By Risa Mickenberg
The Postal Service is the largest employer in some states. It delivers 48% of the world’s mail, including social security checks, stimulus checks, voting ballots, medication, and hospital supplies.
President Donald Trump said Friday that he would not approve any bailout for the U.S. Postal Service unless it dramatically increases its prices.
The Postal Service, which Trump called “a joke,” has warned of its serious financial distress for years. But with the U.S. economy staggered by the coronavirus, USPS reported a 30 percent decrease in volume. The service has requested as much as $75 billion in cash, loans and grants to stay afloat.
The president said the postal agency should quadruple its package delivery prices, otherwise he would block congressionally approved funding
President Trump has railed for years against what he sees as mismanagement of the agency, which he argues has been exploited by sites such as Amazon
The Kansas City Star
If Jack Bainbridge couldn’t get his prescriptions through the mail, the 70-year-old Army veteran would have to make a 90-mile round trip to the VA Medical Center in Kansas City.
The American Conservative
Equal parts Rooseveltian and Rockwellian, the USPS and its universal mandate are pieces of our national inheritance.
Faced with a crash in mail volume and revenue due to closures to battle the coronavirus pandemic—right when the country needs the Postal Service the most to help get vital food, medicine, and other life-saving goods to everyone—Postmaster General Megan Brennan asked Congress for a combination of $75 billion in cash and credit to keep going through the financial disaster.
Her April 9 video briefing request, to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which handles postal legislation, drew immediate support from the nation’s two big postal unions, the Letter Carriers (NALC) and the Postal Workers (APWU).
Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, the volume of mail delivered by the US Postal Service has drastically declined. Businesses have cut back on sending advertisements and bulk mail — the agency’s main source of revenue — leaving it on track to possibly run out of money by September.
To save its services, the agency is asking Congress for $89 billion. Democrats want to meet the USPS’s needs and ensure funding in the next coronavirus relief bill. Republicans, however, are seizing this as an opportunity to privatize the agency, an agenda they’ve been pushing for years. President Donald Trump is also on board, refusing to sign a new bill that includes funding for the postal service.
The president’s disapproval of the agency is well-documented. In the past, he’s pushed for service cuts in the fiscal budget and indicated that he wanted the USPS to raise rates for packages. However, these actions would have dire consequences for Americans, especially those below the poverty line who live in remote areas and rely heavily on the USPS for their mail.
The absence of the USPS would particularly affect indigenous people living in tribal lands, as there are already few resources dedicated to keeping them connected with the world, said Twyla Baker, of the Mandan-Hidatsa tribe in North Dakota.
New York Times
Like so many businesses, the United States Postal Service has been hit hard by the coronavirus. Mail volume is down nearly a third over this time last year and continues to fall. The Postal Service is predicting $13 billion in lost revenue this fiscal year as a direct result of the pandemic. In an April 9 telebriefing to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, the postmaster general, Megan Brennan, warned that without financial assistance the agency could run out of money by the end of September.
The Postal Service cannot be allowed to crumble in the midst of a national emergency. Though organized as a self-sustaining quasi-governmental enterprise, run without taxpayer funding, it is not just another business. Even in an increasingly wired world, the agency’s mandate of “universal service” provides a lifeline to remote areas. As this pandemic rages, its 600,000-plus employees are working to ensure that Americans receive their prescriptions and protective equipment and other essential items, no matter where they live. Nearly 500 postal workers have tested positive for the virus, with hundreds more suspected of having it, according to The Washington Post.
Last month, US Postal Service workers delivered “President Trump’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America” to households across the country. But Trump, of course, has no interest in helping the agency he relied on to get out his message and feels no patriotic duty to support postal workers who are on the front lines of essential service delivery during the coronavirus pandemic, putting their own health at risk to supply all Americans with medicine, supplies, and information.
Instead, the Trump administration has a long-range plan to privatize the Postal Service. In the meantime, the president wrongly blames longstanding financial problems on a package delivery deal the US Postal Service has with Amazon.