Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Yes, the USPS financial crisis is manufactured.  In 2006 Congress passed, and "W." signed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.  Enter the nemesis known as "PREFUNDING".  Be not confused!   This Act did not require the USPS to put aside prudent reserves.  This Act caused overfunding the Postal Workers Pension Fund by, determining on whose doing the counting, $50 BILLION to $80 BILLION.
And how much of that is taxpayer money?  NOT ONE RED CENT!  The Postal Workers have been chipping in paycheck by paycheck with their money being matched by the sales of postage.  NONE OF THIS MONEY CAME FROM THE TREASURY!!!

As reported earlier, the Republican Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Darrell Issa proposed a solution to the USPS money crunch in the way of H.R. 2309, Postal Reform Act of 2011.  On June 23rd  this bill was referred to Issa's committee and then referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service, and Labor Policy.   On that same day the bill was referred to the Rules Committee.  In these two places the bill languishes, hopefully to expire quietly.

A true glimmer of hope comes in the form of H.R. 1351, the United States Postal Service Pension Obligation Recalculation and Restoration Act of 2011.  This bill has bi-partisan support and it makes sense. 

H.R. 1351 establishes a benchmark "average pay" and appropriate percentages to be used in calculating annuities [pension benefits] for Postal Workers under the Civil Service Retirement System. 

This bill Requires the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) within six months after enactment of H.R. 1351, to determine (or, if applicable, re-determine) the amount of such surplus or liability as of the close of the most recently ending fiscal year using the methodology required under this bill.

Then OPM must, after determining the amount of the surplus, transfer the surplus amount to the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund within 15 days after the determination of a surplus.

Addressing the pernicious prepayment requirements of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, H.R. 1351 mandates an alternate determination of an USPS surplus or supplemental liability for FY2016-FY2010.  I think I see the Postal Workers getting a fair shake.

H.R. 1351 cleans up the health care prepayment problem by requiring transfer of certain surplus postal retirement contributions in FY2011 to the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund or the Employees' Compensation Fund under the Federal Employees Compensation Act.

Finally, H.R. 1351 expresses the intent of Congress that this bill shall apply to allocations of past, present, and future benefit liabilities between the USPS and the Treasury.  And that should restore fiscal sanity to the USPS and prevent the needless closure of Post Offices, curtailment of Saturday service, and avoid firing a hundred thousand Postal Workers. 

More can be done.  Retired Postal Worker Joe Chiappone, who lives in Amarillo, Texas made some good suggestions on the Opinion page of the Amarillo Globe-News September 3rd.  Chiappone says:
First, may I suggest an independent audit to address the relationship between cost and revenue for each postal piece including the delivery of said piece, not only for first class letters but for standard mail and newspapers too? Preparation-wise, the USPS should no longer be paying private mail companies anything for presorting letter mail. The USPS currently has the technology to run raw letter mail in-house without any outside help. As for third-class “standard” mail, any discounts awarded these mailers should have the price of delivery factored in. Charge them a fair price, and damn the direct mail lobby.

Collect a team from leading business universities in America to review best business practices involving the ratio of managers to craft employees. In a 2011 study by the Congressional Research Service, the 2010 Postal Service employed 593,908 career employees. However, those in a management capacity (excluding the Inspection Service) total 60,903. That is one top-heavy 1-in-10 ratio, and these are folks who rarely touch the mail.

Finally, let’s move on to the mindblowing (and unprecedented) plan of breaking all existing contracts. Not only might the USPS add multiple lawsuits to its costs, but according to labor expert Harvey Shaiken, “It would make the federal government the largest contract- breaker in the country.” The proposed cuts would put another 100,000-plus people on the unemployment line, and most of them would also be eligible for severance pay. As for the USPS managing its own retirement and health care, this idea would be laughable if it weren’t so potentially disastrous. Remember, they hold a monopoly over the processing and delivery of letters and apparently can’t handle that. Can they be trusted with such huge new ambitious projects?
I agree with Mr. Chiappone.  For the USPS to be competitive it must charge a realistic price for the work it does.  It does not make sense to discount work, e.g. letter sorting, which can be performed routinely by the USPS at no additional costs.  The tail to trigger ratio is too lopsided.  What the USPS needs, and the public should demand, is a leaner and more efficient management team at USPS.  We should focus on paying the persons who have hands on responsibility for delivering the mail.  We should commit ourselves to supporting those Postal Workers selling stamps, collecting mail, sorting, shipping, routing, and delivering the mail.  That's where the rubber meets the road.  Pension and Health Care Trust Funds should be held IN TRUST by reliable third party administrators, not be left behind for the USPS Management Team to plunder.

