The more things change, the more they stay the same. It's been over seven years now since Congress voted do its best to destroy the United States Post Office by forcing the agency to over fund their pension plan and the right wing's been using it as an excuse to privatize them ever since.
We've been seeing this rerun over and over again on Fox, and this Saturday, the panel on Forbes on Fox was back at it again, calling for privatization and refusing to let their audience know that Congress could take care of the problems with the agency's financial woes very quickly if they wanted to.
A couple of them actually admitted that the problems were with the pensions and that Congress had something to do with it, but they made sure they were vague on the specifics. The pensions were lumped in as "salary and benefits" and the only problem with the Congress that was mentioned was a refusal to "let them modernize." There's no way in hell they were going to let their audience know that the Post Office would be making a profit if our members of Congress weren't determined to do their best to make sure they fail.
Here's more on that from the AFL-CIO: Don't Forget: Republicans Are Still Trying to Kill the Postal Service:
As reported before, congressional Republicans are engaged in a long-term strategy to destabilize the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in what appears to be an effort to privatize mail processing and delivery and enhance profits for their campaign contributors in the corporate world. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has sponsored a bill (H.R. 2748) that would prohibit the USPS and postal unions from negotiating protection against layoffs in future contracts. Conveniently for Issa and his allies, the USPS missed a $5.6 billion payment to a fund to cover health benefits for future retirees.
But, as multiple sources have reported, including Salon's Josh Eidelson, the "crisis" at the Postal Service is totally a problem created by congressional Republicans and their allies in the George W. Bush administration. USPS missed that $5.6 billion payment for two reasons related to legislation passed in 2006. The first is the requirement that the USPS, unlike any other entity private or public, pre-fund 75 years of retiree benefits over a decade, something that isn't necessary or a good business strategy. The second part of that law that is hampering USPS now were new rules that limit the Postal Service's ability to raise stamp fees or offer other products and services that could bring in additional revenue. The importance of these two requirements can't be over-estimated:
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe testified this month in Congress that the pre-funding made up $32 billion of USPS’ $41 billion net loss since the requirement went into effect. For perspective on that remaining $9 billion, consider that a 2011 study from Accenture, commissioned by USPS, estimated that by diversifying its services as other countries’ mail agencies have, the Postal Service could’ve brought in an additional $74 billion from 2003 to 2008.
So, without the irresponsible 2006 Republican law, the USPS could very easily have had net profits of $33 billion or more, while expanding services. Read on...