A few weeks ago, BusinessWeek quite disingenuously declared that the U.S. Postal Service has no plans to privatize and that Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe a longtime postal employee himself, still believes very deeply in the mission of the USPS http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-03-25/the-u-dot-s-dot-postal-service-will-not-go-private-anytime-soon.
Maybe so, but some of Donahoe’s actions seem to belie these sentiments. In fact, it almost seems as if Donohoe is doing the bidding of some conservative members of Congress such as Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Operations and Government Reform Committee and his allies. They would like nothing more to disembowel the USPS and its employee unions and ultimately find a way to turn one of the country’s most beloved and trusted institutions into a crass money maker for an elite few which may not benefit the public at large because there’s no money in it
As an example of this privatization mindset that’s so prevalent in the federal government , one need look no farther than the U.S. military to witness widespread privatization of functions that were formerly government operations, according to Americanfreepress.net http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/military_privatized_152.html.
The jury is still out on how much military privatization has benefitted the country as a whole but that can be addressed elsewhere.
Indeed, wholesale privatization of the postal service might not be possible right away, given likely widespread public, union and even mailing industry opposition. But like anything else postal privatization may come in gradual and underhanded stages. The USPS‘s attempts to sell stamps and other postal products through Staples’ stores are perfect examples of this.
No wonder the American Postal Workers Union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association have banded together to fight this rather blatant attempt to undercut and devalue and ultimately privatize the USPS.
Since at least since 2011, the postal service has closed thousands of post offices and mail handling facilities around the country all in the name of increasing efficiency. The USPS has also gradually reduced its overall workforce over the years.
This strategy sounds strikingly similar to what large corporations often do when they’re putting themselves on the market to be sold or have just merged with others. Who’s to say the USPS does not have similar goals in mind?
Some might also argue that nobody would want to buy any organization as debt-ridden as the USPS. For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the USPS reported a loss of $354 million http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2014/pr14_006.htm.
A large part of this loss comes from the USPS’s obligation to pay the healthcare costs of future retirees to the tune of more than $5.8 billion a year. No other federal agency has any such obligation.
But if it ever came down to a possible selloff of the USPS, you could bet your bottom dollar that this debt—artificially created as part of the last postal reform law in 2006—could be negotiated away if not omitted entirely. Corporate merger and acquisition agreements are full of provisions like this.