The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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February 11, 2013

Your View: Allow post office to do what it can do better than others

The Postal Service has announced plans to end Saturday delivery of mail. But just what is the true cost of postal service?

In 1970, the Postal Reorganization Act abolished the U.S. Post Office Department and created the U.S. Postal Service as a corporate-like agency. Even though the act specifically states that costs for mail service shall not be apportioned to impair the overall service, ever since that time some people and politicians have demanded that the USPS make a profit.

The problem is that in 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act which requires the agency to pre-pay health care benefits of all employees who will retire during the next 75 years. And to do so by 2016.

This costs over $5 billion a year. So far, the post office has managed to pay this ridiculous demand without any help from taxpayers. In fact, during the past four years, it has actually produced a $700 million profit.

Why has Congress placed such a burden on the post office when it would never dare do such a thing to any private agency such as FedEx? The answer is simple — they want to privatize the post office.

This is part of the movement to privatize government services that has gripped many on the right since Reagan.

It is time to end this charade and allow the post office to do what it can do better than any private organization. It is time to amend the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act so that the Postal Service does not have to pay for health benefits of employees who have not even been born.

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