Letter: No way should we gut this civic treasureSix days a week, United States Postal Service letter carriers traverse four million miles carrying an average of 563 pieces of mail, reaching to our very doorsteps in every single community.
By: Ray Anderson, River Falls, River Falls Journal
Six days a week, United States Postal Service letter carriers traverse four million miles carrying an average of 563 pieces of mail, reaching to our very doorsteps in every single community.
They ride snowmobiles to reach iced-in villages, fly bush planes into outback wilderness areas that have no roads, and run mail boats out to remote islands in places like Maine and Washington.
Everyone in America depends on the postal service. All that for 45 cents. And if you’ve written the wrong address, you’ll get your letter or package back at no charge.
Right-wingers say that USPS is bogged down with too many overpaid workers and costly buildings.
Since it can’t keep up with instant messaging of Internet and corporate competitors like Fed Ex, it must be destroyed: They say USPS is unprofitable, costing taxpayers billions a year in losses and will go into bankruptcy.
In the past four years USPS produced a $700 million profit, but in 2006 Bush and Congress whacked USPS with an act that required the agency to pre-pay the health care benefits not only of current employees but also of all employees who will retire during the next 75 years and fully fund this burden by 2016.
That mandate is costing USPS $5.5 billion a year.
Also, due to a 40-year accounting error, the federal office of Personnel managements has overcharged USPS as much as $80 billion for payments into the Civil Service Retirement System. Restore that money to USPS and the impending “collapse” goes away.
Obviously USPS is not the only player making the rounds and it must make major adjustments to find its proper place.
However, America’s postal service is a true public service, an unmatched bargain, a civic treasure, and a genuine public good that links us all.