The United States Post Office, provided for in the U.S. Constitution, is poised to go bankrupt by the end of September.
There are two major causes of this terrible possibility: The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), passed in 2006, required the USPS to set aside $5.5 billion a year to pre-pay health-care benefits for future employees. No other business or government organization is required to do such a thing.
COVID-19 has resulted in a huge reduction in advertising mailers—causing the Post Office to lose $2 billion per month—not to mention expenses for the many heroic postal workers who have tested positive for the coronavirus and are sick or in quarantine. More than 40 postal workers have died.
Here is what we lose if the USPS goes under:
Range of delivery: The USPS is legally required to deliver all mail at a flat rate to every address in the country—no matter how remote. Private delivery businesses have no such requirement. What happens to rural and remote delivery without that requirement? How will people get their essential supplies, including medications, during the pandemic? How will the 2020 census be conducted accurately? How will we hold free and fair elections in November, without danger to the health of voters, if there is no USPS?
What can we do?
The HEROES Act, which was passed by the House, contains a provision of $25 billion to keep the USPS solvent. Like much worthwhile legislation nowadays, it is sitting in the Senate, waiting for a vote. Write or call all your members of Congress/Senators, stating how important the USPS is and how essential it is to keep it from going bankrupt. If you have friends or relatives in states with Republican senators, ask them to do likewise.
Only if the Senate steps up to the plate can the Post Office be saved.
Mary Lee Cozad