Postal disservice

Props to Tim Jones for drawing my attention to Dave Lieber’s Feb. 17 “Watchdog” column in the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram.

According to Lieber’s column, it seems the Jan. 8 rate increase by the United States Postal Service was actually a surreptitious way of funding military pensions and, well, nobody knows exactly what else.

For once, though, the postal service isn’t the one to blame. As it clearly pointed out in its Nov. 14, 2005 press release first announcing the rate increase:

“This rate increase – the first since 2002 – is needed to fulfill the requirement of a federal law passed in 2003. That law requires the Postal Service to establish a $3.1 billion escrow account, with use of the funds to be determined by Congress at a later date. Without this federal mandate, it would not have been necessary to raise rates in 2006.”

By its own accounting, the USPS concluded fiscal year 2005 with a net income of $1.4 billion, including record revenues of $70 billion and record volume of 212 billion pieces of mail (at least eight of which were delivered to me instead of to whomever they were addressed).

Translation: the postal service is making money but the federal government isn’t, so we just can’t let that happen.

The postal service is an independent establishment of the government’s executive branch that’s run like a business instead of a bureacracy/circus. It receives NO tax money; all postal operations must be fully-funded by the sale of postage and related services.

If that weren’t bad enough, senior postal officials warn that current Senate bill S. 662, the so-called “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act,” could end up costing consumers even more.

“[S. 662] not only strips the Postal Service of much of its management authority,” said Tom Day, USPS senior vice president for government relations, in a press release, “but almost guarantees a hefty rate increase.”

S. 662 is sponsored by Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-Maine), the legendary author of other such memorable pieces of recent legislation as “A bill to suspend temporarily the duty on certain rayon staple fibers” and “A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a business credit against income for the purchase of fishing safety equipment.”

Perhaps I should look into starting a nice career as a fishing safety consultant.  At least then, hopefully, I wouldn’t need to buy much postage.

I'm a Mid-South photojournalist, Kentucky writer and digital media consultant (or eNinja™). Circle me on Google Plus at, follow me on Twitter at @surattb and Instagram me at @BillySuratt. Got a news tip or suggestion about some journalism that needs committed? Email (discretion is always guaranteed).

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