|
|
Examiner
  • Jerry Plantz: We need a strong Postal Service

  •  The United States Postal Service has delivered two discouraging reports. One, that it lost $1.3 billion in the last quarter and $15.9 billion overall in 2012. Two, that it will cease Saturday delivery of regular mail, save packages, beginning in August.

    • email print
  •  The United States Postal Service has delivered two discouraging reports. One, that it lost $1.3 billion in the last quarter and $15.9 billion overall in 2012. Two, that it will cease Saturday delivery of regular mail, save packages, beginning in August.
    “The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America’s changing mailing habits,” stated Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe. He cited the Internet as a free letter source compared with a postal cost.
    Donahoe expects to save approximately $2 billion annually. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
    American Postal Workers Union president Cliff Guffey said his 220,000 union members are concerned.
    “USPS executives cannot save the Postal Service by tearing it apart,” he said. “These across-the-board cutbacks will weaken the nation’s mail system and put it on a path to privatization.”
    A major debit sheet is the controversial 2006 congressional mandate to pre-fund health-care benefits of future retirees, a 75-year liability over a 10-year-period at a cost of $5.5 billion a year. No other government agency has such benefits.
    John Tierney of Salon.com blames Congress.
    “We have allowed the U.S. Congress to control the agency, and for decades – centuries, really – Congress has dictated that the Postal Service operate in ways that are politically useful for members of Congress even though they make no economic sense,” he said. “In the process, our elected representatives have steered the agency into a ditch.”
    Postmaster Donahoe adds, “The Postal Service encourages the 113th Congress to make postal reform legislation an urgent priority.”
    Independence Postmaster Roland Tidmore said there will be no layoffs of its 105-plus employees at the city’s three post-office locations.
    Richard Watkins, a local spokesperson for the Postal Service, noted that no one has been laid off since 2006 and that 193,000 workers have been lost through attrition.
    “In the ’90s we had 829,000 workers,” he said. “That number is now around 500,000.”
    He added that Saturday is the lightest day of the week for mail volume.
    While its overall reputation is outstanding, the Postal Service’s new adage, at least for Saturday is, “The mail must not go through.”
    I give you President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever.
    Jerry Plantz lives in Lee’s Summit. His website is at www.Jerryplantz.com. Reach him at jerryplantz@msn.com.
     
     
      • calendar