The U.S. Postal Service is one of the most important institutions in America. It is enormously important to our economy, providing a vital service to tens of millions of Americans and businesses. It also provides hundreds of thousands of decent-paying jobs.
Unfortunately, for political reasons, the USPS has been under a major attack for many years – primarily by those who don’t like government and who would like as much privatization as possible. “There are those in Congress and in the Postal Service leadership who would like to slow mail delivery significantly, end door-to-door service, shut down thousands of rural post offices, end Saturday mail and, in the process, eliminate tens of thousands of jobs,” Bernie said.
One of the arguments for these massive cuts is that the Postal Service is losing substantial sums of money. The reality, however, is that is far from true. Since 2007, nearly 80 percent of the financial losses at the Postal Service is the result of an unprecedented and onerous financial burden, pushed by the Bush Administration in 2006, which forces the Postal Service to pay 75 years of future retiree health benefits in a 10-year period. This burden costs the Postal Service about $5.5 billion a year.
The most recent quarterly financial report from the Postal Service shows that without that burden the Postal Service would have earned a $660 million profit in the third quarter of this year and a $330 million profit since last October.
Bernie believes that there needs to be significant changes in the way the Postal Service operates to help it thrive in the digital age. But the answer is not simply to cut, cut, cut. He has proposed legislation, which has 29 Senate co-sponsors, that would give the Postal Service the tools it needs to be financially viable while providing quality and timely service to allow the Postal Service to continue to play a vital role in our economy.
Many Vermonters agree with Bernie. “Saturday mail is important because we need to get our bills on time and be able to pay before they are due,” said Peg Grimaed, 75, of Windsor, Vt.
“Not everyone can use or has a computer to pay their bills online, nor would they trust the online way due to hacking and identity theft,” writes 52-year-old Maria Rogers.
“Door to door delivery is what I rely on,” said Bert Thompson, 58, of Johnson, Vt.