Wants ‘sensible’ postal reform

To the editor:

At the beginning of the Internet age, some predicted that the United States Postal Service would be rendered obsolete. As more people communicated online, the Postal Service – funded by earned revenue, not by taxpayers – would face declining revenue.

During the Great Recession of 2008, this prediction seemed accurate.

But, it wasn’t. As the economy improves, letter revenue has stabilized. And as more people in Iowa and elsewhere shop online, package revenue is skyrocketing. Meanwhile, Amazon.com has the Post Office expanding to seven days a week; in some places the USPS even delivers groceries to customers. All this makes the Internet a net positive, auguring well for the future.

After the first three quarters of Fiscal Year 2015, the Postal Service has a $1.2 billion operating profit, compared to $1 billion this time last year.

There is red ink, but it’s unrelated to the mail or the Internet. In 2006, Congress mandated that the USPS pre-fund future retiree health benefits. No other public agency or private company is required to pre-fund for even one year; the Postal Service has to pre-fund for the next 75 years, and pay for it all over a decade. That $5.6 billion annual charge is the “red ink.”

Rather than slowing the mail, eliminating Saturday delivery or ending door-to-door delivery, lawmakers should address the pre-funding fiasco so the Postal Service can innovate and thrive in the 21st century.

Please contact your representative about the need for sensible postal reform.

Eddie Lofland

President

Letter Carriers

Branch 69

Sioux City