The Norman Transcript

Opinion

May 12, 2012

Truth about U.S. Postal Service reform

NORMAN — Now that U.S. Senate has passed a bill, SB 1789, to reform the ailing U.S. Postal Service, critics are trying to disable the bill on its way to the House of Representatives. Business Week recently catalogued unhappy stakeholders, including postal unions, postal management and some Republicans who wrongly think the bill burdens taxpayers.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., whose own bill awaits action in the House, blasted “special interests.” But Business Week says, “Considering how many people are unhappy with the bill, it isn’t clear which special interests Issa is referring to.”

Some see the Senate bill as the inevitable product of the sausage machine. But it is neither a budget buster nor processed meat. It is the expression of a better vision of the postal service.

If you consider that survival of the service means maintaining the circulatory system for a $1.1 trillion mailing industry or, in other words, making sure cash, greeting cards, packages and newspapers and magazines arrive on time, the Senate bill is good medicine.

Consider some of the alternative fixes.

Issa’s bill would let USPS immediately end Saturday mail, close half the mail processing centers and thousands of post offices, and put a new board of political appointees in charge. The new board would be expected to trim workers’ benefits and maybe wages and direct the postmaster general to favor profit over service.

At the other extreme might be Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who wanted to keep everything open. Labor unions backing him say that USPS will heal as the economy heals. Then there is the White House’s notion: Raise postage rates.

For Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., neither extreme is suited to long-term survival of USPS.

To many experts, Issa’s approach is likely to frighten away businesses that mail. The Lieberman-Collins bill agrees that USPS needs a more flexible, less costly work force. It keeps mail flowing through today’s network while cost-cutting is under way. For example, they would end Saturday mail delivery in two years, but only if USPS has taken other big steps toward financial viability. They would allow the closing of postal plants now, if USPS preserves local mail delivery speed.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Help for rural America

    A drive through rural parts of the Southwest can be depressing. For sale and for rent signs are prevalent. Businesses along main streets have closed. Unless they are close to a major interstate highway, many communities are in decline....

    April 23, 2014

  • Embarrassment to Oklahoma, again

    The standardized testing that was halted in local schools Monday is another embarrassment to the state. The same thing happened a year ago and Oklahoma gave them another chance....

    April 23, 2014

  • Time to move on; exit of Sebelius is right choice

    From the moment it became obvious that healthcare.gov wasn’t working, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius became damaged goods for the White House....

    April 23, 2014

  • Happy birthday to us

    We don’t expect any cake and that many candles might be dangerous but today is the unofficial 125th birthday of Norman....

    April 22, 2014

  • Hero of Haarlem … for common good

    “Trudging stoutly along by the canal,” as the story goes, the 8-year-old son of a Dutch sluicer was returning home from delivering cakes to a blind man. Humming as he passed the dikes, he noticed that recent rains had made his father’s job ...

    April 22, 2014

  • Hate without end

    The news that a former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan is suspected of shooting and killing three people near Jewish community centers in Kansas seems at first glance like a disparaged past flaring briefly into the present. Americans like ...

    April 21, 2014

  • Reform is necessary

    Editor, The Transcript: Last year, the legislature passed laws reforming the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, which was a good start, but more is needed. Recent media reports have revealed that the ODVA employs M.D. and D.O. ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Keep your brain cells

    Editor, The Transcript: Hey kids. Four centuries ago, Shakespeare wrote about life’s seven great adventures. I forget his exact words, but they were something like this: 1. Our birth; none of us can remember it, but never the less, it is ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Don’t let moderation confuse you

    Jeb Bush’s recent compassionate comments on immigration show how far apart he is from the far right of the Republican Party....

    April 20, 2014

  • Priest’s execution should spur action

    In the hierarchy of saints, martyrs are on the highest rung of the celestial ladder, at least for me....

    April 20, 2014

Video
Facebook