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Death of a thousand cuts for the Post Office

Chicago Tribune:

Under a cost-saving plan by the U.S. Postal Service, Americans moving into newly built homes will not have mail delivered to their doors and will instead have to trek to the curb or neighborhood cluster boxes.

The Postal Service began the change in April, and Congress is considering an even bolder shift that would also affect existing houses. It's unclear if delivery to the door will eventually be eliminated entirely.

Oh, great. Too bad the Post Office isn't a bank; they'd be bailed out in a heart-beat.

Gonna be great to trek to pick up my fucking mail. Can I send in a bill to Congress for my time? Because if I could, there's be no savings at all.

NOTE Of course, the powers that be plan to destroy the Post Office exactly because it's a public service that ties the country together. Also too they want the money and union busting:

In 2006, the Republican-controlled Congress passed a law, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) that forced the USPS to “prefund its future health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years in a ten-year time span” that meant it had to set aside billions of dollars in reserve yearly to pay health benefits for employees it has not hired, or not even born yet. No other government program, such as the Defense Department, or private corporation for that matter, is required to do anything like PAEA because it would bankrupt them within a decade if not sooner, and it is precisely Republicans’ goal for the USPS.

The Postal Service is a constitutionally mandated agency and although the corporate-controlled media and politicians push the “postal service crisis” meme without pause, it is a “manufactured crisis” to annihilate some of the GOP’s favorite targets; public employees, unions, decent wages, healthcare, retirement, and of course, a popular and efficient government agency. One of the biggest drivers (85%) of the deliberately created Postal Service budget deficit originates with the PAEA pre-funding mandate regardless that “the pension is over-funded and reserves for retiree health care are far higher than the federal government as a whole” according to the post office Inspector General. The USPS is also “required to break even” unlike any other department or agency, including the Defense Department, so the GOP cannot refute the claim their sole purpose in PAEA is breaking the Postal Service within ten years. Without the PAEA, the USPS would not have “a net deficiency of nearly $20 billion, but instead be in the black by at least $1.5 billion,” and it would destroy the Republican myth that all government operations break the nation and require dismantling and tendering to corporations.

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Comments

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

part of the Grand Bargain--IOW bargaining chips for Dems (Obama Administration).

I believe cuts are in the Administration's 2014 Budget (link) and here's an excerpt from a Matt Bai NYT magazine piece from several years ago, when Dems were offering to cut the Postal Service.

Hey, it's just more Kabuki, that the dastardly Repubs are the ones who want to destroy the Postal Service.

Both parties are out to "union bust." Only the Dems have to "pretend" to be union-friendly.

This is an excellent (but lengthy) piece. Hope you guys take time to read it. Real depressing, though.

Here's an excerpt from the piece, "Obama vs. Boehner: Who Killed the Debt Deal?"

The Grand Bargain Within Reach

. . . They had agreed to reduce discretionary spending — meaning both the defense budget and money used to finance the rest of the government — by about $1.2 trillion over 10 years; it would be up to Congress to figure out how.

They also agreed to a list of programs from which they could cut at least $200 billion more in the coming decade.

These included an estimated $44 billion from pensions for civilian and military employees of the government; $30 billion from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; $33 billion from farm subsidies and conservation programs; and $16 billion from reforming the Postal Service.

On entitlements too they had moved closer to a final deal.

The White House agreed to cut at least $250 billion from Medicare in the next 10 years and another $800 billion in the decade after that, in part by raising the eligibility age. The administration had endorsed another $110 billion or so in cuts to Medicaid and other health care programs, with $250 billion more in the second decade.

And in a move certain to provoke rebellion in the Democratic ranks, Obama was willing to apply a new, less generous formula for calculating Social Security benefits--the Chained CPI--which would start in 2015. (The White House had rejected Boehner’s bid to raise the retirement age.)

This wasn’t quite enough for Boehner, nor was it as extensive as what the Gang of Six had proposed. But the speaker’s team didn’t consider the differences to be insurmountable, assuming the two sides could also settle on a revenue number. . . .

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Had those in a condominium subdivision, and THOSE boxes were secure (lock boxes).

There were also several "huge" lock boxes for large packages (the key to them was put in your regular mail box, if you had a package).

And, it is (or was) the US Postal Service policy (almost a decade ago) to make exceptions, and "deliver mail to the door" with a "doctor's letter" filed with the Post Master.

I know, 'cause I was wearing a cast, and had to get one. ;-)

But who knows--they may eliminate that service, with all their budget cutting. I hope not.

I wondered if they offered that service for elderly residents, who simply have limited motor ability. I hope so. Or like you say--it could be rough.

gizzardboy's picture
Submitted by gizzardboy on

In my small town and many like it throughout the country, everybody goes to the post office to retrieve their mail. Besides that, we pay postal box rent of over $50 per year. So I am not exactly getting out the violin when I read "will instead have to trek to the curb or neighborhood cluster boxes." Poor babies! Such a trek. They may even have to get off the couch and miss some TV.

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

Choosing to rent a post office box and drive to the post office is exactly that -- a choice. And I think if you look at your town more closely, you will find that not "everybody" does it. In fact, unless it's a virtually unique town, the majority take the home delivery.

Most of the time, trekking to the street isn't a problem. But it is a problem often enough to make doorstep delivery a genuinely good thing. One more thing to deal with when you're ill is a bitch. We have shifted so many services to DIY that they are a problem for the less strong or time-strapped. There's always supposedly an option for those who "genuinely need" the service, but you add up dealing with the programs to get the options, and you've made life noticeably tougher. Communal life should be about making life good, not about calculating how to shift work to shave off every penny.