Post Office Pensions Update: Playing A Game Of Historical Revisionism

Has it really been two months since the Post Office’s financial worries were in the news? Yes, it has.

It was, after all, on April 15 that the Washington Post published an article titled, “The Postal Service needs a bailout. Congress is partly to blame,” and explained in the subtitle, “A 2006 law set the stage to burden the agency with $160 billion in debt.” Regular readers will recall that at the time I explained that the retiree healthcare prefunding requirement of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, despite the enmity so many USPS supporters harbor towards it now, was entirely reasonable at the time, that it may indeed have been appropriate for Congress to cut them some slack when they began to struggle, but that it’s a nonissue now because that contribution schedule is in the past.

(What’s happened in the past two months? The USPS was given a $10 billion loan, but there has been no resolution on the system’s larger financial issues, such as its ability to make its own rate-setting decisions or, with respect to retiree health care, make changes to reduce its costs rather than merely postpone funding them.)

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