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Tuesday, 06 September 2011 12:44
U.S. Taxpayers Going Postal; End The USPS Mail Bailouts
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U.S. MailToday, a hearing is being held on Capitol Hill regarding the future of the United States Postal Service (USPS). Because of severe financial problems, there will be a default on a $5.5 billion payment to a postal service’s health care trust fund unless there is another government bailout. This month, the agency will hit its borrowing limit of $15 billion unless the debt ceiling is raised. Congress which is in the habit of raising debt ceilings may very well come to the rescue of the USPS once again. 

 Americans are getting tired of this same old song and dance from postal officials. Every few months, agency administrators warn of massive deficits and ask for taxpayer bailouts.

The problem is that there is no money left and our nation cannot afford any more bailouts. The United States Postal Service as it is currently structured cannot survive as each year it faces financial shortfalls. Of course the USPS is not the only federal agency to run deficits, so it is past time that Congress ended this gravy train. Any agency like the USPS in such horrible financial condition needs to be either shutdown or privatized.

The USPS is a perfect candidate for privatization. In its current configuration, the agency is bloated, inefficient and burdened with expensive labor union contracts. One major problem is that there are political pressures from postal unions who want to save 120,000 unneeded jobs and from politicians fighting to keep wasteful post offices open.

The postal service is also the victim of technology and an unstoppable trend in our society. Americans are moving away from slow and unreliable “snail mail” and moving toward e-mail and other forms of electronic communication. This year the postal service is slated to lose another $10 billion, a luxury this country can no longer afford.

In the United States, there are several very successful private companies delivering overnight mail and packages. They same transition can be made for regular mail service. Unless the agency is privatized, there will be continual calls for cutbacks, bailouts and more taxpayer misery. Under private operation, taxpayers will no longer face the burden of bailing out the agency every year. A private operator will not be pressured by politicians or unions and will not be saddled with health care and pension systems that are not financially feasible.

In the private sector, the right decisions can finally be made regarding how many days of the week to deliver mail and the number of employees needed to handle the diminished mail volume.

According to postal spokeswoman Yvonne Yoerger, the agency does not have a working business model to deal with the changing marketplace. This is typical of a government agency which does not have to make a profit and is accustomed to regular government bailouts. It is time to end both this taxpayer misery and the bureaucracy anachronism of a mail service that is no longer meeting the needs of the American people.


Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Here are some of Jeff Crouere's recent columns


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