Forum: Congress to blame for USPS woes
February 20, 2013 10:14PM
Updated: March 22, 2013 10:33AM
The SouthtownStar’s Feb. 8 editorial suggesting that Saturday mail delivery be eliminated was off target. I speak as a 37-year employee of the U.S. Postal Service. I am an officer in a local branch of the National Association of Letter Carriers as well as a steward for the past 27 years. I am proud of the job I do and know I work for the best postal service in the world.
The common right-wing narrative is that the USPS is a typically inefficient government agency that cannot compete with private industry. USPS is regularly rated the best in the world for price and efficiency, beating out both privatized and semi-privatized mail service. USPS also is the second-largest employer in the country.
In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which requires the Postal Service, for 10 years beginning in 2007, to pre-fund retiree health care benefits for the next 75 years. The cost for this mandate has averaged $5.5 billion a year. This mandate is unique to USPS; no other government agency or private business has this requirement.
Before 2007, USPS turned a profit. Beginning in 2007, the pre-fund mandate turned that profit into a deficit. Nearly 85 percent of the total deficit from 2007 to the present is due solely to that mandate. Absent it, USPS would have had a $611 million profit from 2007 to 2010. It could have used that profit to help offset the losses in 2011 and 2012.
Over the past few years, hundreds of joint teams involving Postal Service officials and union members have adjusted and eliminated routes all over the country to improve efficiency and account for declining mail volume.
The bottom line is that USPS has been placed in its poor financial situation because of an act of Congress, which should remove the pre-fund requirement rather than reduce mail service to the American people.
More than gun control needed
Undoubtedly, there is a great need for gun control, but that is not the only thing needed.
We need to change the violent mentality that has invaded our society.
Children are born innocent. Circumstances and exposure to violence as they grow mold their personality. Who they pal around with can affect their actions. Their minds should be fed with positive, not negative, things.
Education provides the tools for becoming a self-sufficient adult. Realistic priorities should be set. Children need to be taught right from wrong, respect for life, responsibility for their actions and consequences for doing wrong. Self-respect and self-discipline are ingredients for a successful life. They need to be loved and to know that they are lovable and capable.
May God grant peace to the families and friends of all of the innocent victims. Their loved ones have left their footprints in this world as they have pulled at our heartstrings and become a catalyst for change in our lifestyle.