And don’t think it hasn’t been a slice of heaven…Cuz it hasn’t!   Bugs Bunny

My readers here have seen me go off on this particular subject at least twice now. And if you go far enough with me to Mothership, then you probably remember it was one of my favorite whipping boys there too. Because it was such an outrage.

The hobby horse was the 2006 Postal Accountability and Responsibility Act. It contained neither. Instead, it was one of the worst disguised assassination attempts against a government agency that I’ve ever seen. The GOP passed it in the lame duck session of 2006, before the Democrats retook the House and Senate in January.

In brief, it was a naked GOP power play to make the United States Postal Service so unprofitable and helpless that the government could privatize it so UPS and FedEx could move in like vultures and raid the carcass. The USPS is insanely popular with the public, and was a tough nut to crack because it’s the only government department that takes no money from the budget. It supports itself with the rates it charges for its services, which made it immune from budget cuts.

The poison pill of the Act was the fact that it required the USPS to pre fund the employees pension plan for the next 75 years! And not just the already existing employees either, they had to pre fund the pension plan for employees who weren’t even hired yet! No company on the planet works like this. Shit, I get 1/4 of my United pension every month from the PBGC because the company defaulted on their payments in a bankruptcy. The scheme was simple. Drive up the rates so much the USPS was too expensive for people to use, and bankrupt it.

But it looks like that may be about to change. The Democrats have been on their hind legs since 2007 trying to get this heinous act ditched, but the GOP wasn’t having any. But last night, out of the blue, scores of GOP House members joined the Democrats in voting to finally get rid of that ridiculous act, and let the post office start functioning! Why now? I don’t know, but my personal guess is that the Louis DeToy debacle around the election last year in trying to cripple the USPS, raised so much ire, and made the post office so popular with the public that the GOP realize it’s here to stay.

Which leaves the Senate, and the GOP’s Grim Reaper, Mitch McConnell. Well, maybe not. Democratic Michigan Senator Gary Peters has a Senate version of the same bill he’s pushing, and it already has a dozen GOP co-sponsors, more than enough for a cloture vote. Now, I’m no McConnell whisperer, but I get the feeling that he too is wanting to get the GOP Senate as far away from the DeToy stench as possible, and if making the USPS functional again is what it takes, then so be it.

This is why this has always been such a hobby horse for me. When Teri and I moved out here in 2005, we did it on a wing and a prayer. We lived in a residence Hotel, and landed jobs with a temp agency. We got paid by check, but our credit rating didn’t leave any banks willing to take a chance on us for a while. We were lucky, our locals casino charged us next to nothing to cash our paychecks, but nationwide, there are millions of people in the same position we were in, who have no choice to go to predatory check cashing joints to cash their checks.

For years now, I have been advocating making the USPS the world’s largest version of a credit union. There is a post office in every neighborhood in the country. It would be child’s play to equip the post offices to handle simple checking and savings accounts, admitting people the major banks won’t take a chance on. But if the post office can’t even break even, who would want to open an account with them?

If congress actually gets this done, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the USPS didn’t actually come out and announce a rate decrease. Freed of the onerous burden of having to pre fund the pension plan, the USPS would likely almost immediately become profitable again. And here’s the golden nugget there. While the USPS is set up to be self sufficient, it is not intended to be a profit making business. Just as the USPS draws no funds from the Treasury Department, if it makes a profit, which has happened occasionally in days gone by, at the end of the year, that money is turned over to the Treasury Department.

And here’s one more golden nugget to put this puppy to bed on. As we speak, the Biden administration is pushing Postal Board of Governor nominees through the Senate confirmation process. Once they get through, the Louis DeToy reign is over. And since Biden only nominated solidly qualified professionals, whomever becomes the nest Postmaster General will have a wealth of post office experience. And then watch that place shine like a Tiffany diamond. And if congress gets this done, I will be the first one lined up at the dock to flip the now defunct law double barrel birds as the slow boat to China pulls away from the dock. Don’t touch that dial.


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  1. They USPS will still have some debt, but it’s down to a level they can deal with – we hope.
    But they’re still stuck with DeJoyless and his cronies.

