I suspect that I am not the only one confused by all the current discussions relating to the Post Office. I understand that it is the political silly season, but it does seem as if things are getting even more ridiculous than usual. Yesterday Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner that sheds some light on what is actually going on. Please follow the link to read the entire article. I will try to summarize the highlights here.
The article reports:
The news is filled with reports of President Trump’s “assault” on the U.S. Postal Service. The president, Democrats and some in the media say, is deliberately slowing mail delivery and crippling the Postal Service so that it cannot handle an anticipated flood of voting by mail in the presidential election. Former President Barack Obama said Trump is trying to “actively kneecap” the Postal Service to suppress the vote. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the House back into session this week and has set an “urgent hearing” for Aug. 24, demanding Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the head of the Postal Service Board of Governors testify “to address the sabotage of the Postal Service.”
Some of the accusations have grown so frantic that they resemble the frenzy of a couple of years ago over the allegation, from many of the same people, that Trump had conspired with Russia to fix the 2016 election. Now, it’s the Postal Service. But what, actually, is going on? Here is a brief look at some of the issues involved.
…The idea that the Postal Service will not be able to handle the volume of mail in the election, or not be able to handle it within normal Postal Service time guidelines, does not make much sense. According to its most recent annual report, last year, in fiscal year 2019, the Postal Service handled 142.5 billion pieces of mail. “On a typical day, our 633,000 employees physically process and deliver 471 million mailpieces to nearly 160 million delivery points,” the report says. This year, that number is higher, given the Postal Service’s delivery of census forms and stimulus checks. Those alone added about 450 million additional pieces of mail.
The article notes that the post office has a history of losing money:
The Postal Service has lost money for a very long time. In fiscal year 2019, it had operating revenues of $71.1 billion and operating expenses of $79.9 billion, leaving it with a deficit of $8.8 billion. At the moment, Postal Service officials have told Congress, it has about $14 billion in cash on hand, putting it on the road to fiscal insolvency (without further aid) in late 2021.
The article reports:
The House HEROES Act would give $25 billion to the Postal Service in what is essentially a bailout. The bill mentions nothing about helping the Postal Service handle the upcoming election or any other election. Indeed, the only stipulation at all placed on the $25 billion is that the Postal Service, “during the coronavirus emergency, shall prioritize the purchase of, and make available to all Postal Service employees and facilities, personal protective equipment, including gloves, masks, and sanitizers, and shall conduct additional cleaning and sanitizing of Postal Service facilities and delivery vehicles.” If the House Democrats who wrote and passed the bill intended the money to be spent specifically for elections, they did not say so in the text of the legislation.
Separate from the Postal Service provisions, the bill would give $3.6 billion to the Election Assistance Commission for distribution to states “for contingency planning, preparation, and resilience of elections for federal office.” There has been some confusion about that; some discussion of the current controversy has left the impression that Democrats want $3.6 billion for the Postal Service for the election. In fact, the $3.6 billion would be for the states’ election use. In neither the CARES Act, which is now law, nor the HEROES Act, which has been passed by the House but not the Senate, is there any money given to the Postal Service specifically for the election. In any event, the Postal Service has the capacity to handle the election and does not need any additional money specifically to do the job.
Another item mentioned in the article deals with the charge that President Trump is sabotaging the post office:
In addition, there have been reports of the Postal Service removing collection boxes and sorting machines. While some Democrats and journalists have portrayed that as another effort toward voter suppression, the fact is the number of letters the Postal Service handles each year has declined for 20 years since the arrival of email. In those last two decades, the Postal Service has downsized its capabilities as the number of letters handled has decreased. Here is how the Washington Post described the situation, specifically concerning sorting machines: “Purchased when letters not packages made up a greater share of postal work, the bulky and aging machines can be expensive to maintain and take up floor space postal leaders say would be better devoted to boxes. Removing underused machines would make the overall system more efficient, postal leaders say. The Postal Service has cut back on mail-sorting equipment for years since mail volume began to decline in the 2000s.”
Evidently some Democrat focus group has decided that the post office would make a good campaign issue,so Speaker Pelosi is calling her minions back to Washington to capitalize on that idea. This is a charade to try to damage President Trump in order to elect the most radical Democrat candidates ever.