Looks like Dennis Ross has a problem with facts. When a commenter on his Facebook page mentioned our article criticizing a Washington Post story for ignoring the $50 billion the USPS has (involuntarily) stashed away for future retiree benefits, Ross responded “The other "trust fund" is just pure fantasy.” But then admitted “Yes, there is over $40 billion already in the fund.” Oh. OK. I guess when you’re a Congressman reality and fantasy don’t mean the same things as they do to the rest of us!
Ross also wrote, without providing any specifics, that “the amount of misinformation coming from postalnewsblog is staggering over the past few months”. Considering the source, we’ll take that as a compliment!
But let’s make one thing clear- unlike the Congressman, we deal in facts, not fantasies. And these are the facts:
- Between the “mythical” trust fund with its very real $42.5 billion, and the undisputed $6.9 billion FERS overpayment, the supposedly “insolvent” USPS effectively has almost $50 billion in the bank.
- The trust fund payments are the cause of the USPS losses since 2006. Without them, the USPS would have been profitable over that time period. All of the current USPS debt is money it has had to borrow from the Treasury so that it can then loan it back to the Treasury for the “trust fund”. It’s a shell game designed to take “off budget” postal revenues, and apply them to an “on budget” trust fund, artificially lowering the federal budget deficit.
- No other company or agency has the same obligation to prefund retiree benefits.
- Even if one accepts a need for some level of prefunding, the 2006 law was based on assumptions as to volume and workforce levels that no longer apply, yet no adjustments have been made to the payment levels.
- If the USPS had been allowed to run like a business since 2006 (i.e. without prefunding and Congressmen micro-managing its operations), it would be a profitable enterprise facing the recession with ample cash reserves.
- Republicans refuse to drop the accounting gimmick that places USPS operations “off budget”, while its retirement funds are “on budget” This allows them to cry “BAILOUT” if the USPS asks for some of its own money to be returned to fund its operations.
- Congress created the “crisis”, not the USPS unions or managers, and Congress needs to correct its mistakes before it destroys the US Postal Service.