A USPS myth was demolished at House hearing April 15 — a myth that serves as the Postal Service’s rationale for eliminating Saturday mail delivery.
In response to questions by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Postmaster General John E. Potter admitted that predictions that the Postal Service would amass losses of $238 billion by the year 2020 were “theoretical.” The exchange confirms allegations made by the APWU that the USPS forecast is wildly exaggerated, outlandish and unsupported. [See Phony Deficit Projections Mask Management’s Real Goal]
The projections, which were widely reported in the mainstream press, have been cited by the Postal Service repeatedly as justification for ending six-day delivery
But Potter and Phillip Herr, of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), admitted in response to Connolly’s questioning that the figure is based on the premise that management would “do nothing” over the next 10 years to reduce costs, and that revenue, mail volume and the number of employees would remain unchanged.
“I’m a little concerned that in bandying about this $238 billion number, we’re ignoring some obvious things that are going to happen,” Connolly said. “It looks, frankly, a little bit like a scare tactic to get us to make some decisions.”
The figure would only be valid if nothing changes, Herr admitted. “The number was by far a worst-case scenario,” he said, “a number the Postal Service came up with.”
The exchange ended with Connolly addressing Potter about the validity of the $238 billion projection:
Connolly: “You’d have to assume for $238 billion to be real, we do nothing, including you. You’ve already said you’re going to use the authority you have to make reductions totaling $123 billion. Is that correct?”
Potter: “That’s correct.”
Connolly: “So the $238 billion number is already not real.”
Potter: “It’s a theoretical number.”
The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform also heard testimony from Ruth Goldway, chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission; David Williams, Inspector General, USPS Office of Inspector General; John O’Brien, senior advisor to the director, Office of Personnel Management; and Kevin Kosar, analyst, Congressional Research Service.