Representative Issa's New Ride?

If Darrell Issa's Jobs Plan is to fire 100,000 plus folks from the USPS then he should be tarred, feathered, and run out of Washington on a rail.

H.R. 1351 has a lot of support in the House.  From the Thomas website, http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php, here is the list of the 204 Cosponsors, in alphabetical order.

Rep Ackerman, Gary L. [NY-5] - 4/15/2011
Rep Altmire, Jason [PA-4] - 5/10/2011
Rep Andrews, Robert E. [NJ-1] - 4/7/2011
Rep Baca, Joe [CA-43] - 5/12/2011
Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] - 5/23/2011
Rep Barrow, John [GA-12] - 9/8/2011
Rep Bass, Charles F. [NH-2] - 7/6/2011
Rep Bass, Karen [CA-33] - 5/23/2011
Rep Becerra, Xavier [CA-31] - 9/8/2011
Rep Berkley, Shelley [NV-1] - 5/25/2011
Rep Berman, Howard L. [CA-28] - 5/23/2011
Rep Bishop, Rob [UT-1] - 9/2/2011
Rep Bishop, Sanford D., Jr. [GA-2] - 9/12/2011
Rep Bishop, Timothy H. [NY-1] - 5/5/2011
Rep Blumenauer, Earl [OR-3] - 5/12/2011
Rep Bordallo, Madeleine Z. [GU] - 9/2/2011
Rep Boren, Dan [OK-2] - 9/2/2011
Rep Boswell, Leonard L. [IA-3] - 5/12/2011
Rep Brady, Robert A. [PA-1] - 4/7/2011
Rep Braley, Bruce L. [IA-1] - 5/10/2011
Rep Butterfield, G. K. [NC-1] - 5/24/2011
Rep Capps, Lois [CA-23] - 6/21/2011
Rep Capuano, Michael E. [MA-8] - 7/6/2011
Rep Cardoza, Dennis A. [CA-18] - 5/10/2011
Rep Carnahan, Russ [MO-3] - 7/6/2011
Rep Carson, Andre [IN-7] - 5/23/2011
Rep Carter, John R. [TX-31] - 5/26/2011
Rep Castor, Kathy [FL-11] - 5/5/2011
Rep Chandler, Ben [KY-6] - 5/5/2011
Rep Christensen, Donna M. [VI] - 9/9/2011
Rep Chu, Judy [CA-32] - 5/5/2011
Rep Cicilline, David N. [RI-1] - 5/26/2011
Rep Clarke, Hansen [MI-13] - 5/5/2011
Rep Clarke, Yvette D. [NY-11] - 5/12/2011
Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy [MO-1] - 4/5/2011
Rep Cleaver, Emanuel [MO-5] - 5/5/2011
Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9] - 5/23/2011
Rep Connolly, Gerald E. "Gerry" [VA-11] - 4/5/2011
Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] - 9/2/2011
Rep Costa, Jim [CA-20] - 5/13/2011
Rep Costello, Jerry F. [IL-12] - 6/13/2011
Rep Courtney, Joe [CT-2] - 4/15/2011
Rep Critz, Mark S. [PA-12] - 5/10/2011
Rep Crowley, Joseph [NY-7] - 4/15/2011
Rep Cummings, Elijah E. [MD-7] - 4/4/2011
Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-7] - 4/5/2011
Rep Davis, Susan A. [CA-53] - 5/5/2011
Rep DeFazio, Peter A. [OR-4] - 9/9/2011
Rep DeGette, Diana [CO-1] - 5/10/2011
Rep DeLauro, Rosa L. [CT-3] - 5/5/2011
Rep Dent, Charles W. [PA-15] - 9/2/2011
Rep Deutch, Theodore E. [FL-19] - 5/5/2011
Rep Dicks, Norman D. [WA-6] - 7/28/2011
Rep Dingell, John D. [MI-15] - 7/15/2011
Rep Doggett, Lloyd [TX-25] - 7/15/2011
Rep Donnelly, Joe [IN-2] - 9/12/2011
Rep Doyle, Michael F. [PA-14] - 5/5/2011
Rep Edwards, Donna F. [MD-4] - 6/3/2011
Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5] - 5/23/2011
Rep Emerson, Jo Ann [MO-8] - 9/2/2011
Rep Engel, Eliot L. [NY-17] - 5/23/2011
Rep Eshoo, Anna G. [CA-14] - 6/1/2011
Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17] - 4/15/2011
Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] - 5/12/2011
Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] - 4/15/2011
Rep Fitzpatrick, Michael G. [PA-8] - 5/12/2011
Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4] - 4/7/2011
Rep Fudge, Marcia L. [OH-11] - 5/26/2011
Rep Garamendi, John [CA-10] - 4/15/2011
Rep Gerlach, Jim [PA-6] - 5/12/2011
Rep Gonzalez, Charles A. [TX-20] - 7/15/2011
Rep Green, Al [TX-9] - 7/15/2011
Rep Green, Gene [TX-29] - 5/26/2011
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] - 5/5/2011
Rep Grimm, Michael G. [NY-13] - 5/23/2011
Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-4] - 9/2/2011
Rep Hahn, Janice [CA-36] - 8/5/2011
Rep Hanabusa, Colleen W. [HI-1] - 6/1/2011
Rep Hanna, Richard L. [NY-24] - 5/5/2011
Rep Hastings, Alcee L. [FL-23] - 4/7/2011
Rep Heinrich, Martin [NM-1] - 5/5/2011
Rep Higgins, Brian [NY-27] - 5/5/2011
Rep Himes, James A. [CT-4] - 5/5/2011
Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] - 5/5/2011
Rep Hinojosa, Ruben [TX-15] - 9/2/2011
Rep Hirono, Mazie K. [HI-2] - 5/12/2011
Rep Hochul, Kathleen C. [NY-26] - 6/24/2011
Rep Holden, Tim [PA-17] - 4/7/2011
Rep Holt, Rush D. [NJ-12] - 5/24/2011
Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-15] - 5/10/2011
Rep Inslee, Jay [WA-1] - 6/1/2011
Rep Israel, Steve [NY-2] - 5/10/2011
Rep Jackson Lee, Sheila [TX-18] - 5/26/2011
Rep Jackson, Jesse L., Jr. [IL-2] - 6/3/2011
Rep Jenkins, Lynn [KS-2] - 6/3/2011
Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice [TX-30] - 5/26/2011
Rep Johnson, Henry C. "Hank," Jr. [GA-4] - 6/13/2011
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] - 5/23/2011
Rep Kaptur, Marcy [OH-9] - 5/10/2011
Rep Keating, William R. [MA-10] - 5/12/2011
Rep Kildee, Dale E. [MI-5] - 4/15/2011
Rep Kind, Ron [WI-3] - 9/9/2011
Rep King, Peter T. [NY-3] - 7/6/2011
Rep Kissell, Larry [NC-8] - 5/26/2011
Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. [OH-10] - 4/5/2011
Rep Lance, Leonard [NJ-7] - 7/11/2011
Rep Langevin, James R. [RI-2] - 5/24/2011
Rep Larsen, Rick [WA-2] - 5/12/2011
Rep Larson, John B. [CT-1] - 5/5/2011
Rep Latham, Tom [IA-4] - 6/3/2011
Rep LaTourette, Steven C. [OH-14] - 7/20/2011
Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] - 5/23/2011
Rep Levin, Sander M. [MI-12] - 6/24/2011
Rep Lipinski, Daniel [IL-3] - 7/25/2011
Rep LoBiondo, Frank A. [NJ-2] - 6/3/2011
Rep Loebsack, David [IA-2] - 5/5/2011
Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-16] - 4/15/2011
Rep Lowey, Nita M. [NY-18] - 7/6/2011
Rep Lujan, Ben Ray [NM-3] - 5/26/2011
Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-14] - 4/15/2011
Rep Marino, Tom [PA-10] - 9/2/2011
Rep Markey, Edward J. [MA-7] - 6/24/2011
Rep Matheson, Jim [UT-2] - 9/8/2011
Rep Matsui, Doris O. [CA-5] - 6/13/2011
Rep McCarthy, Carolyn [NY-4] - 4/15/2011
Rep McCollum, Betty [MN-4] - 7/11/2011
Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7] - 6/13/2011
Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3] - 5/26/2011
Rep McIntyre, Mike [NC-7] - 5/24/2011
Rep McNerney, Jerry [CA-11] - 5/12/2011
Rep Meehan, Patrick [PA-7] - 7/28/2011
Rep Meeks, Gregory W. [NY-6] - 7/6/2011
