What’s going on here? Right-wing sabotage of USPS financing, that’s what. In 2006, the Bush White House and Congress whacked the post office with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act—an incredible piece of ugliness requiring the agency to PRE-PAY the health care benefits not only of current employees, but also of all employees who’ll retire during the next 75 years. Yes, that includes employees who’re not yet born! No other agency and no corporation has to do this. Worse, this ridiculous law demands that USPS fully fund this seven-decade burden by 2016. Imagine the shrieks of outrage if Congress tried to slap FedEx or other private firms with such an onerous requirement. This politically motivated mandate is costing the Postal Service $5.5 billion a year—money taken right out of postage revenue that could be going to services. That’s the real source of the “financial crisis” squeez-ing America’s post offices.
But it’s not the only hocus pocus that has falsely fabricated the public perception that our mail agency is “broke.” Due to a 40-year-old accounting error, the federal Office of Personnel Management has overcharged the post office by as much as $80 billion for payments into the Civil Service Retirement System. This means that, far from being a drain on the public treasury, USPS has had billions of its sales dollars erroneously diverted into the treasury. Restore the agency’s access to its own postage money, and the impending “collapse” goes away.