By Larry Riggs
Can Congress deal with the financial messes it created for the U.S. Postal Service and the country as a whole?
Every September for the past several years the USPS has been forced to pay at least $5.8 billion a year to the U.S. Treasury Dept. to cover healthcare costs for retired employees, a burden no other government agency has to shoulder.
An obligation like this would put the most well-run and profitable corporations out of business.
Earlier this year, the postal service defaulted on not only one but two such obligations. That led to a loss of $15.9 billion for the year ended Sept. 30, compared to a net loss of $5.1 billion for the prior yearhttp://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2012/pr12_131.htm
But this annual bill was part of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 which reformed the USPS in many ways but has contributed strongly to its financial downfall.
Many postal officials and mailing industry watchers hope Congress will take up new postal reform legislation in the lame duck session before the holidays. And there’s some movement afoot in this area.
But how the hell is Congress gonna deal with postal issues now when it must deal with the so-called fiscal cliff in which taxes are automatically raised and federal spending gets drastically cut in January?
Some say that going off the fiscal cliff will dramatically affect the entire economy, prolong the recession and change fundamental aspects of all of our lives, along with other shrill fear-mongering pronouncements.
Or maybe nothing at all will take place and business will go on as usual.
Whatever happens, let’s remember the postal service has kept this country glued together even before it was a country and is likely to keep that role.