In April 2018, President Trump issued an executive order creating a task force to evaluate the operations and finances of the U.S. Postal Service and to make recommendations for policy changes to ensure a sustainable future for the agency. The White House Task Force, comprised of the Secretary of Treasury and the Directors of the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management, reported its findings to the President on August 10 after just 120 days — and then issued a public report in December 2018.
Regrettably, that report, United State Postal Service: A Sustainable Path Forward, fundamentally misdiagnoses the operational and financial condition of the Postal Service, and as a result offers recommendations that would seriously weaken if not destroy USPS, a national treasure and vital part of our nation’s economic infrastructure.
The principle recommendations would dramatically raise mailing costs for “commercial mailers” and shippers, slash the frequency and quality of delivery, and gut the standard of living of postal employees by outsourcing their jobs, stripping them of collective bargaining rights and reducing their retirement and workers’ compensation benefits. These recommendations would weaken, not strengthen the Postal Service – and threaten the most efficient and affordable universal postal system in the world.
The public report, the result of a rushed process conducted behind closed doors without public hearings or a stakeholder comment process, is deeply flawed. Its three major findings about the Postal Service – regarding its current sustainability, its labor costs and its impact on competition in the delivery industry – are fundamentally wrong. They are based on incomplete data, faulty analysis and misleading evidence.
The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) can support some of the report’s recommendations – such as maintaining the geographic scope of the Universal Service Obligation (USO), reducing the burden of the prefunding mandate and exploring the addition of new services outside the current USO to help fund the agency. But we oppose the bulk of the Task Force’s recommendations and hope to advance more productive and effective reform ideas as the legislative debate unfolds. Indeed, we prepared this review of the Task Force report to advance that debate.
In the full document, NALC analyzes the faulty foundations of the Task Force’s findings, explains the unexamined consequences of its recommendations and summarizes an alternative reform agenda that will position the Postal Service to thrive in the 21st Century.