Vote for your Post Office this November

Vote for your Post Office this November

by Susan Olsen

Anyone who saw the congressional hearings with Postmaster General DeJoy in late August might be confused.  His testimony was completely different from what postal workers were telling their senators and representatives.

For example, DeJoy says the postal sorting machines he had destroyed were not needed, yet postal workers say they cannot get the mail out on time without them.  He said that he never cut overtime, yet postal drivers are driving nearly empty trucks because there are not enough people to load mail into the trucks.  Because Postmaster General DeJoy instituted an order that all trucks must leave on time, trucks are leaving before they are completely loaded.

This all points to a Postmaster General who does not understand how the post office works.  Why would the Board of Governors appoint someone to head the post office who has had no work experience with the USPS?  Because it is a political appointment.  President Trump was influential in the appointment of those who serve on the Board of Governors, and United States Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin was influential in the appointment of DeJoy.

DeJoy is moving us toward privatization of the United States Postal Service, a long-time dream of the far right.  Postmaster General DeJoy is treating the post office like a business, but it is not a business, it is a government service emblazoned in the Constitution.

People are being hurt by this sudden attempt to transform the U.S. Postal Service into a business.  For example, veterans get their medications by mail from the VA.  Medications usually arrive three to five days after ordering but are now sometimes taking as much as three weeks to arrive.  This is dangerous.  Those who are on life-saving medications cannot run out of their prescription medication and some veterans have had to be hospitalized for this reason.  (Connectingvets.com) 

For four decades, there have been rumblings about privatizing the post office.  Now our president, Donald Trump, wants the post office to act like a business and show a profit. To do this, he is demanding that the postal service charge four times as much as it does now. 

The postal service is not in this for profit.  It is a public service designed to deliver mail at the lowest possible cost to every single household in the United States.  

Privatization would mean that costs would go up and the USPS could only deliver mail where it would be profitable. This is how UPS and FedEx work. In contrast, the Postal Service is required to deliver mail to every single household in the United States.

If we privatize the Postal Service, those who live in rural communities would not get their mail delivered.  They would have to pick it up. For those who get their mail delivered, delivery days would decrease.  Imagine having to wait a few extra days for a paycheck or medication.

Now, the post office would show a profit if Congress would let it operate differently.  Remember, that no tax dollars go to the Postal Service.  It makes ends meet by selling stamps and other postal items.  The USPS is not a drain on Congress; however, Congress likes to get in its way.

In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA for short).  This law says that the Postal Service must prefund their employees’ retirement benefits 75 years into the future, requiring them to create and maintain a $110 billion healthcare fund for retirees, many of whom have not even been born. (DeFazio.house.gov)

No other agency or company must do this — only the Postal Service.  It is like getting a credit card that you cannot use until you prepay for everything you are ever going to charge for your whole life.

What is pathetic is that this law really had nothing to do with the Postal Service.  It was designed to address unrelated federal budget rules.

To combat this practice, last February, the House passed the “Post Office Fairness Act,” H.R. 2382, a bill that would eliminate the prefunding mandate.  The Postal Service would then be able to pay pensions as they go, the way that big companies do. The bill has tremendous bipartisan support, but it is not getting past Mitch McConnell, the self-described “Grim Reaper.”  This is where all bills passed by the House go to die.

 H.R. 2382, the “Post Office Fairness Act,” should be moved through the Senate, but that won’t happen as long as Mitch McConnell is Senate Majority Leader with his GOP flock of sheep.  

The Postal Service has about a 91% approval rating.  That kind of rating is unheard of with any other government agency.  We can show our appreciation.  Vote for the Post Office in November and  #DitchMitch.