OPINION: Our democracy depends on all of us supporting the USPS


I, like many others, am increasingly more worried about the status of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Not having reliable delivery options for medications-by-mail is a life-threatening situation. Not having a reliable delivery option for our constitutional right to vote threatens the foundation of our democracy! Both situations are untenable. Congress can fix it, if they are indeed willing to do their jobs: "to serve their constituents' needs and best interests" (my quotes, paraphrasing many as they described what they do in Washington, D.C.)

Congress created the debt the USPS has suffered since 2006. By passing the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), Congress mandated $72 billion be set aside to maintain a fund for paying employee post-retirement health care costs 75 years into the future. This requirement immediately sent the USPS into near bankruptcy, where it remains today. No other business, private nor federal, has such a requirement mandated by Congress.

Blaming the internet or FedEx or UPS for the potential demise of the USPS is misplaced. Though reduced sales do impact the daily operations of the USPS, the massive cost of the PAEA, required by a Congress-passed law, is the overwhelming reason our Postal Service is in the sad financial condition we find it today.

We should address the USPS situation, in its entirety. Not recognizing the historical significance of the PAEA is unfair. Media outlets (TV, radio, newspapers in print and online) must tell the whole story, not just the current politically influenced juicy pieces.

Most postal employees do the best they can under very trying circumstances: overworked, understaffed and with less-than-modern facilities.

This is not the time to cast stones. This is the time for truth, honesty and compassion. Our democracy depends on all of us defending and supporting our United States Postal Service.


Lt. Colonel, USAF, retired