-- attributed to the late Sen. Everett M. Dirksen
The U.S. Postal Service isn't a money-losing operation, just a victim of unfair pension accounting by the federal government, a report from USPS's Inspector General indicated today.
"The current system of funding the Postal Service’s Civil Service Retirement System pension responsibility is inequitable and has resulted in the Postal Service overpaying $75 billion to the pension fund," Inspector General David C. Williams states in the report's introduction.
"Today, the Postal Service continues to be assigned an unfair share of CSRS liabilities," the report says. "Ending the unfair allocation of CSRS liabilities . . . would put the Postal Service on a sound financial footing."
The controversy involves people who worked for the Postal Service both before and after 1971, when postal operations were moved out of the federal government into the (theoretically) independent USPS. The government and USPS are supposed to share the cost of the pension liability, but the OIG report objects to the way the government's Office of Personnel Management allocates the costs:
"As demonstrated in this paper, for employees who worked half of their careers with the United States Post Office Department (USPOD) and half with the USPS, the Postal Service is assigned approximately 70 percent of the cost and the Federal government 30 percent. For an employee who worked 30 years, 20 years before 1971 and 10 years with the USPS, the Postal Service is assigned 50 percent of the cost."
Williams' introduction concludes: "The Postal Service was intended to be self-sufficient. More importantly, ratepayers should pay no less and no more than what is required to fund the Postal Service’s operations. Now, as the Postal Service faces a challenging future, it is particularly important that the Postal Service’s responsibilities be clearly delineated and separated from those of the federal government. The true costs of funding postal operations ought to be absolutely clear."
- How USPS Could Bypass Congress on Saturday Delivery: The Inspector General issued a report last year suggesting that the USPS stop accepting Congressional appropriations because the money was worth far less than the cost of the strings attached.
- Postal Relief? How About No More Congressional Thievery?: Another way the federal government rips off the Postal Service -- via pre-payments to a healthcare fund for retirees.