House Measure Would Restore Old USPS Delivery Standards

The House Appropriations Committee has proposed an amendment to an appropriations bill that would force the U.S. Postal Service to return to its 2012 delivery standards, effectively nullifying all closures of its processing plants including the 82 it began earlier this year but stopped last month.

According to govexec.com http://www.govexec.com/oversight/2015/06/house-panel-backs-faster-mail-more-usps-facilities/115738/ this amendment, introduced by Rep. Fattah Chaka (D-PA), former head Democrat on postal issues, seeks to restore the delivery standards in place in 2012. This means that most first-class mail not leaving a city would have to be delivered overnight.

The Postal Service had downgraded its service by reducing the amount of mail it delivered overnight and shifted a large amount of mail from a two-day delivery standard to a three-to-five day range. Overall, the The postal service claimed those changes were necessary to enable it to consolidate facilities and rely less heavily on air delivery.

The USPS shuttered 141 processing facilities in 2012 and 2013, and had begun closing an additional 82 it originally planned for this year but reversed course, probably under pressure from the business community.

Fattah’s amendment is a great idea. But how can it survive in a House appropriations bill which will inevitably get watered down in the legislative process. Especially in a monolithically conservative Congress?

Not likely but at least somebody in Congress is thinking of the USPS, even if just symbolically.

The elephant in the room, as always, is who’s gonna pay for restoring postal delivery standards?

The USPS receives no taxpayer money and is supposed to support itself through selling products and services.
But in the 2006 postal reform law, the postal service was hit with a $5.8 billion annual financial obligation to pay the healthcare costs of retirees for 75 years.

Seventy-five years? Will the United States as we know it, let alone the planet earth still be here?

In May, the USPS reported a $1.5 billion loss for the quarter ended March 31and said it had less than a month’s worth of cash on hand to meet its expenses since it had already exceeded its borrowing limit http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2015/pr15_024.htm.

Maybe some of that annual $5.8 billion would be better spent on delivering the mail anyway, not on servicing as-yet questionable healthcare costs. No other federal agency has such a burden and Congress so far has not budged on this issue.

It doesn’t help matters when, the clowns at Forbes Magazine think the USPS should follow the privatization model undertaken by the U.K.’s Royal Mail which sold off shares to the public to raise money to cover deficits
http://www.forbes.com/sites/rogeraitken/2015/06/19/us-postal-service-40bn-ipo-royal-mail-sell-off-points-the-way-despite-hurdles/.

As usual the likes of Forbes and other corporate elites don’t have any vision beyond their own narrow greed. Do they even think about what effects postal privatization might have on ordinary people, notwithstanding the multi-billion dollar mailing industry which depends on a sound public postal service?

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