CREDO Mobile is calling on activists to contact Congress in order to save rural post offices, many of which are slated to be closed as part of a conservative effort to, it seems, privatize the United States Postal Services, a vital and successful program. The Postmaster General has announced the closing of 3,000 mostly rural post offices, which also will lead to the laying off of more than 200,000 workers. The supposed reason for the layoffs and closings is the false idea that the postal service is in financial trouble, previously reported here. The real problem is something else:
It’s true the post office faces financial challenges. But the financial problems are in large part a direct result of an onerous and ill-considered 2006 law that mandates that the postal service pre-fund its retiree health care and pension benefits for 75 years — something that no other government agency or private company is forced to do.
Eighty-five percent of the red ink comes from this pre-funding mandate despite the fact that, according to the Post Office Inspector General, the pension is over-funded and reserves for retiree health care are far higher than the federal government as a whole, the military and almost all Fortune 1000 companies.
Simply modifying the 2006 pre-funding mandate would provide considerable breathing room for the post office. And while some changes to the post office are certainly necessary to preserve and improve it in the 21st Century, now’s not the time to close post offices and cut hundreds of thousands of jobs.
The money “saved” by these closings and layoffs wouldn’t even affect the overall financial situation of the post office, but they could devastate the local communities and the poorer citizens that rely on the postal service. Take action now to stop this assault.