Last month’s annual USPS financial report reinforces the point that the postal networks are thriving—profitable this year by $1.4 billion after what USPS called its best quarterly and annual performance in many years—and that dismantling the networks is precisely the wrong thing to do.
The USPS report shows that letter revenue rose as the economy improves, while package revenue skyrocketed by 9.1 percent, the biggest increase on record. That reflects growing online shopping, which makes the Internet a net positive for USPS—auguring well for the future.
Proposals that involve slowing the mail by closing processing plants, and degrading service by ending Saturday and door-to-door delivery or reducing post office hours, are nonsensical. Dismantling postal networks that have returned to profitability and that provide Americans and their businesses with the world’s most efficient and affordable delivery service would hurt the public.
By driving away mail and revenue, a shrink-to-survive approach also would destroy an agency that is based in the Constitution and has an 80 percent positive rating from the public with the distinction as the most trusted Federal Agency.
Lawmakers should strengthen the networks while addressing the onerous pre-funding of future retiree health benefits imposed by a lame-duck Congress in 2006. This burden, required of no other entity, is essentially the red ink, and addressing it would strengthen the Postal Service moving forward.
No other federal agency is burdened with this Congressional mandate. The time is now to eliminate the pre-funding of retiree healthcare, which currently has $50 billion stored away, enough to cover premiums for decades to come and switch to a pay-as-you-go method of funding. Then, the Postal Service can continue to provide Americans and their businesses with the world’s most affordable delivery service without using a dime of taxpayer money.
Congress broke it and Congress can fix it. The time is now!