Wrecking America's Postal Service - by Stephen Lendman
At issue is privatizing it and raising prices dramatically.
At a time of open-checkbook military spending, multiple imperial wars, Wall Street bailouts, handouts to other corporate favorites, transferring unprecedented wealth to America's rich, and preserving their tax cuts and other benefits for more, austerity is impoverishing millions, destroying their futures, and wrecking America's Postal Service (USPS).
The 1970 Postal Reorganization Act (PRA) made the Postal Service self-sustaining. It was exempted from the general budget, funding laws, and executive branch control. It's run as an independent federal agency on its own.
During the 1970s and 1980s, by administrative decision, it was at times included and excluded from executive budgetary consideration, depending on whether surpluses or deficits occurred.
In the 1989 Omnibus Reconciliation Act, it was put permanently off-budget. Congress made it independently self-financing. Since then (with no federal funding), it shared off-budget status with the Social Security Trust Fund, supplemental military allocations, and black Pentagon and intelligence ones.
In early December, USPS announced closure of over half its mail processing centers, 28,000 job cuts, and ending overnight first-class mail delivery.
Beginning in March, cuts will take effect. Standards in place for over 40 years will end. First-class mail will take two or three days, not one. Second class for newspapers and magazines, third class bulk mail, and fourth class will take much longer.
Pensioners dependent on benefit checks to pay bills, anyone buying drugs and other essentials by mail, and businesses needing prompt delivery to operate effectively will be impacted.
According to a Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) Retail Access Optimization Initiative (RAOI) Advisory Opinion , so will rural America.
RAOI says small post office closures aren't about "rationalizing" the network as savings achieved are minimal. At issue is breaking the bond between small communities and USPS and hastening privatization to make delivery services another profit center instead of a public service.
Currently, USPS generates about $62 billion annually in revenues. Corporate America wants them. Donahue serves their interests. So do union bosses.
They agreed to past work force reductions. In 1999, USPS employed over 900,000. Today it's around 600,000, a nearly one-third drop, including attrition of over 100,000 under Obama.
On November 21, USPS Postmaster General/CEO Patrick Donahue's National Press Club speech was interrupted with calls, saying:
"Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donahue has got to go," and "Don't privatize the post office. It's a public service. It's not a profit center for Fed Ex and UPS to rip off the people. Return the overpaid pension funds....Stop closing post offices."
Outside the building protesters yelled, "This is what democracy looks like," and "We are the 99%."