Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2013, 2:49 pm

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

Comment on this story

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,
Bettendorf