Do you support the United States Postal Service and your post office? Most Americans support, trust and depend upon the USPS for a variety of services — for good reason: international reports continuously assess our postal service as the best in the world.
In 2006 Congressional Republicans passed a law requiring the USPS to prefund 75 years worth of retiree health benefits in the span of 10 years. The passage of this law resulted in an added expense for the USPS of approximately $5 billion a year — something not required of any other public or private agency or company in the U.S.
Until that time, like the pension of other private and public organizations, the USPS’s pension funding had been on a pay-as-you-go basis. However, in addition to requiring that the USPS fund 75 years of pensions in advance, the law passed in 2006 also put restrictions on rate increases; in other words, although the cost of funding pensions increases on a yearly basis, the USPS can’t raise USPS staffers’ contributions toward their own pension. To add insult to injury, the money that should be going into this special pension fund is sometimes being used to help pay down the national debt.
In 2018, the Trump administration issued an executive order to create a postal task force and, in response, the Office of Management and Budget proposed privatizing the USPS.
Think about the possible ramifications: increased postage and shipping prices; decreased services; the reduction of post office locations, hours and days of service; the elimination of some rural routes; and the termination of hard-working USPS employees (often military veterans, women, and minorities), some of whom have reliably delivered mail or medicines to us through snow, rain or heat. Our nation’s founders, like Ben Franklin, understood that a universal, affordable, and public postal system, with an emphasis on service, would knit the country together as a nation. That is still true today.
Privatization of the USPS has been a goal of Republicans for decades, and the imposed insolvency of the USPS has become the latest incentive to follow through on this goal. The current Postmaster General has ties to private businesses that currently benefit through their affiliation with the USPS and would further benefit from its privatization because of vast real estate holding and other assets held by the USPS, along with any money in the pension fund that would become available.
The USPS is in dire financial difficulties because of that 2006 Republican law’s requirement — a situation that has been further compounded by the drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the past, other indispensable government services and entire private industry sectors have been rescued by our government when facing similar financial challenges. However, when a funding bill to financially support the USPS came up for a vote on August 22, 2020, our current representative in the NY 27th, Chris Jacobs, voted to not support the USPS. Later this same representative said his vote had been a mistake.
This is a man who served in the NYS legislature for many years, so he should know how to prepare for a vote and then do it. We deserve a representative who can actually make a decision based on what is important to the people living in our rural district and who can differentiate between a “yes” and a “no” button.
Nate McMurray is the candidate for the NY 27th House district. He supports the USPS, along with Social Security, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act — which are also under assault by the current administration. Nate will work for all of us the NY 27th!
George Ann Carter