Why is the U.S. raiding $45 Billion of the U.S. Postal Service Health Retirement Plans?

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U.S. Post Office, Los Angeles CA

U.S. Post Office, Los Angeles, CA

The Postal Service has lots of money, $45 billion, in its Health Retirement Pension plans for its workers. Why, because in 2006, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) forced USPS to prepay its retirement health plans 75 years in advance in just 10 short years beginning in 2007!

The Ed Show – US Postal Service remains under attack

PAEA Crazy Poison Pill for USPS

Sounds crazy right? Yes, it’s absolutely crazy. But it gets even nuttier when this mandated payment of $5.5 billion/year started in 2007 after the U.S. economy tanked and many businesses laid off hundreds of thousands of workers. Also, the businesses cut back on many services, including mail, to its customers. In this harsh economic environment, the PAEA pre-funding mandate kicked in when all businesses in the U.S. suffered due to the wild speculation on Wall Street.

So, when the United States had it’s most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression of 1929, Congress forced USPS to begin paying $5.5 billion – $5.8 billion a year. The timing for this poison pill to undermine the financial health of USPS was just amazing. You would think that perhaps Congress would then rescind this horrible prefunding mandate because no corporate or public institution has ever had to prefund 75 years out in a mere 10 years. Yet, some in Congress, who never bothered to put their names to the PAEA bill because it was passed in the middle of the night on a voice vote, decided that USPS could handle this massive prefunding mandate. Are you with me? Doesn’t this sound absurd to you?

Yes, it is a deliberate poison pill and it has been used to claim USPS is bankrupt and must slash jobs (Postmaster General Donahoe has cut 300,000 jobs since 2006), close 3700 post offices and consolidate processing centers.

Basically, PMG Donahoe decided to “right-size” (their special buzz word for selling off their historic already paid-for post offices and other postal buildings) and sell off America’s infrastructure of beautiful post offices. The real estate organization tasked with this is C. B. Richard Ellis Real Estate company. One of the largest real estate companies in the United States.

According to a recent interview with Mr. Cliff Guffey, President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), on the Ed Show, the U.S. government is deliberately raiding the USPS $45 billion prepaid retiree health plans to get extra money for other purposes in case the Congress decides not to raise the debt ceiling–for example. This is happening while Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe guts the infrastructure of USPS by selling off historic post offices throughout the United States together with many New Deal era post office murals.

What You Can Do

Tell President Obama and Congress to reverse the prefunding mandate and stop the sell off of our historic post offices and art. Stop the Postal Heist going on by those who want the real estate for their own profiteering. Stop the Postal Heist designed to undermine the entire U.S. Postal Service, union jobs, and infrastructure. Stop the Postal Heist to privatize our precious postal service by those who fail to understand the need for public services like USPS. Even though USPS takes no tax dollars, it is still in our constitution and it is a public service, a public good and should be saved from privatization by those who have tried to do this for decades.

Meanwhile, on the SavethePostOffice.com blog, please check out this great new article, “Betrayal without remedy: The unwinding of the Postal Service,” by Mark Jamison.

“The Postal Service is supposed to serve the entire country, but that certainly hasn’t stopped the companies and industries that see themselves as the primary stakeholders in the postal system from demanding a more corporatized structure and mission that will serve their narrow interests.”

“That’s not the real story, though, and it never has been.  The real story is just beginning to come into focus: The leadership of the Postal Service, using the laws already in place, is engaged in their version of that most American of economic phenomena — the leveraged buyout.”

We must save our U.S. Postal Service for present and future generations.

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Rep. DeFazio calls for Postmaster General Donahoe’s resignation because he just “cuts things”

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Representative Peter DeFazio was interviewed by Businessweek and said:

You called for Patrick Donahoe’s resignation. How come?

If we go to five-day delivery, that will put them in a death spiral. If you degrade first-class mail to three- to five-day delivery, which he would by closing these regional sorting centers, you have the potential of letters taking five days for first class. As far as I can tell, this guy really wants to destroy the Postal Service.

That’s right, Congressman Peter DeFazio sees that Postmaster General Donahoe “really wants to destroy the Postal Service.”

Why?

Rep. DeFazio says instead of asking for authority to creatively innovate to save money and make money for USPS, Postmaster General Donahoe just “cuts things”. Here is the excerpt from DeFazio from the Businessweek article:

So I would look for a postmaster general who would say, “I need authority to innovate.” But that’s not what we’re hearing from this postmaster general. He’s, like, “Ah, I’ve just got to cut things.”

DeFazio, Oregon legislators, and Postal Service employees rally to save the postal service

The above video demonstrates that Postmaster General Donahoe instead of demanding that Congress reverse the notorious 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), just calls for cutting jobs, selling off our national treasured historic post offices and art, and slowing mail.

Postmaster General Donahoe called for closing 3,700 post offices and consolidating 152 processing centers on July 26, 2011, the birthday of when Benjamin Franklin was first appointed the first Postmaster General in 1775 under the Continental Congress. Great timing Mr. Donahoe – what a birthday present for the American people! This alone would foolishly reduce service to millions of Americans, especially our elderly, who depend on USPS to deliver their medications to their homes.

In addition, C. B. Richard Ellis (CBRE) received exclusive conctracts to sell USPS properties and manage their leases. CBRE is chaired by Richard Blum, UC Recent and spouse of Senator Dianne Feinstein. One wonders how much profit CBRE makes from targeting and selling off our precious historic post offices like the La Jolla Post Office, Redlands Post Office and Berkeley Post office with New Deal Era murals inside?

The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) was passed on December 20, 2006 in the middle of the night on a voice vote. Did anyone want to put their name on this bill that forced USPS to prepay their health-care retiree pensions 75 years out in only 10 years? This is something no other corporate or public organization has ever had to do. The PAEA required that USPS begin paying $5.5 to $5.8 billion/year for this pension payment scheme meant to bankrupt the postal service. USPS was required to begin this $5.5 billion payment in 2007, the first year of the worst economic downturn since the depression of 1929.

DeFazio says the Chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, Mickey D. Barnett, appointed by President G. W. Bush in 2006, had to be reminded of the cost of a first class stamp! ($.46) when making a recent public presentation. See the video above.

It is time to take your concerns to President Obama who doesn’t have to run for President anymore. Please call President Obama and write him by US postal mail to save the United States Postal Service now.

Mr. Postman Our Post Office is Not for Sale!!!

Sung by Passionate Berkeley CA residents singing to save their beautiful historic Berkeley Post Office.

Sign an online petition at: http://www.savethepostoffice.com