“USPS Could Privatize As Early As 2020”? Really? (No.)

Fortune features an article with the rather sensational headline “USPS Could Privatize As Early As 2020”. It’s a definite eye-catcher, but most people who have been dealing with the USPS for any length of time will probably react with more of an eye-roll.

Here’s the gist of Fortune’s reasoning leading to a 2020 privatization:

The United States Postal Service shipped more than 13 billion pieces of mail and packages this holiday season. But now that gift-giving has abated, the agency, which falls under President Trump’s jurisdiction, is facing another deadline: find a new Postmaster General by January 2020.

The new leadership will be handpicked and approved by the Postal Service’s Board of Governors: a group of five men (mostly with investment banking and private banking experience), three of whom were appointed by Trump, along with the current Postmaster General and her deputy.

Once the new leadership is in place, the board will also be tasked by the Trump administration with creating a package of large, structural changes intended to help the ailing Postal Service. Those changes will likely include privatizing and selling pieces of the public service off, according to the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), which represents more than 200,000 current and retired postal employees.

And all of that is true.

But it glosses over some pretty significant facts:

  • The USPS doesn’t belong to the Postmaster General, the Board of Governors, or even Donald Trump. Trump can “task” all he wants- but he and his underlings can’t sell what they don’t own. The USPS was established by an Act of Congress. The new PMG and BOG may very well push for privatization- but they don’t have the legal authority to make it happen.
  • Bottom line- privatizing the USPS would require a new Act of Congress. That means that the same House of Representatives that just impeached Trump would have to approve the elimination of a couple hundred thousand union jobs with decent wages and benefits in every state and every House district in the country.

Not likely.

Read the full Fortune article: USPS Could Privatize As Early As 2020 | Fortune

  • Route 666

    Want to privatize the Post Office? Just use the Constitution, which calls for a post office, but does NOT say who the Post Office should be.

  • Nathan

    We actually need to get the dysfunctional Gov’t out of our rule book to be frank.
    Our Nalc also needs a reality check from time to time as well. Cut the 40% pork
    out of the management and let cooler heads prevail. All the Gov’t is doing , is
    tying our hands from making any real solid business moves , in which makes us
    look way weaker then we are . Cut the political crap with the USPS and 75% of
    any issue would be solved in a year.

  • postalnews

    The Constitution does not “call for” a post office. It simply authorizes Congress to establish one if it chooses to do so. Congress (with the President’s concurrence) can abolish the USPS whenever it wants.

  • Route 666

    That is what I am saying. Congress could abolish the Post Office, or just change it however it wants to. Putting the whole system up for bids would not be unthinkable, since the government owns all the real estate and transportation.

  • postalnews

    Whatever- my point was that, contrary to your original comment, the Constitution does not “call for” a post office of any kind.

  • Sleepy

    What you fail to understand is that the largest generation that votes also demands a Postal Service. Politicians are ignorant but not that ignorant.

  • postalnews

    Um, no, what I fail to understand is what the heck your comment has to do with this discussion.

  • Archie Daneker

    I don’t see a name on this article. If privatization is so hard to do why is the APWU so worried about it?

  • DDofAL

    AS IT HAS BEEN POINTED OUT THAT CONGRESS CAN ESTABLISH—THE ISSUE IS ONCE CREATED THEY THEN DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO DISBAND IT.

  • DDofAL

    CONSIDERING HOW CONGRESS HAS MICRO-MANAGE IT INTO BANKRUPTCY —SO WHATS WRONG WITH THE IDEA–HOWEVER I THINK IT WRONG TO SAY ONCE CREATED THERE IS NOTHING SAYING IT CAN –IE THE 10TH AMENDMENT SEEMS CLEAR –CONGRESS CAN CREATE THE PO BUT UNLESS– IN MY OPINE— AN AMENDMENT IS PASSED ALLOWING IT –CONGRESS CANNOT UNDO IT—

  • DDofAL

    REPEAL THE DAMN LAW FUNDING THE RETIREMENT BENEFITS 75 YEARS INTO THE FUTURE–NO OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES IS REQUIRED TO DO THIS–THATS THE ONE LARGEST FACTOR IN THE PO RUNNING AT A DEFICIT! AND CLOSE THE DAMN UNDER PERFORMING LOCATIONS AS WE WERE TO HAVE DONE BY MAY 2013

  • DDofAL

    THE 10TH AMENDMENT CRAPS THAT–ONLY WHAT THE CONSTITUTION SPECIFICALLY ALLOWS CAN THEY DO –NOTHING IS SAID THAT CONGRESS CAN DESTROY THE PO ONCE CREATED–

  • postalnews

    It “CRAPS THAT”? No idea what that even means- I take it English is not your native tongue? But that is a novel legal theory- that Congress can’t abolish an agency it created unless the repeal is specifically mentioned in the constitution?

    Hmmm… Have you actually read the postal clause in the Constitution? It doesn’t mention a US Postal Service or even a Post Office Department. It just says “Congress shall have power to To establish Post Offices and post Roads;”

    So if you’re correct, Congress violated the Constitution every time it allowed a post office to close? Golly! it’s gonna be a mess re-establishing all those tens of thousands of closed POs!

    Hey! Guess what elsed is NOT in the Constitution- it doesn’t give Congress the power to repeal Obamacare either! Boy you’ve opened a can of worms now!

    PS- do you know YOUR CAPS LOCK KEY IS STUCK?

  • Nathan

    I agree 100% but only coupled with tightening of our ship across the board and ridding ourselves of the guaranteed union attitude “show up to work and kill our employer with overtime” cut management waste by 40% at least
    and let’s expand our ways of making money. Congress unfortunately
    prevents us from doing a lot of that.

