Sunday, August 28

IDAHO PRESS TRIBUNE-August 11, 2011-OPINION

I am retyping this as the copy does not scan.  This is from the Idaho Press-Tribune, August 11, 2011, OPINION page:
Pension system is Postal Service's problem
I have been a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service for the past 33 years, working in my hometown of Pocatello, and I want to offer the real facts in this time of economic uncertainty about the Postal Service.

First of all, the Postal Service receives no tax dollars.  Our revenue comes from the sale of products and services.  Over the last four years, revenues derived from delivering the mail exceeded costs by $837 million; last quarters net operating profit alone was $226 million.

What about those news reports of multi-billion dollar losses?  Well, the $20 billion losses over the last four years have nothing to do with what you've been told about a failing business model or obsolete service.  The real facts are this:  in 2006, Congress mandated that the Postal Service pre-fund future retiree health benefits for the next 75 years, and do so within a decade-something no other agency or private firm does.  The resulting annual payments run $5.5 billion a year, costing the Postal Service $21 billion since 2007.

Remove that unreasonable obligation and the Postal Service would have been profitable.

The solution to this problem is this:  let the Postal Service stop depleting its operational funds to make these pre-funding payments using our own pension surpluses, as any responsible business would do, using no taxpayer involvement.  Once we can accomplish this, the Postal Service can adjust to the changing needs of residents and businesses with the dedication and professionalism that have led the public to name us the nation's most trusted federal workers six years in a row.

**John Paige, President, Idaho State Association of Letter Carriers


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