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    Postal Service saddled with funding mandates

    I DISAGREE with Jeff Jacoby’s Dec. 11 op-ed column “E-mail isn’t killing the Postal Service,’’ in which he argues that a lack of competition is hurting the post office. He is correct, in part. While electronic diversion certainly has had a detrimental impact on first-class mail, it isn’t killing the Postal Service. Jacoby failed to address the 800-pound gorilla on the post office’s back, courtesy of Congress.

    Jacoby asserts that “not many institutions enjoy the benefits that federal law confers on the Postal Service.’’ Let me bring to his attention one of these so-called benefits. Congress mandates that the Postal Service pre-fund its retiree health care costs 75 years in advance, a mandate no other federal agency or private company is forced to pay. Absent that annual $5 billion “benefit,’’ the Postal Service would be profitable.

    Further, when the Postal Service underpays its pension obligations, it receives a bill from the government. When it overpays, which it has to the tune of $11 billion, the government keeps the cash. Not a bad deal for the Treasury. Representative Stephen Lynch has proposed legislation to fix these costly errors and unfair obligations.

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    John J. Casciano

    National business agent

    National Association of Letter Carriers

    West Roxbury