During the 2006 lame duck session of congress as Republicans were poised to lose their majority in the House a bill was pushed through and signed by then President Bush that did amazing damage to a federal government function: the United States Postal Service.
Because, you see, the success of the Postal Service was proof positive that the feds can run a business and turn a profit just like private industry can.
And do it on the cheap.
Republicans wanted to privatize the postal service, and the only way to do that was to make the Postal Service unprofitable. Which they did.
How they did it is Machiavellian. They placed such a strain on the retirement program that the Postal Service, for the first time in its history, defaulted. It ran in the red. They were required, by congressional decree, to fully fund their health insurance program for people to draw on in 75 years, and do it within 10 years.
No entity on Earth is required to do that. It means that the healthcare benefits of some future employee of the Postal Service is fully funded even before that employee draws one breath of life.
Well, today I read that Congressman Peter DeFazio of Oregon has filed a bill to fix that problem so that the US Postal Service can run in the black again. Without this handicapping 2006 legislation, it is said that the Postal Service could have turned a 1.5$ billion profit last year alone.
Truly an embarrassment for the privatizing neoconservatives in Congress.
But there is no guarantee that this sane and logical legislation will make any progress in the House. DeFazio is trying to enlist the citizenry to lobby for the bill on all fronts. A petition is up on the White House’s ”We the People”website.
You know, it’s not a bad idea to go over there and sign the petition. I’m pretty sure that I don’t want to send my snail mail via a private company that’s going to charge an arm and a leg for something that the government monopoly can do for less than 50 cents each.