To its credit the Government Accountability Office has rejected the U.S. Postal Service’s plan to cut Saturday first class mail delivery but still misunderstands the USPS’s fiscal crisis.
Reminder: Congress manufactured this crisis in its last postal reform law in 2006 when it mandated that the USPS prepay a punishing $5.8 billion a year to cover the healthcare costs of future employees. Not that there hasn’t been a steady decline in mail volume and postal revenue but this obligation has hung around the USPS’s neck like a millstone.
In a legal opinion earlier this year, the agency, the investigative arm of Congress, confirmed that the USPS indeed lacks the legal authority to cut delivery to five days http://www.gao.gov/products/B-324481.
Okay fine. But a few weeks before the GAO declared that the USPS should pay this $5.8 billion as best as it possibly could, even though the postal service has consistently run multibillion dollar deficits for the past few years.
Even in the quarter ended Dec. 31the USPS reported a loss of $1.3 billion.http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2013/pr13_021.htm
And that was only for three months.
Does the GAO have any ideas for keeping the USPS afloat?
Not to beat up too much on the GAO but the postal service isn’t doing itself any favors when it says it’s gonna accelerate the closure of even more facilities than it originally planned, according to the Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2013/03/29/postal-service-to-close-more-than-50-mail-processing-centers/
In fact these moves might be playing into the hands of those who want to weaken the USPS and possibly make it more attractive to potential investors eventually.
That may still seem a little far-fetched but one is hearing more and more of this kind of talk lately.
No question the USPS does have some excess capacity and a somewhat bloated workforce and could possibly withstand some downsizing.
But has the USPS tried to negotiate behind the scenes with any members of Congress to exchange closing facilities in hopes of getting a better deal for new favorable reform legislation?
Or are these USPS’s moves here another example of idiocy?
Just a thought.