Rep Michaud, Michael H. [ME-2] - 5/12/2011
Rep Miller, George [CA-7] - 7/25/2011
Rep Moore, Gwen [WI-4] - 5/13/2011
Rep Moran, James P. [VA-8] - 4/7/2011
Rep Murphy, Christopher S. [CT-5] - 5/5/2011
Rep Nadler, Jerrold [NY-8] - 4/15/2011
Rep Napolitano, Grace F. [CA-38] - 5/23/2011
Rep Neal, Richard E. [MA-2] - 7/15/2011
Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [DC] - 4/5/2011
Rep Olver, John W. [MA-1] - 6/21/2011
Rep Owens, William L. [NY-23] - 5/5/2011
Rep Pallone, Frank, Jr. [NJ-6] - 6/1/2011
Rep Pascrell, Bill, Jr. [NJ-8] - 5/5/2011
Rep Pastor, Ed [AZ-4] - 5/23/2011
Rep Payne, Donald M. [NJ-10] - 5/10/2011
Rep Perlmutter, Ed [CO-7] - 5/12/2011
Rep Peters, Gary C. [MI-9] - 5/12/2011
Rep Peterson, Collin C. [MN-7] - 6/3/2011
Rep Pierluisi, Pedro R. [PR] - 5/5/2011
Rep Pingree, Chellie [ME-1] - 6/13/2011
Rep Platts, Todd Russell [PA-19] - 5/12/2011
Rep Polis, Jared [CO-2] - 5/10/2011
Rep Quigley, Mike [IL-5] - 5/13/2011
Rep Rahall, Nick J., II [WV-3] - 5/5/2011
Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] - 5/25/2011
Rep Reyes, Silvestre [TX-16] - 5/25/2011
Rep Richardson, Laura [CA-37] - 4/7/2011
Rep Richmond, Cedric L. [LA-2] - 6/24/2011
Rep Ross, Mike [AR-4] - 6/13/2011
Rep Rothman, Steven R. [NJ-9] - 5/5/2011
Rep Roybal-Allard, Lucille [CA-34] - 5/23/2011
Rep Runyan, Jon [NJ-3] - 6/21/2011
Rep Ruppersberger, C. A. Dutch [MD-2] - 9/8/2011
Rep Rush, Bobby L. [IL-1] - 5/12/2011
Rep Ryan, Tim [OH-17] - 5/10/2011
Rep Sanchez, Linda T. [CA-39] - 5/24/2011
Rep Sanchez, Loretta [CA-47] - 6/21/2011
Rep Sarbanes, John P. [MD-3] - 9/2/2011
Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9] - 5/10/2011
Rep Schiff, Adam B. [CA-29] - 5/5/2011
Rep Schrader, Kurt [OR-5] - 6/24/2011
Rep Schwartz, Allyson Y. [PA-13] - 5/26/2011
Rep Scott, Robert C. "Bobby" [VA-3] - 7/11/2011
Rep Serrano, Jose E. [NY-16] - 5/12/2011
Rep Sewell, Terri A. [AL-7] - 7/6/2011
Rep Sherman, Brad [CA-27] - 4/15/2011
Rep Shuler, Heath [NC-11] - 5/23/2011
Rep Sires, Albio [NJ-13] - 5/12/2011
Rep Slaughter, Louise McIntosh [NY-28] - 4/15/2011
Rep Smith, Adam [WA-9] - 5/26/2011
Rep Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4] - 5/26/2011
Rep Speier, Jackie [CA-12] - 4/15/2011
Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13] - 7/11/2011
Rep Sutton, Betty [OH-13] - 4/7/2011
Rep Thompson, Mike [CA-1] - 4/15/2011
Rep Tierney, John F. [MA-6] - 4/5/2011
Rep Tonko, Paul [NY-21] - 5/5/2011
Rep Towns, Edolphus [NY-10] - 4/5/2011
Rep Tsongas, Niki [MA-5] - 8/5/2011
Rep Velazquez, Nydia M. [NY-12] - 7/25/2011
Rep Visclosky, Peter J. [IN-1] - 5/5/2011
Rep Walz, Timothy J. [MN-1] - 5/5/2011
Rep Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [FL-20] - 5/5/2011
Rep Waters, Maxine [CA-35] - 5/5/2011
Rep Watt, Melvin L. [NC-12] - 9/8/2011
Rep Waxman, Henry A. [CA-30] - 9/8/2011
Rep Welch, Peter [VT] - 4/15/2011
Rep Wilson, Frederica [FL-17] - 6/21/2011
Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] - 4/15/2011
Rep Wu, David [OR-1] - 5/10/2011
Rep Yarmuth, John A. [KY-3] - 4/7/2011
Rep Young, Don [AK] - 4/15/2011

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