In the manner in which it can only do, the Senate has passed legislation aimed at solving some of the problems the USPS is facing. As only they can do…they punted, and now the House will have the ball for the rest of the game. On May 15, time will be out so they need to act soon.
What did they accomplish? According to most who care about the issue – not much. Lots of posturing, and little action. Retirement incentives for nearly 100,000 postal employees, a ‘study’ of dropping Saturday delivery, a return of $5.5B in ‘overpayments into the retiree health plan along with not having to continue the onerous advance payments they had been conscripted to do in 2006. They would also allow the USPS to find some new revenue sources like the delivery of wine and beer which they are forbidden by law to do currently.
Wow – study Saturday delivery. Oh, and they also sent a strongly worded letter to the Postmaster General not to do any post office or distribution center closings, please, until they got back to them. Our top 100 legislators in the U.S., and this is all they can come up with. Now it’s on to the House.
The House is going through its ‘due diligence with no due haste of any many. With their view they also want to punt the issue down the road. After having asked for bold solutions and suggested that the Postmaster General and his staff run this like a business, they are now saying ‘ wait a minute.’ It is obvious from their public comments that they in the House intend to do just that…for many minutes.
Notes have been passed back an forth Senate to House to USPS in a never ending cycle and now some news is coming out as of today that the USPS has agreed not to close any post offices for now. The threat of closing many rural post offices was too much for all of the Senators and Congressman. We’ll effectively deal with that after the fall election. Surprised, not so much on my part.
The USPS has many problems, but the courage to create a ‘business plan’ that could stem their losses was not one of them. They came up with one, but it meant pain, and we don’t do pain well in an election year on any house or on either side of the aisle. Change will have to come in 2013. But what kind of change do we really want.
It is absolutely true that we communicate differently now than in the past. Old legacy media and forms of communications are being changed to newer digital forms. Mail, newspapers, land line telephones are not the key means to reach out and ‘touch someone’ that they used to be. Get over it, and move on! We still need all of these to have total access to information and a free dialog that is so important to our way of life. We need the USPS, but we do need to trim its costs just as newspapers have had to trim theirs to stay alive. Let’s hope our national legislators have the real courage to tackle this issue and to help place the USPS on a solid footing for the sake of our future. I’ll be putting out a Mothers Day card tomorrow, and I hope I’ll get a couple of Fathers Day cards next month – we need the cheer that only they can bring when you pull them out of the envelope.
The USPS is NOT a business, it is a real part of the American way of life, and I for one want it to stay, even if I don’t like all the grumpy clerks down at my local P.O. here in Irvine. Heck, even I get grumpy once and a while. I welcome your comments, email or even drop me a card in the mail. Our friends at the post office will appreciate it too!