Oh Just Shut Up About The Postal Service, Nikki Haley
Trumpfluffer Nikki Haley said dumb stuff on the Twitter Box yesterday, explaining that the US Postal Service is a really bad business and needs to become "profitable," but it can't because evil unions are blocking progress. What a load of donkeyballs! (Do we mean balls with donkeys in them, or donkeys' balls? Why not both?) Here is the tweet in question from the twit in question:
The Post Office has lost $78 billion since 2007 — money that taxpayers have been forced to cover. Rather than suppo… https://t.co/vyMtugxKAe— Nikki Haley (@Nikki Haley)1597844914.0
We now teleport Dan Aykroyd in from 1978 to say, "Nikki, you ignorant shithead. Once again you miss the point entirely."
Let's just review the many things wrong here. First, the really big one: The United States Postal Service is not a business. How many times do we have to remind you GOP idiots of this? The "run government like a business" folks are high on their own supply, and they genuinely can't tell the difference. This rather ignores the big word at the end of the agency's name! The Constitution mandated a postal service because it's a public good, not a profit-making entity. Yes, the USPS charges for delivering mail, and it generally breaks even at doing it — by law!
But its primary purpose isn't creating a return for shareholders; it's providing a service to every address in the entire country. No for-profit outfit could possibly do the same job, which remains the single best argument against privatizing the post office.
And no, greedy unions aren't the primary source of the USPS's financial woes, either, Nikki. Not even if there are seven of them! We know the rightwing drill: We're supposed to resent government workers because that's one of the few sectors where unions haven't been destroyed in the name of keeping costs down. The hell with that — what we want is for all workers to have decent wages, even if it means CEOs might have to settle for slightly smaller yachts.
As for those tears about taxpayers having to cover the Post Office's losses: Again, service not a business, and the primary source of those losses has been the 2006 "Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act," which required the USPS to "create a $72 billion fund to pay for the cost of its post-retirement health care costs, 75 years into the future." That's a burden that, as the Institute for Policy Studies notes, doesn't apply to any other government agency or private company. Those "losses" are mostly the gap between USPS revenue and the mandatory payments the agency was told to make to build up that fund in the space of just 10 years. It's not bad investments — or even the cost of throwing away perfectly good mail sorting machines in the past few months.
If taxpayers do have to help directly fund the Postal Service because Times Have Changed, that would only be a return to how the agency was funded for the majority of its history:
The Post Office Department was started by Congress in 1792, which is 227 years ago. [Now 228 of course] The Postal Service continued to receive public service appropriations funded by taxpayers into the early 1980s. So, the experiment with a mailer-funded postal system has lasted only about 35 years, or 15 percent of its history.
The mailer-funded system worked mainly because mail volume doubled from 100 billion in 1980 to 200 billion in 1999.
And it would be pretty easy to restore the USPS to "profitability," or really, to breaking even and putting some money away for pensions-n-stuff. For the most part, USPS operations are covered, except in weird years like 2020, by the cost of postage and package fees. The Institute for Policy Studies points out,
If the costs of this retiree health care mandate were removed from the USPS financial statements, the Post Office would have reported operating profits in each of the last six years. This extraordinary mandate created a financial "crisis" that has been used to justify harmful service cuts and even calls for postal privatization. Additional cuts in service and privatization would be devastating for millions of postal workers and customers.
In fact, even though a 2018 report by Donald Trump's "Task Force on the United States Postal Service" recommended the retiree-health benefits mandate stay in place, the task force did acknowledge that the "aggressive" timetable for funding the mandate wasn't working out so good, and called for the agency's deficits to be "restructured with the payments re-amortized with new actuarial calculation based on the population of employees at or near retirement age." That would help some, but nothing like eliminating the mandate.
The Trump Task Force acknowledged that without the costs imposed by the Post-Retirement Health Care Mandate, USPS would today be profitable on an operating basis. Allowing USPS once again to pay the costs of retiree health care costs on a pay-as-you-go basis as the rest of the federal government and two-thirds of private industry currently do, is the biggest step that could be taken to assure long-term financial sustainability. Current reserves of $47.5 billion could be used to pay expected pay-as-you-go retiree health care costs 10-15 years into the future.
In February, the House actually voted to get rid of it, although like so many other good idea, the bill hasn't even been considered in the Senate. Seems like the sort of thing a Biden administration could look at!
In conclusion, Nikki Haley, please stop lying, and let's all elect Joe Biden and ship these assholes COD to Moscow, the end.
[Institute for Policy Studies / Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers / Background image: 'Coolcaesar' on Wikipedia (GNU Free Documentation License); Nikki Haley by Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons license 2.0]
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