The Republicans are trying to destroy our postal service and the largest public sector union which staffs it. Most of the news stories only talk about how the postal service is obsolete because we all use email now, instead of covering the true cause of their financial trouble, a terrible bill passed by the outgoing Republican Congress of 2006. The Postal Accountability Act of 2006 was passed by a voice vote in both chambers and did several things. It restricted the Postal Services ability to raise rates and it required the postal service to pre-fund its pension system for 75 years and to pay that within a ten year period, something no other government agency or private company has ever had to do. Right now the Postal Service is getting ready to close many post offices, lay off workers and cancel Saturday mail service which will only exacerbate the problems and create lower revenues. There are now bills in both houses to remedy this situation and they need our support.
Peter DeFazio of Oregon has sponsored H.R.3591, The Postal Service Protection Act of 2011, which removes the requirement to fund the pension and stop the closure of post offices. As of now the bill has only two co-sponsors, Maurice Hinchey and Louise Slaughter, both of New York.
Bernie Sanders sponsored a related bill in the Senate, S. 1853 The Postal Service Protection Act. This bill has only six sponsors, Ron Wyden D-OR, Jeff Merkeley D-OR, Kirsten Gillibrand D-NY, Tom Udall D-NM, and Patrick Leahy D-VT. Right now there is a moratorium on Post Office closures until May, to give the postal service time to come up with a new plan. Closing post offices will eliminate, for some areas, the only government presence and will place a burden on rural citizens who will have to travel many miles to a postal facility. UPS and FedEx do not serve unpopulated rural areas and seniors who receive medications by mail are just one group that will be severely impacted by this loss of service. Also, UPS and FedEx charge much more and will make the cost mailing a package truly prohibitive for most of us.
Please call your Senators and Congresspersons, Democrat or Republican and ask them to co-sponsor these bills. Letters to the Editor of your local paper and calls to call-in shows can educate our populace and would also be great. Bernie Sanders was on Thom Hartmann this morning talking about this issue. Let's make a ruckus and Occupy the Post Office to save this vital service. And while you are at it, buy some Forever stamps (rates are going up any day) and send somebody some cookies in a nice Flat Rate Priority box. Its a great deal.