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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 21, 2013 at 7:35 AM

Postal Service financial problems lie in the political realm

The U.S. Postal Service  lost $5 billion over the past year, and postal officials urged Congress to pass legislation to help the beleaguered agency solve its financial woes. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

The U.S. Postal Service lost $5 billion over the past year, and postal officials urged Congress to pass legislation to help the beleaguered agency solve its financial woes. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Congress needs to end this financial crisis

The Times is rightly concerned about “scant review” by the Postal Regulatory Commission [“Deliver scrutiny of the UPS-Amazon deal,” Opinion, Nov. 16].

The PRC seems reluctant to turn down any move by postal management to make deep-discount deals with big mailers, or to curb proposed reductions in service that would slow the mail and harm local newspapers and others who rely on timely mail delivery.

Ironically, the most important solution to postal financial problems lies in the political realm, not the entrepreneurial. In its year-end report released Nov. 15, the Postal Service actually showed an operating profit — yes, a profit — of $623 million. The press release, however, trumpeted a $5 billion loss, which was due solely to a $5.6 million payment demanded by a 2006 law. That payment amounts to a forced, long-term loan to the federal Treasury that can only be repealed by Congress, which passed the misguided law.

The PRC is currently hearing an appeal by the American Postal Workers Union that challenges proposed cuts in service, which also would be imposed without public hearings. Such cuts would slow down local mail and close mail processing at the USPS Tacoma facility, costing close to 200 jobs. Perhaps the PRC would do a better job of scrutinizing postal management’s actions if Congress would repeal that portion of the 2006 law that has hurt postal finances, and end the artificial financial crisis.

— David Yao, Seattle

Comments | More in Congress, Postal Service | Topics: Congress, Postal Service

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