  • thelioness06492

    Who said it was “ailing”. It has been self sustaining for generations. I get a kick how the Republicans want to privatize everything because they are against “big government”, however no problem letting a CEO have power over everything.

  • Phil

    Great, lets not even address the problem with USPS then….just continue losing money and resisting reform.

  • A. Zigon

    Read the frigging article, The Government has not given any money to the Post Office for decades. They are self sustaining. the only reason there is a a shortfall is the Republican mandate put in place some years ago stating that the USPS had to PRE-FUND employees retirement benefits for the next 80 years. So they have to have on hand, the cash for your great grandchildren. They did it to try to break the POST Office and it didn’t work. Some rich guy wanted to buy it cheap and it fell through.

  • A. Zigon

    Did you read the article?????? The government hasn’t funded the USPS for decades. They are self Sustaining. You must be an Engineer,
    if it’s working properly there must not be enough parts or rules.

  • Phil

    Thats not true. The PO gets low interest loans from the Federal Financing Bank to cover their operating costs. The FFB loaned the USPS 11 billion in 2019. Which means the USPS issues more and more debt to cover their expenses, backed by the United States Treasury. So the Federal Government is subsidizing a money losing enterprise for the sake of postal jobs. I get it….not the PO’s fault, but they need major reform. And I don’t think an agency of its size can change by itself. Its a massive bureaucracy with lots of political support in Congress because Post Offices employ a lot of people in lots of congressional districts. Easiest way is to break free from the chains of Congress and privatize.

  • A. Zigon

    The law says The Post Office was formed by and act of Congress, That means that the only way it can be disbanded ,sold, privatized, whatever is by another act of Congress. Lets see, in 2018 the majority in Congress was strongly taken over by the Democrats. My guess is they are not going to bend to Trumps will and abolish 200,000 good paying union jobs. Ain’t gonna happen

  • postalnews

    Don’t make false claims here or you will be banned.

    Your claim that “The FFB loaned the USPS 11 billion in 2019” is not true. The USPS 10-K for 2019 says the USPS has a loan balance of $11 billion with the FFB. The 10-K for the previous year showed a balance of $13.2 billion. So not only did the FFB NOT loan the USPS $11 billion last year, the USPS actually REDUCED its debt by $2.2 billion.

    Your suggestion that by having a line of credit from the FFB the USPS is being “subsidized” by the Federal government is bizarre. If Citibank offers you a credit card with a $10,000 credit limit, does that mean you’re being “subsidized” by Citibank?

    Needless to say, you’re welcome to post your opinions here, but posting obviously false and misleading “alternate facts” is NOT allowed.

  • Nathan

    Yes I read the article fully did you?? I have worked at the USPS for 24 years so I have a little insight to the unions and management bla bla
    I said get the GOVT out of our RULE BOOK genius. Which in turn hampers our ability to make sound financial decisions enabling us to become more profitable.

  • Nathan

    I read this comment and thought the same thing! Where in the heck did he get that we took out 11billlion of loans. We just had a service talk in the fall that stated we still managed to cut 2 billion of debt out with all the financial restraints that entangle the full USPS operation

  • Phil

    The USPS is floating on credit then….there is that factual enough for you?

  • Phil

    Question here: Where does the FFB get it’s funding? From the US Treasury? Or some other mechanism?

  • Individual 1

    Trump is more concerned with starting a war with Iran to distract from his impeachment and numerous scandals. Pelosi has his balls and our backs.

  • potshot

    Right. Because everything is about money.

  • Jarel S

    What the f are you talking about? Geezer people don’t know facts at all!!

  • Martin Wiseman

    There is only one job that gets paid very well to be wrong most of the time is the weather man/woman. But the ppl who work for the USPS are pathetic most couldn’t deliver a letter or package just across the street without it going out of state and brining it back. Abolish this high paid Federal POS and privatize it.

  • ArtfulEric

    What’s not true is that USPS is losing money. In 2006, Congress forced the organization to pre-fund 75 years worth of retirement benefits for current—and future—employees, a liability that no other public or private organization has been made to do. Ever since that legislation passed, USPS went from profiting by almost a billion dollars every year to not earning a dime. Of course they now need loan guarantees, and of course they cannot pay them back.

    Privatization is a ploy to kill the constitutionally-mandated operation of reasonable-cost mail services, and replace it with expensive private services that would not be able to compete on a per-mailing basis with the government. The fact that postal employees are unionized and engage in collective bargaining is a smokescreen; it’s irrelevant. Most of the government is unionized, federal employees comprise by far the most populous unions in the country.

  • https://www.bluepearlarts.co A. Roz Mar PhD

    Is it possible for citizens to start a Go Fund Me to raise funds for the USPS? Vote by Mail will be crucial for a fair election in Nov.

  • Marsha McCroden

    That’s right, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution (which is the law of the land)
    gives Congress the ‘Power to establish Post Offices and Post Roads.” That’s all. The first PostMaster General was Benjamin Franklin.

  • jiimy B.

    You know nothing about what you are talking about, I was offered a management USPO position after college, and turned it down because it did not pay enough and I had college loans to pay off. Try reality Martin.

  • jiimy B.

    EXCELLENT! It is tough arguing with Trumpsters and their 6th grade education. God bless them but they can’t comprehend facts, and they are to lazy to do their own research.

  • jiimy B.

    We need to get responsible government, like Joe Biden so that it functions like a normal company

  • Bruce Montross

    the word to describe USPS pay was DECENT wages, not GOOD wages. You missed a very important word

  • jose

    this was an article from 2019….. we’re nearing the end of 2020…… relax people