Now that the federal government has reopened after a meaningless three-day shutdown, what, if anything, is likely to happen with postal reform this year?
From this, we can see that President Donald Trump was much more interested in creating a crisis to keep the attention on him rather than trying to understand or take on any real national problems.
Going forward, we shouldn’t expect any leadership—or comprehension from him on this issue. In late December, Trump exposed his ignorance when he called the U.S. Postal Service “dumb” for not charging online retailing giant Amazon.com higher rates for shipping at a time when the USPS has massive financial problems, according to USA Today https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/12/29/trump-says-u-s-postal-service-should-charge-amazon-much-more-shipping/989942001/.
He’s got a lot to learn about this process.
Five years ago, the postal service formed a joint venture with Amazon.com to deliver packages on Sunday, something neither Fedex nor United Parcel Service does. While nobody expected this arrangement to solve the postal service’s financial woes the deal did show some half-hearted token cognizance of its financial condition.
As anyone who follows the USPS knows the agency’s artificially created deficits date back to the 2007 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. This law, which reformed part of the postal service, included a provision which mandated that the postal service pay more than $5.8 billion a year to the U.S. Treasury to cover the healthcare costs of future retirees for 75 years. No other federal agency has any such burden and this has led to massive deficits. For the year ended Sept. 30, the USPS reported a net loss of $2.7 billion http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2017/pr17_069.htm.
Trump, or at least his staffers, should know the USPS rates cannot be changed without going through an exhaustive and lengthy legal process that involves definitive approvals from the Postal Regulatory Commission and the USPS Board of Governors, as required in that same law.
Not that Trump ever listens to his staffers, or anyone else for that matter.
Even if the postal service could charge Amazon higher rates, this would not make the slightest dent in its bottom line. But saying so looks and sounds good on television, panders to his less informed supporters, and betrays ignorance and contempt for the rule of law.
Speaking of deficits, Congress, must, or should, figure out how to pay for the more than $1 trillion tax cut it just enacted and address a host of other high profile issues facing the country now and in years to come. But we’ll leave this discussion to others since it encompasses a hell of a lot more than the U.S. Postal Service.
Despite what our President might say or believe, the USPS remains vital to the economic and spiritual health of this country as it always has even before the nation was founded. In fact the nation could not have established and maintain itself without having a post office to keep it glued together, according to the American Prospect http://prospect.org/article/president-trump-wrong-postal-service-american-treasure and just about every member of the public, to say nothing about the more than $9 billion-a-year mailing industry.
Everybody knows this.
Potential Congressional action on postal reform certainly won’t be helped by the resignation last year of Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) who last year had authored postal reform bill H.R, 756, which some observers now refer to as an orphan bill since it lost its principal sponsor.
Despite this lack of respect in the high reaches of government, 74% of Americans still rate the USPS as their favorite government agency, according to a Gallup Poll last November http://news.gallup.com/poll/179519/americans-rate-postal-service-highest-major-agencies.aspx.
That’s probably a hell of a lot higher than how Americans rate Congress.