The US Postal Service, in case you missed the news, is in financial difficulty and to be fair it's not entirely their own fault. The USPS is an independent agency of the government and does not receive taxpayer money for its operations but it is subject to congressional control, and therein lies the problem. It estimates that it is now losing $25 million a day, which includes $5 billion projected savings it had expected to be accruing by now if Congress this spring had approved its five-year profitability plan.
The plan would cut Saturday delivery, reduce low-volume postal facilities and end its obligation to pay more than $5 billion each year for future retiree payments. It is this last item that is causing the immediate crisis as the Postal Service, with cash running perilously low, is expected to default on the $5.5 billion due Wednesday and another $5.6 due in September. The defaults won't cause any kind of catastrophe in day-to-day mail service and post offices will remain open, but Post Master General Patrick Donahoe has described a "crisis of confidence" that could lead even once-loyal customers to abandon use of the mail, thereby compounding the problem.
So that's the status quo for the post office, which finds itself increasingly preoccupied with staving off immediate bankruptcy while Congress delays on the postal overhaul bill. This is not unexpected, of course, because there are those in Congress who would love nothing more than for the USPS to go away so all of those lucrative contracts could go to private corporations run by their rich friends, so they can get even richer at the expense of the American public.
Imagine how you would feel if the Postal Service announced that it was closing the Post Office in your town or your neighborhood - I'll bet you'd be outraged and do everything you could to prevent such a disaster from occurring. Well, how do you feel about the very real possibility of the closing of all the post offices? It could happen, people, unless we let our elected officials know how important it is to us that they remain open. So write, call, email or fax your congressional delegation, all of them, and tell them to pass the postal overhaul bill currently pending - it has passed the Senate and is awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives.
And if they don't pass it, vote the bastards out in November - because if they can't even keep the Post Office open they don't deserve to be in office. Our founding fathers thought the post office was important enough to authorize its establishment in the Constitution, and some in the current Congress want to get rid of it? Seriously, do you think these people are representing the American people who elected them or the corporations who financed them?
How do you feel about having YOUR Post Office closed? Tell your congressperson.