Congress Says the Check Is in the Mail
Congress is already congratulating itself on a bipartisan “reform” of the U.S. Postal Service. The House bill passed 342-92 this month, and it has good prospects in the Senate. Too bad this legislation is an accounting shuffle that’s comic in how much it misses the point.
The USPS has lost money for 15 straight years, a total of $92 billion since 2007. This is often blamed on a 2006 law that requires it to set aside money for retiree health benefits. Yet the mandate has turned into an accounting fiction because the USPS hasn’t made the payments since 2010. It’s $52 billion in the hole. Congress’s solution is to throw out the prefunding rule, so the USPS can adopt a pay-as-you-go model.
In other words, lawmakers want to give the USPS permission to quit making payments that it stopped making a decade ago. What an idea! Perhaps the IRS, which failed to answer 250 million incoming calls last year, could cut that to zero calls by refusing to pay the phone bill.