dramatically in some cases. Recently, it took a check two weeks to reach me from Salem. How much time will be required for that same check if it has to go to Greensboro to be processed before it comes to Roanoke. Do you suppose businesses might look for alternatives to that kind of "around your ass to get to your elbow" routing? Hint: yes.
Matt quoted the Postal Workers Union president as saying, pretty succinctly I'd say, "We’re giving less service and charging more money and looking like a bunch of idiots right now."
Frankly, if you think the postal workers are idiots, you're dead wrong. It's Congress that has most of the idiots who won't change a simple unworkable law to the benefit of all because of the politics of abortion and taxes, neither of which has a damn thing to do with the Postal Service. Pre-payment of the retirement money costs the USPS $5.2 billion a year and Matt's story says that last year, the serice would have had a $311 million profit without that requirement. All seems pretty simple to me.
You might want to scream at 6th District Congressman Bob Goodlatte about this. His colleague, Morgan Griffith of the 9th, with whom I disagree on 99.99996 percent of issues, is in favor of solving the pre-payment issue and is correct here. Maybe he could influence Goodlatte, who could influence some others in his leadership role. But you're talking to rocks when you approach either of them in my experience.
(Photo: Getty Images/money.cnn.com)