By Larry Riggs
Congress seems poised right now to let essential government services to be decimated by the so-called sequester cuts. If Congress allowed to get away with this– which it seems inevitable–why should we believe Congress will keep the U.S. Postal Service intact?
The sequester refers to automatic federal government spending cuts slated to kick in March 1 if President Obama and Congress can reach no new agreements to fund the government.
In February, the USPS said it would stop delivering mail on Saturday to save money http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2013/pr13_019.htm. The postal service apparently believed it had the legal authority to do so without Congressional approval. With Congress in its current state of dysfunction and indecisiveness who’s to say it would suddenly change its colors and reassert its authority?
Or would Congress just go along with the USPS’s assertions and just let the USPS do as it wants here?
Financial conditions at the postal service continue to deteriorate, Fresh from a nearly $16 billion loss for the year ended Sept. 30, the USPS reported a loss of $1.3 billion for the quarter ended Dec. 31http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2013/pr13_021.htm.
The dire financial problems of the USPS aren’t even on the table in the sequester mess.
Apparently, Republicans in Congress, miffed that they lost the Presidential election and did not take over the Senate, want to destroy programs necessary to the well-being of the nation to advance their hurtful ideological agenda to shrink government.
They often argue that government is too big and can’t do anything except run up deficits. They also often say not so subtly that government functions should be outsourced and privatized.
Privatization of government services is certainly nothing new.
Just look at what’s already happened over the past few years. In the military, for example, jobs previously handled by service men and women have been outsourced to private companies http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/military_privatized_152.html.
Or take a look at the growth of private prisons on both the state and federal levels, such as with immigration detention http://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org/aboutdetention\.
Not to get too far off the track here, but there are definitely actors in and out of government that want to mortally weaken if not destroy the USPS with an eye toward privatizing it.
This movement may have started as long ago the postal reform law of 2006 when some members of Congress were able to slip in a provision calling for the USPS to pay more than $5.8 billion a year to cover healthcare costs of future retirees for 75 years into the future.
This alone has nearly bled the postal service dry.