  2. One of my husband’s best friends is a postal worker. I can’t count the number of letters we’ve both written to our senators and congressman. John Yarmuth always sent a handwritten note saying he was working on it. Moscow Mitch and Ayn Rand Paul rarely responded, but when they did, it was always a pro forma letter never addressing the issue. Thank FSM this is finally getting done. Let no one forget, the original sponsor of this monstrosity of a bill was none other than Susan “I’m concerned” Collins.

  3. While most of what you wrote was correct, Murf, there was another reason the original bill passed: To cover the government’s debt.

    Much like the Feds have done with Social Security (another little deal the GOP has long tried to abolish but keeps running into that little problem that everybody likes the idea of not letting senior citizens live in rank poverty–but I digress . . . ), the Bush Admin and the GOP Congress were hoping they’d be able to raid the Post Office funds to make up “shortfalls” in the budget. Before the “Accountability” Scheme happened, since the USPS didn’t take money from the budget, the government couldn’t take money from the USPS either. But, by making the Postal Service go through that whole 75-year prefunding BS, the money would have to go into an account that (surprise, surprise) the government could “borrow” from. And since the Postal Service had still been turning a profit, the folks behind the scheme simply assumed that things would continue on their merry way. Of course, the folks at the USPS who were watching the money knew that wouldn’t happen. Again, the USPS had been profitable but in the 5 years that had passed since 9/11, the moneys were dropping year-by-year. The volume of LETTER mail was slowing down–especially as the internet was improving–and first-class letter mail had been responsible for well over half (even in 2006, it was still responsible for nearly 3/4 of the Post Office’s revenues). Packages and parcels weren’t keeping up in terms of volume to offset the letter mail revenue losses and the Postal Service was taking a bath when it came to mass mailings (ie, “junk mail”) since the corporations using that service were “involved” in setting the rates charged for their mail and (surprise, surprise) the GOP felt it necessary to keep the mass-mailers happy, even if it meant first-class rates had to keep increasing.
    The USPS’s in-house bean counters (as well as the various unions–the Postal Workers’ Union, the Mail Handlers’ Union, the Letter Carriers’ Union) saw the potential hemorrhage that was going to happen and so the USPS has effectively been keeping two sets of records: An “official” record that includes the prefunding burden and an “unofficial” record that leaves out the burden. And while the USPS has been losing money pretty much every single year for the last decade, the deficit is nowhere nearly as bad when you ignore that prefunding burden (the USPS hasn’t actually been paying into that system for the past decade but it’s still required to report its annual budgets as though it is; the money that has been paid into it is technically in a “trust” that the Feds can’t touch and the USPS has been demanding that all that money be returned to the Postal Service when the Accountability Act is finally repealed–my understanding is the total involved would be enough to let the Post Office officially break even, but just for one year).

    • A very good summation of the terror present at any moment with a stoppered pressure cooker of a GOP without limits …

      Isn’t it amazing what can be done by the leeches in the GOP without public scrutiny and comments that go unanswered by those of us out here that dare question what the hell is going on from GOP stars like our Joni Ernst, and relic Chuck Grassley in Iowa?

      The accountability of the Senate GOP members has been most effective behind closed doors, the old smoke filled days of meeting in the basement boiler room at some secret place was always my definition of the hunker-down, “let’s rip the un-suspecting public for billions of dollars”, and while we are at it, let’s increase our pay and perks as well …

      Our Congress is so distorted these days by criminal intent from the GOP actions, a tsunami of Democrat votes, may be the only way out, fresh air for our Constitution, rules of law and Democracy itself … the health of our planet, our citizens and their family’s depends on a serious re-boot of the failing structure the GOP has placed in Federal and State government …

  4. While there is a post office in nearly every neighborhood, nearly every one of them is understaffed causing all of us who have business with USPS to wait in line, sometimes for quite a while. Until such time as that problem can be alleviated, I’m against piling on more duties for postal staff, like making them be bankers along with their other duties. Also, I wonder, given the delightful rise in criminality in our country, how safe would it be? I can’t get into my post office to pick up my mail after 5pm during the week, 4:30 on Saturday and not at all on Sunday, due to the increased vandalism to that office, some of it quite severe. Imagine if it was known that there were reserves of cash stored there.


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