The APWU has rejected a call from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) to cancel a union-sponsored television ad that has been airing on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News. “The APWU stands by the ad, which dispels the myth that the USPS is funded by taxpayers,” APWU President Cliff Guffey wrote on July 15 [PDF].
The union’s 30-second ad describes the enormity of the job postal workers do, and ends with a question and response: Ever wonder what this costs you as a taxpayer? Not a single cent.
In a letter to President Cliff Guffey dated July 11 [PDF], the day the ad began airing, Issa called the ad “misleading,” and in a July 13 posting on the Web site of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which he chairs, Issaasked the union to cancel the ad campaign.
Guffey noted that Issa acknowledged in his letter that, “It is true that the Postal Service no longer receives an annual subsidy for basic operations from the federal government, and has not for some time.”
“This is a simple fact that the ad accurately conveys to the American people,” the union president wrote.
“We reject your letter’s attempt to obscure this fundamental truth,” he continued. In his letter and on the Web page, Issa cited a report by the Federal Trade Commission [PDF], which claims the Postal Service receives “implicit subsidies,” such as preferential tax treatment and other benefits. The so-called “implicit subsidies” provide no revenue to the Postal Service, and Issa failed to note that the FTC report — and others issued by the USPS Office of Inspector General [PDF] and the Postal Regulatory Commission [PDF] — also point out that the USPS is required to serve every American citizen at a uniform rate, and that the costs of the universal service obligation far exceed the so-called “implicit subsidies.”
“Your reference to so-called ‘implicit subsidies’ incorrectly suggests that the Postal Service is being funded by taxpayers,” Guffey wrote. The USPS enjoys benefits because of its obligation to provide service to every American business and household — even when it is not cost-effective to do so.
“Our ad is correct,” he concluded. “The Postal Service is not subsidized by taxpayers. We will continue to publicize this important truth.”