In a letter to the editor of the Washington Post, Robert Rapoza, President of the National Association of Postmasters (NAPUS) wrote:
The “Failure to deliver” editorial misdiagnosed the cause of the Postal Service’s challenges and suggested treatment that makes matters worse.
The $8.5 billion Postal Service loss that the editorial mentioned stems primarily from a law that foists a $5.6 billion annual payment on the USPS to prefund retiree health costs. Also, the government raised the Postal Service’s payment to the workers compensation fund by $2.5 billion. Ironically, two nationally recognized actuarial firms determined that the USPS had been required to overfund its pensions by $50 billion to $75 billion.
The Post, however, recommended that Congress extort the USPS to secure its surplus pension contributions. In part, The Post recommended weakening a statute, enabling the USPS to close “unprofitable” post offices. This recommendation is problematic. First, post office profitability is meaningless, because offices deliver and distribute mail – inherently “unprofitable” services. Second, many “unprofitable” offices serve rural communities and are the communities’ sole commercial and communications access points.
Third, closing all small post offices would save only 0.7 percent of the USPS’s budget. Before cutting services, Congress should treat the “most trusted agency” fairly, and the Postal Service must trim its administrative overhead.