The United States Postal Service is extremely important to our Country. Our founding fathers knew how important the Postal Service was and established it in our Constitution. Many people are unaware that the U.S. Postal Service is not funded by taxpayer dollars, it is self-funded, and it is also a major employer for our veterans. A "funding crisis,” however, has been manufactured by outrageous demands placed upon this vital service. Congress has the sworn duty to preserve the United States Postal Service, but instead it is under attack by many Republicans.
John Nichols of The Nation magazine explained that, in 2006 the Republican-controlled House and Senate, working with former President Bush, manufactured this crisis and forced the Postal Service to pre-fund healthcare benefits seventy-five years into the future. He stated further that this decision was something “no major corporation could or would do, as it required the service to divert more than $5 billion annually to prepay the health benefits of retirees who have not yet been hired.”
It is absurd that our Postal Service is being forced by the Republicans to pre-fund benefits for employees that are yet to be born. This is a constructed crisis and it is the reason the USPS is facing financial problems. The “crisis” is based wholly on the GOP’s political agenda, placing such unnecessary and harmful burden on the Postal Service, in order to justify privatization of the USPS. Against public outcry, the Republicans even want to end Saturday postal mail delivery, and they threaten Post Offices and Distribution Centers with downsizing or closure.
Indeed, this was an avoidable trajectory for one of our Country’s most important public services. According to Senator Bernie Sanders, from 2003-06, before the pre-funding took effect, our Postal Service made a combined profit of $9 billion. And “[w]ithout prefunding, the Postal Service would have made a $623 million profit last year. Excluding the prefunding mandate, the Postal Service estimates it will make more than $1 billion in profits this year.”
One of the leaders of these attacks is our own representative, Congressman Darrell Issa. He pushed hard for a number of “Postal Reform” bills aimed at destroying the Postal Service. American Postal Workers Union president Mark Dimondstein called Issa “a pure enemy of the Postal Service” because of his efforts to destroy and privatize the USPS. The Republicans led by Darrell Issa want to replace the 490,000 postal workers and their union with low wage retail workers in places like Staples. And they want deliveries handled by private companies like UPS, FedEx, and DHL.
Darrell Issa claims to support veterans, but 22% of USPS employees are veterans, and of those veterans, nearly a third are disabled. Up to 60,000 vets could lose their jobs due to Issa's bills in Congress. Darrell Issa also claims to support small businesses, yet small businesses are especially hit by unnecessary postal service cutbacks because they lose business when deliveries are delayed and face higher costs when forced to use private carriers. Clearly, Issa’s interests lie with the large corporations seeking to dismantle and privatize our Postal Service for their own gains, at a loss to the American people.
As your representative, I will fight for the public good. I support Bernie Sander’s and other Progressive leaders in the Congress and believe the Postal Service Protection Act is a worthwhile starting point. As defined in the act, the steps we need to take to protect the Postal Service are:
- Eliminate the pre-funding mandate and allow the Postal Service to recover overpayments it made to retirement programs.
- Establish new ways that the Postal Service can generate revenue.
- Prevent the closing of rural post offices.
- Protect 6-day delivery.
- Protect mail-processing facilities.
We need leadership in Congress that will protect our hard-working civil servants and strengthen the United States Postal Service, not threaten to dismantle or privatize it. The GOP agenda of outsourcing jobs, privatizing public services, and introducing a profit-motive, is not in sync with the public good. If elected to Congress, I pledge to stand with leaders like Senator Bernie Sanders to help the USPS and its employees thrive in the 21st century. I need your support to make this happen!
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