Letter: Why these Postal Service numbers don’t add up

Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2013, 2:49 pm
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The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 mandated a ridiculously impossible financial burden on the U.S. Postal Service of prepaying 75 years worth of future retiree health benefits over the following 10 years.

No other government agency must do this and most private companies would have spread the payments over 40 years.

Since health-care payments are counted as general revenue, Congress could use this $5.5 billion a year to prop up it's own books. This onerous obligation accounts for 80 percent of all Postal Service red ink, since its inception.

While dropping Saturday delivery seems like a cost saving measure, there will also be costs incurred. The USPS is the heart of a $900 billion network of related industries employing 9 million workers. In the retail world, online sales and direct mailings are becoming increasingly intertwined. Delivery of packages is up 9 percent over last year. How much business will the Postal Service and related businesses lose? Last year the Postal Service delivered 160 billion pieces of mail. What will the inefficiencies and bottlenecks in the network cost?

The USPS employs 523,000 middle-class breadwinners, with a high percentage of veterans, women and minorities. The USPS has reduced its workforce by 267,000 people since 2000. With all the lip service one hears from a Congress with a 9 percent approval rating about supporting middle class jobs, one would think that with the one non-taxpayer-funded service under their control, Congress would be doing what it could to help, not the opposite.

Brian Fawcett,


Local events heading

  Today is Wednesday, Sept. 17, the 260th day of 2014. There are 105 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We are told league merchants have paid no attention to the prohibition on selling ammunition, but continue to sell just as before the order was issued.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The Rev. R.F. Sweet, rector of Trinity Episcopal Parish, left for the East to visit his boyhood home in Boston before attending the general convention of the Episcopal Church in New York.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Dr. E.A. Anderson was named to succeed Dr. E.L. Kerns as head physician of the Modern Woodmen of America, and moved to Rock Island from Holdingford, Minn.
1939 -- 75 years ago: One week late, because of the outbreak of war, Dr. E.L. Beyer resumed his work as professor of romance languages at Augustana College. Dr. and Mrs. Beyer left Germany on the last train to the Belgian border.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Employees in Turnstyle stores in Moline and Davenport will vote Oct. 2 in an election set up by the Chicago regional office of the National Labor Relations Board. Employees will vote either for the Retail Clerk International or for no union.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Rock Island High School is considering a step to help teen moms stay in school and get their diploma. The school board is expected to vote tonight on instituting an on-site child care center.

(More History)