Tuesday, September 20, 2011

President Obama Proposes A Republican Plan To "Save" The USPS

There is no denying that the United States Postal Service is in deep financial crises.  What has been overlooked by the vast majority is that this "crises" was formulated in 2006 by a Republican Congress and a Republican President.  The USPS, in seeing fuel prices rocket, went to Congress hoping to get more flexibility in raising prices.  Of course, Republicans being Republicans, saw this as an opportunity to cripple and possibly even destroy the USPS and by extension, the union representing USPS carriers.

So, Republicans enacted a law that gave the USPS nominal flexibility to raise prices, but also saddled it with a mandate to fully fund their employee pension plan to cover the next 75 years.  That's correct, the USPS had to fund their pension plan to not only fully cover current employees, but also employees who haven't even been hired or born yet.  To make matters worse, the law required the USPS to fully fund those 75 years in only 10 years time.  That means that the USPS has had to make yearly payments of over $5 billion into their pension plan, payments that eat away at its financial stability.  It should be noted that no other entity, private or public, within the United States is required to fully fund their pension plans for the next 75 years, only the USPS.

Because of that yearly payment, the USPS has been posting major operating losses in the billions, since 2006.  Instead of being able to raise prices, it has had to borrow against the Republican imposed $15 billion "credit line" with the Treasury Department, which is almost depleted.  So, while incurring monumental operating losses due to its requirement to fully fund their pension plans, unable to raise prices enough to meet expenses, the USPS has also incurred a massive debt to Treasury.  Only now, it can't make its Republican imposed yearly pension fund payment, because it doesn't have the cash to do so.

The Post Master General, Patrick Donahoe, has asked Congress to give him the ability to break the contracts the USPS has with its union employees which would allow him to fire over 200,000 postal employees, to end Saturday service and to opt for a different pension plan.  Congressman Darrel Issa (R-CA) appears more than eager to go along with Mr. Donahoe's proposal, thus achieving a major goal of Republicans in 2006.

Now in steps President Obama with his plan to "save" the USPS.  The "plan" is at its very heart, a Republican "plan", which encompasses restructuring the pension pre-funding, to sell non-USPS products and the elimination of Saturday service.  No proposal to get rid of the Republican imposed full pension funding.  No proposal to give the USPS even more flexibility to raise rates.  Nope, just as with the "job's package" from a couple weeks ago, President Obama has proposed only Republican ideas to "save" the USPS.

Mr. President, the Republicans don't want to save the USPS.  They want it gone, period and they will do whatever it takes to see that mission accomplished.  Why the fuck are you helping that process along?  Why aren't you firing the Post Master General for proposing to fuck over the carriers?  Why aren't you fighting for the carriers instead of once again doing the Republican's dirty work for them?  Why don't you propose that junk bulk mailers pay more equitable postage rates?

There are better proposals than sending 220,000 more people to the unemployment lines and cutting Saturday service.  But since they aren't Republican proposals, I am sure President Obama has no use for them.

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