Have You Heard About the Postal Service Bailout?

There are some stories that you just don’t read about in very many places. I read tonight on the WSJ’s editorial page about an upcoming bail-out for the US Postal Service, which has just about reached the end of a $15 billion line of credit extended to it by the feds earlier this year.  Think about snail mail. How vital is it really any more?  Saturday delivery? Most of us can live without it. Yet the membership of the American Postal Workers Union just finished negotiating a new contract with a 3.5 % pay increase over three years, adding to their average $41 per hour compensation, plus automatic cost of living raises and expanded no-layoff protections.  All of this when there’s been a  drop of more than 20 billion letters mailed since 2006!

Often when I walk by a town office or postal employee, I think of these gold-plated benefit and wages packages that no one in private industry can even imagine…pensions for life with tiny health insurance premiums, and it makes me seeth. The public trough has never been more desirable.  A bill is looming in Congress to fork over $50-75 billion to the USPS by having the federal government underwrite their retirement costs, which is three times as much as what was saved during the first year of the just completed 2011 federal budget deal.

Businesses that lose money deserve to suffer big cuts, not get more and more government hand-outs. There is a reason few people rely on the postal service any more. There are simply better ways to deliver messages, and just because they have a powerful union with representatives in every congressional district doesn’t justify pumping so much money into the USPS.