The Postal Service is about to run out of money due to the coronavirus and Republicans

Jay Owen SRI/ESG News, Global Citizen, Latest Headlines

“Ethical Markets recommends all this research on the US Postal Service and the reason right wing attacks on it continue, and why we must protect it as we will need a vote by mail election in November .

~Hazel Henderson, Editor“

The Republican crusade to kill the U.S. Postal Service went into overdrive this week, when Donald Trump installed a top Republican donor as the new postmaster general.1

The Postal Service is in crisis, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and draconian Republican mandates. It will run out of money between July and September, at which point its “operations will cease,” if Congress doesn’t act.2

Congress quickly bailed out the airline industry to the tune of $50 billion. That bailout included $4 billion for FedEx and UPS.3 But Trump and Republicans in Congress continue to stonewall emergency funding for the 245-year-old Postal Service. Why? It’s all part of their quest to privatize it.

And now, at this most critical moment in its fight for survival, the Postal Service will be led by a Trump crony. Trump has gone so far as to call the Postal Service “a joke.”4

Hazel, we need to fight back—and quickly. There’s reason for optimism: The Postal Service is by far the most popular government agency, with a 90% approval rating.5 It’s one of the largest employers in the U.S., with a workforce of 630,000 people, 40% of whom are people of color.6 And in an election year, Republicans can’t be seen killing the Postal Service, a lifeline for so many Americans, especially in the middle of the current pandemic.

That’s why MoveOn’s work to shine a spotlight on Republican efforts to kill the Postal Service is so critical. But we urgently need to increase the pressure on key Republicans by expanding our digital ad campaign and launching a TV ad campaign in rural parts of key states, where what the Postal Service does is particularly essential.

The Postal Service serves every American in every community, no matter how remote their location, six or even seven days a week, and all for the same price. That includes delivering lifesaving medications—more than 1 billion prescriptions last year—groceries, mail, census forms, vote-by-mail ballots, and so much more.7

And since we don’t expect a vaccine for the coronavirus to be widely available in time for this November’s elections, the Postal Service will be essential to enabling millions of Americans to vote by mail. In the last two federal elections, about one in four voters cast their ballot by mail.8 This November, the vast majority of voters will need to vote by mail.

But despite the Postal Service’s centuries-long service to the American people, for the last 40 years, Republicans have sought to “starve, strangle, and sabotage” it.9 And now, the coronavirus pandemic is giving a frightening boost to their efforts.

Most Americans don’t know it, but the Postal Service doesn’t receive a single taxpayer dollar.10 It is entirely funded by revenue from the sales of stamps and postage.

But Congress sets the rules for the Postal Service, and in 2006, Republicans in a lame-duck session of Congress passed a law forcing the Postal Service to pre-fund its employee pension and retirement costs, including health care, for the next 75 years.11 That means it must fund retirement accounts for employees who haven’t yet been hired—or even born.

The year that mandate passed, the Postal Service made $900 million in profits; it has not had a single profitable year since.12

Now, the coronavirus pandemic has caused the volume of mail to plummet, since the vast majority of mail is sent by businesses, and the Postal Service is about to run out of money.13

The Postal Service will not survive the summer without immediate action by Congress. Hazel, we need your help to turn the heat WAY up on key Republicans who are blocking emergency funding for the Postal Service.

 

Thanks for all you do.

–Jenn, Justin, Amy, Karine, and the rest of the team

Sources:

  1. “Top Republican fundraiser and Trump ally named postmaster general, giving president new influence over Postal Service,” The Washington Post, May 6, 2020
    https://act.moveon.org/go/123386?t=6&akid=263620%2E20003666%2EJ9qx_l
  2. “The Head of the Postal Workers Union Says the Postal Service Could Be Dead in Three Months,” In These Times, April 16, 2020
    https://act.moveon.org/go/119675?t=8&akid=263620%2E20003666%2EJ9qx_l
  3. “Here’s a breakdown of the $2T coronavirus bailout,” New York Post, March 27, 2020
    https://act.moveon.org/go/123387?t=10&akid=263620%2E20003666%2EJ9qx_l
  4. “Top Republican fundraiser and Trump ally named postmaster general, giving president new influence over Postal Service,” The Washington Post, May 6, 2020
    https://act.moveon.org/go/123386?t=12&akid=263620%2E20003666%2EJ9qx_l
  5. “We Can’t Afford to Lose the Postal Service,” The New Yorker, May 2, 2020
    https://act.moveon.org/go/123388?t=14&akid=263620%2E20003666%2EJ9qx_l
  6. “U.S. Postal Service warns it could run out of money by October,” CBS News, April 10, 2020
    https://act.moveon.org/go/119624?t=16&akid=263620%2E20003666%2EJ9qx_l
  7. Ibid.
  8. “The False Narrative of Vote-by-Mail Fraud,” Brennan Center for Justice, April 10, 2020
    https://act.moveon.org/go/123389?t=18&akid=263620%2E20003666%2EJ9qx_l
  9. “We Can’t Afford to Lose the Postal Service,” The New Yorker, May 2, 2020
    https://act.moveon.org/go/123388?t=20&akid=263620%2E20003666%2EJ9qx_l
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Ibid.

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