(Alexandria, VA) -- As volatile energy prices threaten to push the Postal Service's deficit (and planned rate hike) even higher, Congress's second-class postal "reform" legislation is not up to the job of protecting consumers and taxpayers: that's the assessment of an Issue Brief released today from the 350,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), which is urging the U.S. Senate to reject the so-called "Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act" currently awaiting floor action after the House passed its own bill in July.
"Far from launching comprehensive reforms to bring the nation's ailing postal monopoly into the 21st Century, the legislation now grinding its way through Congress merely offers a recycled 'grab bag' of reorganization measures," said NTU Government Affairs Manager and Issue Brief author Kristina Rasmussen. "Fortunately, the Senate, and if necessary the President, can still send these bills to the dead-letter bin."
According to Rasmussen, one of the first mistakes legislators made in drafting the current postal bills (H.R. 22 and S. 662) was to largely ignore the recommendations of the President's Commission on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Though that panel disappointingly spurned full-scale privatization, its suggestions could have been the basis of honest reform legislation. Instead, H.R. 22 and S. 662 are fraught with hidden liabilities:
- Paltry Savings. Even though the average postal employee is 25 percent better-compensated than his or her private-sector counterpart, and billions have been spent on labor-enhancing technologies, USPS productivity gains have been negligible. Yet, instead of tackling problems like these, S. 662 makes only cosmetic changes -- according to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill would only reduce USPS's costs by 1 percent over the next 25 years.