Don’t Let Business Lobbyists Kill the Post Office
POSTED: April 23, 9:37 AM ET
By Matt Taibbi
The Times has an editorial today about the future of the U.S. Postal Service:
Postal officials say they must close about 3,700 underused post offices (there are 32,000 nationally) while offering alternative services through local businesses. They also want to consolidate hundreds of regional processing centers and eliminate Saturday mail deliveries.
An aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont was warning me about this last week. There are organic reasons for all of this: The U.S. Postal Service is staring down the same barrel trained at our magazine and newspaper businesses, i.e. its revenue model is being wiped out by the internet.
But politics also plays a huge part in this. In 2006, in what looks like an attempt to bust the Postal Workers’ Union, George Bush signed into law the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. This law required the Postal Service to pre-fund 100 percent of its entire future obligations for 75 years of health benefits to its employees – and not only do it, but do it within ten years. No other organization, public or private, has to pre-fund 100 percent of its future health benefits.