Postal Crisis: The Issues

by Glenn Littrell
Confused about how the Postal Service got into this mess? It didn’t happen by accident. For over 200 years the Postal Service has survived recessions, depressions, invasions (Revolutionary War, War of 1812), Civil War, World Wars, Cold Wars and Prohibition. Technology that was supposed to eliminate it but didn’t: the stagecoach, the steamboat, the telegraph, the telephone and the fax machine.
The decline of the mail order business, faster transportation and the interstate highway system were supposed to lead to the demise of the Postal Service. Yet the Postal Service makes Amazon.com, E-bay and NetFlix possible and after nearly a century of being the main impetus behind local and state highway/road systems the Postal Service increased their relevance and efficiency as a result of the building of the interstate highway system.
The Postal Service has survived and thrived through all of this but now we are in a crisis?
The crisis exist not because the Postal Service has become a victim of unforeseen or naturally occurring economics calamities. Declining volume and the recession have had an impact, but the Postal Service has survived worse. The crisis is not caused by the Unions forcing concessions. Pay increases have been modest, employees contribute to their retirement and health insurance and there has not been a job action since 1970.
The Postal Service is where it is now because in 2006, following three years of profit without a stamp increase, the forces of privatization* came together and managed to pass devastating legislation that saddled the Postal Service with unsustainable financial obligations that doomed it to financial ruin. Fulfilling the objectives of the Privatizers: run the service into the ground until the public becomes accepting of the idea of privatization.         
*right-wing republicans, corporate America, and forces within the upper levels of the Postal Service (reference last two Postmasters: Henderson & Potter)
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For a clearer understanding of the issues view the following videos and then click here to review current postal legislation in the House and Senate. The last two videos are for a perspective.