In 1788, Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution was ratified, which requires the federal government to establish post offices and post roads. As envisioned by Benjamin Franklin, the post office bound the new nation together with a presence in every community.
Indeed for years, 80 percent of the federal revenue came from the post office system. However, today this service faces the possibility of closing local offices across the nation as well as ending Saturday mail deliveries.
In an article published in Sunday’s Times, “Post Office blues,” Alasdair Roberts stated that the financial woes faced by the U.S. Postal Service lie with Internet and commercial competitors and a struggling economy. Roberts acknowledged that the postal service is in trouble since it defaulted on a $5.5 billion payment on Aug. 1 to the U.S. Treasury for future retiree benefits.
Not addressed by Roberts is Congress’ Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 as the diabolical source of this default and the postal services major woe. This act requires the postal service to pre-fund future retiree health care benefits for postal workers for the next 75 years, many of whom are yet to be born.
A payment into a trust fund is required over a 10-year period, into which the postal service has already paid billions. Beyond this year’s default, it still faces another five years of payments.
The liability appears to be a congressional fabrication for the postal service to fail, for no other federal agency or business enterprise face a 75-year liability for future health benefits. Roberts failed to acknowledge that Congress created the liability that led to the postal service’s recent default.