The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Jun. 14, 2024

Reader defends U.S. Postal Service

To the Editor:

I received an email today from our (U.S.) representative Bob Latta. It was asking about my experiences with the U.S. Postal Service: if my mail has been delayed or there are issues with deliveries. He asks for you to go to a page on his website and give your experiences. And he makes very clear that he blames all the problems with our local postal system on the move of processing to Pontiac, Michigan. While I am sure the move to Michigan has caused issues with deliveries here in Ohio, it has nothing to do with the current problems people are experiencing with mail delivery.

The current Postmaster General of the U.S. Postal Service is a man named Louis DeJoy. He is the first man appointed to the head of the Post Office in the last 20 years without any experience working in the Post Office. He does have experience in trucking and logistics, related fields, but not in the day-to-day operations of the Post Office. His main qualification for being named Postmaster General is the large contributions to both the Republican Party and the Trump Campaign. 

Rewarding large donors with appointments is nothing new, both parties do it. But it is usually something like the ambassadorship to Canada, which is currently filled by Aldona Wos, DeJoy’s wife. Wos was formerly the ambassador to Estonia under President George W. Bush, so she has some experience in that type of job. Under previous presidents, donors were usually only given a job with specific responsibilities if they actually had the qualifications to do those jobs.

The Postal Service has been short of money for years, mostly because of a law passed by a lame duck Republican Congress in 2006, forcing it to 100 percent pre-fund the health benefits of its retirees years before they retire, some before they are even hired. This is not required of any other federal agency or program, and is not the standard business practice of any business, because it is enormously expensive. Without this forced expenditure, the Post Office would have had profitable years from 2013 to 2018. They would have been able to keep places open, not moving the local sorting services to Michigan, and being able to modernize their equipment.

President Trump says the Post Office is losing money because of their deal for package delivery with Amazon. Except they actually make money with that deal. They are required by law to at least break even on any deals of those nature, and the Amazon rates are the same as the rates they charge other companies like FedEx and UPS. Again, they have to be the same rates, because they are required to do so by law, they can’t favor one company over another.

The Post Office currently has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Shipping is down because people can’t afford to purchase as much, small businesses are closed, and marketing mail is down, so its income is being lowered even more than usual. And costs are up because of changes they need to make at distribution centers to try and keep their workers safe. They asked for $13 billion in the CARES Act package earlier this year, which would have stabilized them through the first half of the year. But the White House forced a smaller $10-billion loan, which is not enough to keep them going.

The current Postmaster General has said he is going to cut costs. So he has stopped the use of mail sorting machines, stopped all overtime, and has ordered employees to leave mail behind at distribution centers if it delayed letter carriers from their routes. While these things may cut costs, they also result in work not getting finished, so our mail is delayed. People’s bills, medications, and what they do order from various places is all being slowed down by these changes.

In addition, a number of states are enlarging their vote by mail operations in order to protect voters’ lives this November. The president has been complaining about these efforts, saying that while absentee ballots are okay, mail-in ballots are susceptible to fraud. Since absentee ballots, which the president and a large number of his administration use, as well as the United States military, is exactly the same thing as mail-in ballots, this lie is easily seen for what it is, an attempt to suppress voter turnout. The fact that the mail is being slowed and delayed so massively, under the direct orders of a huge Donald Trump supporter at the same time it is so critical to fair elections, is very suspicious to put it mildly.

And at the same time, the man who is supposed to be our Representative in Congress, is collecting information about people being affected by the mail slowdown. I’m sure other Republican members of Congress are doing the same sort of thing. They have been trying to privatize the Postal Service for years. Then our first class mail won’t cost 55 cents, it will be more like $5.50 or more per letter. And shipping rates from every business will rise, making things harder for small businesses and consumers. But the large shippers like UPS, FedEx, and DHL will start making lots more money. Which will make their shareholders happy, but not most of us.

And one last thing about Louis DeJoy and his wife, Aldona Wos. They have about $70 million worth of stock in various competitors and contractors of the USPS. Including the United Parcel Service. Bit of a conflict of interest there, but I’m certain that he will be completely unbiased concerning any decisions dealing with those companies.

Tom Brincefield
Van Wert 
via email

POSTED: 08/04/20 at 10:27 pm. FILED UNDER: Letters to the Editor