You may have heard that the United States Postal Service is in dire financial straits, losing $2.8 billion in 2008 and on track to lose double that amount in 2009. Things are so bad that the Postmaster General recently asked Congress for permission to curtail six-day/week delivery.
We believe that the USPS continues to provide a vital public service and deserves our support. The Post Office not only continues to deliver political periodicals like The Nation, a class of content vital to a functioning democracy, to anyone anywhere in the country, but the mails still serve to bind this vast country together, with many post offices serving as de facto community centers, where neighbors come together in civic engagement.
In this time of fiscal crisis, there is thankfully an easy way to support the USPS. Please write your congressional representatives urging their support of HR22. This legislation in the House, currently carries 76 co-sponsors and calls for a change in the accounting treatment of retiree health benefits for USPS workers – a change that would not affect employee benefits, or raise government costs, but would make it far easier for the USPS to balance its books, as required by law, without drastic service cuts or layoffs.
A legal requirement forces the Postal Service to prefund 80 percent of its future retiree health benefit costs by 2016, costing the Postal Service at least $5.5 billion annually on top of the $2 billion to $3 billion per year it annually pays. No other enterprise in the country – public or private – is required to prefund such costs at all, much less on such an onerous payment schedule.
H.R. 22 would save the Postal Service an average of $3.5 billion per year over the next eight years, and, as under current law, any remaining liability in 2016 would be amortized over 40 years. This bill cannot solve all the Postal Service’s problems, but without it, the continued viability of the Postal Service is in serious jeopardy – which is why the major postal workers unions, the APWU and the NALC both support H.R. 22.
A healthy Postal System is essential to magazines like The Nation – to ensure timely delivery at affordable rates. And essential to the nation. Please voice your support by filling out the form below and sending the message. We'll immediately find your Congressional representatives and automatically send them your email.