Saturday, April 9, 2016

Canceling the Postal Service

The U.S. Postal Service is doing something it hasn't done since 1919 - it's lowering the cost of first-class postage.  It goes down two cecnts to 47 cents starting tomorrow (April 10).
That sounds like good news and a good deal, but that's not the situation.  The Postal Service made an agreement with Congress in 2014 to increase the letter rate to bring in more money.  It had two years to get its act together and find a more palatable way to bring more revenue in.  But it can't.  See, the Postal Service isn't losing money because fewer people are using first-class mail, although fewer people are using it.  It's losing money because of a law, passed in 2006 by congressional Republicans who have been trying to sabotage the Postal Service for years, requiring the agency to pre-fund retirement payments for 75 years by 2016.  It's not going to happen.
The agency is now looking ahead to losses of $2 billion in lost revenue per year. This means that the post office system will be unable to function properly and be under a lot of pressure to accept privatization, taking an important government function out of the public's hands.  Without the retirement fund law, the Postal Service would be making a profit on mailing packages ordered, ironically, through the very Internet that has rendered paper correspondence obsolete. 
So don't be so happy with this price cut.  And by the way, those "forever stamps" - those nondenominated first-class stamps that are good for whatever the rate is until the end of time . . . well, I hope you didn't buy a lot of them in the past few weeks.  Because that means you just lost two cents on every stamp.
Losing money, of course, is nothing new for the Postal Service.         

No comments: