Rolando to Issa: Don’t send USPS into a death spiral
Jan. 16, 2012 -- A commentary piece written by NALC President Fredric Rolando was published in the Sunday, Jan. 15 edition of Southern California’s Press-Enterprise, a major newspaper in Rep. Darrell Issa’s district.
Issa is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. His so-called postal reform bill, H.R. 2309, contains provisions that, were it to become law, would destroy the U.S. Postal Service while hurting people and businesses.
In Rolando’s item, which was a response to Issa’s Dec. 18 op-ed in the Press-Enterprise, the NALC president laid out a compelling argument against the congressman’s efforts and discussed what should instead be done.
“[Issa’s] op-ed is all over the lot in citing culprits: management, e-commerce, workers and more,” Rolando wrote. “Those are assertions masquerading as analysis.”
The president refuted Issa’s conclusions using a number of easily verifiable facts, including:
- Fiscal years 2007-2010 saw a Postal Service net profit of $611 million delivering the mail, despite the worst recession in 80 years.
- The $20 billion in red ink during that same time period stems from the 2006 postal reform law mandate that the Postal Service—alone among all agencies and firms—pre-fund future retiree health benefits for the next 75 years within a decade.
“Issa’s piece failed to mention this manufactured crisis—a smart move, because then the rest
of his narrative, as well as his congressional bill, would fall apart,” Rolando wrote.
Instead, the president continued, “Issa favors slashing postal services to residents and businesses. He favors tasking bureaucrats in Washington with managing the Postal Service instead of the professionals. He favors abrogating contracts with hardworking letter carriers who deliver in your communities.”
Rolando wrote that Congress needs to fix the pre-funding fiasco it created, but noted that a bill
to do so, H.R. 1351—which has a bipartisan majority of co-sponsors in the House—can’t move forward because Issa won’t let it come to a vote.
Meanwhile, Issa’s “reform” bill has two co-sponsors: himself, and freshman Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL).
If the alleviated the financial strain of pre-funding, Rolando noted, “the postal community could focus on adapting to an evolving society, as it has for 200 years...through efficiencies and growing the business.”
“By contrast, degrading services would send the Postal Service into a death spiral by driving customers away and reducing revenues,” he wrote. “Destroying something to save it is never good public policy.”