Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. $12 for 12 weeks.
News Opinion Readers Respond

Congress stacked the deck against the Post Office

Recent news coverage of the U.S. Postal Service's proposal to end Saturday mail deliveries has focused mainly on the public's reaction to the change ("For mail carriers, Saturday routes roll on — for now," Feb. 10).

What has scarcely been mentioned, however, is the elephant in the room: The main reason the Post Office is in trouble is not a decline in first-class mail but two laws passed by Congress.

The first was the 1971 Postal Reorganization Act signed by Richard Nixon. This required that the Post Office be run as independent agency that makes a profit from its services. No other government agency is required to do this, and since 1971 the Post Office has not taken any taxpayer money to support its operations.

In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which was signed by President George W. Bush. Under Title VIII of this act, the Post Office is required to pre-pay the health benefits not only for current employees, but for all employees who will retire over the next 75 years. This includes future employees who have not yet been hired or even born. The 75 years of funds must be paid within a 10-year window from 2007 to 2016, with payments in the range of $5.4 billion to $5.8 billion a year.

This blatantly destructive rule targets only one business — the Post Office. No other organization in the world operates under such an onerous requirement. If a similar law were ever imposed on private corporations, you can be sure there would be an immediate outcry against its anti-business bias.

The Republican-controlled Congress killed the Post Office financially in 2006, and the business has been hemorrhaging cash ever since; it just hasn't totally died yet. But if nothing is done to correct the situation, we'll soon be talking about losing a lot more than just Saturday mail delivery.

William Brown, Towson

  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts
  • Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
    Related Content
    • Loss of Saturday mail delivery meets mixed reactions
      Loss of Saturday mail delivery meets mixed reactions

      The U.S. Postal Service last week announced it will stop delivering mail on Saturdays in an effort to curtail losses it has seen in recent years.

    • City high school graduation rates are a cruel charade
      City high school graduation rates are a cruel charade

      The headline on Colin Campbell's recent report on Baltimore City high school graduation rates was misleading ("Graduation rates at city schools below average, but rising," Dec. 16).

    • Here's why you should care about torture
      Here's why you should care about torture

      In his letter to the editor, Mark Wilson ("Who cares what the CIA does to terrorists?" Dec. 21) asks whether he is living in the "Twilight Zone" because he sees nothing wrong with torturing people to get so-called information from them. Perhaps he is. He fails to grasp that the people in...

    • Self-styled patriots silent on N. Korea threats
      Self-styled patriots silent on N. Korea threats

      Sony Pictures Entertainment has canceled the release of its satiric film, "The Interview," as a result of major U.S. movie chains' refusal to screen it because of terrorist threats from North Korea.

    • Mikulski stood up for Md. health care
      Mikulski stood up for Md. health care

      The spending bill recently approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama includes provisions important to Marylanders ("For better or worse, spending bill passes," Dec. 15). Thanks to the hard work of Sen. Barbara Mikulski, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, federal...

    • The Hippodrome's unwelcome 'gift'
      The Hippodrome's unwelcome 'gift'

      Christmas came early this year for the Hippodrome's "loyal subscribers." But it wasn't the nice side of Christmas, it was the Grinch that came to visit ("Hippodrome feels the heat from reseating process," Dec. 19).

    Comments
    Loading