President Donald Trump wants to sell off the oldest agency in the United States federal government–the Postal Service. Instead of privatizing what we built as a nation over two centuries, let us invest good policy in our Postal Service, a public system that bound our nation together from for the beginning.
The original Post Office Department started in 1775 with Benjamin Franklin leading it. Rooted in a great principle: that every person in the United States- no matter who, nowhere – has the right to access equal, secure, efficient and affordable mail service.
In 1971, Congress made the service into an independent agency managed by a board of governors. It is true that the rise of companies such as UPS, FedEx, and platforms on the internet has certainly presented the Postal Service with challenges but those are not exclusively the problem. President Donald Trump apparently has a solution.
The purported problem that plagues the U.S Postal Service (USPS) has been created because of bad policy, and Trump fails to understand this.
In 2006, Congress required the Postal Service to “pre-fund” 75 years of its retiree’s health benefits. As a direct result the USPS has reached its $15 billion debt limit. The pre-funding requirement is the biggest hurdle.
By requiring the Postal Service to use all of its borrowing capacity making these annual payments, lawmakers in Washington have hampered the Postal Service from the ability to invest in new infrastructure, products and services to better serve American homes and businesses.
It’s important to note that before the pre-funding requirement went into effect, USPS was profitable and debt free. We need Congress to fix the problem before it’s too late.