We could bail out the big banks, and even pass laws to guarantee they can't go under again! We bailed out the UAW controlled automotive industry. We even "invested" billions on failed alternative energy sources...all money out of our pockets going to bail out those who should have probably been left to fail, or to let the market "decide" their fate. Now comes the early warnings of austerity from the Postal Service yet where is the Obama administration with a bail out for them?
Read these sobering numbers and decide for yourself if we should bail out the USPS. This year, the U.S. Postal Service will close half its processing centers. By late spring a first-class letter will take one to three days longer to arrive at its destination. By the end of this summer, Saturday delivery is scheduled to end. Over the next year the post office plans to close over 3,000 local post offices while slashing some 220,000 of its 650,000 employees.
David Morris of alter-net says there are three discrete stages in the 221-year life of the Postal Service. The first stage began in 1792 when President George Washington signed legislation making the United States Post Office a cabinet-level department. It was a public institution with a clear mandate: to enable universal low-cost access to information. The post office helped tie the country together physically as well as intellectually. Post roads were essential to the early development of the country. Rural free delivery established in the late 19th century, spurred improvements in roads and bridges since the post office would not offer service where roads were bad.
In the second stage the Post Office becomes a public-private institution, but after World War II, the post office’s inability to borrow money and invest long-term coupled with the dramatic increase in the volume of mail put an increasing strain on its system. The Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 was a compromise between management and labor. Unions were given the right to collectively bargain over wages and hours and working conditions for the first time. Wages increased significantly. For the first time, postal work became a middle-class job for hundreds of thousands, many of them minorities.
The third and current part of the life of the post office began in 2006 with the passage of the misleadingly titled Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.
A bit of background is necessary to understand this historic piece of legislation. In 2001 the GAO placed the Postal Service on its high-risk list because of concerns about its economic future given the poor management and labor relations and increased competition from electronic mail. At the request of Congress and GAO, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) conducted a review of the Postal Service’s liability to the Civil Service Retirement System. Almost everyone expected OPM to discover huge liabilities. Instead, it concluded that USPS had over funded its pension plan by more than $70 billion. In 2003, GAO raised the estimated over funding to more than $100 billion.
So here we are, at the end game. Few any longer are even talking about saving the post office as is. Fewer still are talking about resurrecting the post office as an institution with a broad public mission. The debate now focuses on how many parts of the post office we can lop off.
Read the entire story here: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/14431-why-we-must-rescue-the-us-postal-service-from-the-brink-of-death