SAN FRANCISCO KGO — We’ve heard about the effect of online bill paying and the impact of the great recession as reasons behind the U.S. Postal Service cutting Saturday services. But far less has been reported about a 2006 law that was really a poisoned pill for the Postal Service.
In 2006, the Postal Service wasn’t in debt. It was making money and handling a record amount of mail.
But then internet bill paying began cutting into the Postal Service’s bread and butter. The great recession pushed revenue down even further and Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, requiring the USPS to prefund retiree health benefits 75 years into the future and to pay all of that money in the next 10 years.
“The Postal Service is the only agency required to make that retiree healthcare benefit,” USPS spokesperson James Wigdel said. “Every other agency is required to pay as you go.”
Some progressive reports have tried to make out the funding requirement as a poisoned pill pushed by small government Republicans intended on bankrupting the Postal Service, but two of the three co-sponsors were Democrats, including Henry Waxman of Los Angeles.