To The Herald-Whig:
I'd like to clean the windshield a little with regard to the Postal Service dilemma.
In the interest of full disclosure, I work for the Postal Service as a rural mail carrier and have done my share of criticizing some of the policies and structure of the organization. That said ...
How many tax dollars are spent each year on the day-to-day operations of the Postal Service? I'll give you a hint – zero! That's right, every pencil, truck tire, light bulb, every dollar of wages and salaries, every gallon of fuel, all of it, everything, is paid by the sale of stamps and mailing materials, since 1974.
In 2006, President Bush signed into law a bill that requires the Postal Service to pre-pay its retirement and health care programs so far out in the future that they have overpaid these funds more than $50 billion! To its credit, the organization has already cut significant costs from its budget in the form of consolidation, retirement incentives and such, but overcoming a $50 billion overpayment would make most of us late with the car payment!
Due largely to a down economy and some changes in usage, the Postal Service finds itself about $9 billion in the hole. Now, $9 billion is a lot, but $50 billion is a lot more. As a result, as you are now aware, the Postal Service is contemplating closing many Post Offices, disrupting service to a public still largely dependent on our services, and laying off tremendous numbers of workers.
The bottom line is this. If the majority in Congress cares about jobs and the economy as much as they proclaim in front of the TV cameras, they could save thousands of good jobs with absolutely no expense to taxpayers at all, simply by changing the pre-funding of retirement and health care mandate! No other company in the country could have survived this long with a mandate like this. Seems like the no-brainer of all no-brainers to me!
I'm retiring soon and will thereby create a job for the person replacing me on my mail route. That one job represents precisely one job more than Congress has created in the last two years. Go figure.