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Tags: carolyn maloney | postal service | fiscal support | profit

Is Rep. Maloney's Loss a Gain for Postal Service Reform?

close up of carolyn maloney with white earrings and ms maloney chairman nameplate
Then-Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. on Capitol Hill in 2021.  (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Jared Whitley By Wednesday, 07 September 2022 12:26 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Rep. Carolyn Maloney recently lost the New York Democrat primary to another incumbent in a redrawn district for the House of Representatives. Under most circumstances, that wouldn't be too big a deal, but Maloney is currently the chair of the House Oversight Committee. While it's unlikely now-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will have any gavels to hand out next year, other representatives are dogpiling on her position.

In that position, Maloney led the charge on a postal reform that amounted to $107 billion bailout of the agency, while side-stepping any real meaningful reform. Since that time, USPS reported a loss of $459 million in Q3 this year, compared to a loss of $41 million for the same quarter last year.

Over time USPS's operating expenses accelerated by a margin of $9 billion more in 2020 than estimates from 2014, which some may point to as impacts of the coronavirus. Fair enough, but how does that explain the preceding 15 consecutive terrible years?

Maloney's Postal Reform Act made no demands that the agency become self-sufficient. Its business model has been unsustainable ever since it became easier, cheaper and faster to hit "send" on an email than mail a letter. (Kramer realized this on "Seinfeld" in 1997.) Since the law was passed, the finances of USPS have gotten worse, not better, with another price hike on stamps to help it "lick" Biden's inflation.

None of this should even be necessary.

See, as a revenue generating agency that provides a direct service to those who pay to use it, there's no reason for the post office to exist if it can't balance its own ledger. USPS is forecast to need billions of dollars more in fiscal support in the coming years, and nothing has come of the promises its CFOs have made about long-term financial viability in the last 15 years.

There's a tsunami coming for USPS if it doesn't make enormous, meaningful profit-oriented changes. Ideas that have been floated include aligning costs with revenues, developing a variable-pricing model, abandoning products that don't make money, cutting hours at postal locations, and ending mail on Saturdays (at least). The Constitution requires the government run a postal service, but not one that does more harm than good to the taxpayer.

So why are the Democrats so resistant to fixing the post office?

There is a reason for them to support an agency that has long since outlived its usefulness. Not a good one, but a reason nonetheless.

Maloney purportedly had ties to Package Coalition, a lobbying arm of Amazon, so that the company can seemingly get discounts off the backs of taxpayers.

This year's postal bailout stopped any reform efforts to price mail and package products based on how much they actually cost, so that looming e-tail tyrant Amazon.com can continue taking advantage of its taxpayer subsidy. See The Wall Street Journal Op-Ed of April 1, 2018, by Josh Sandbulte.

Though the U.S. Treasury under President Donald Trump tried to fix the Post Office, Jeff Bezos and his cronies successfully lobbied to make sure they could continue taking advantage of these fiscal problems.

Maloney is gone, but the damage has been done. One hopes that a Republican with the gavel will destroy Rep. Maloney's beautiful wickedness, forcing the post office to (finally) make some 21st century reforms. Unravelling Amazon's exploitation of the post system will take some work, but at least the voters of New York got Rep. Maloney.

Jared Whitley is a longtime politico who has worked in the U.S. Congress, White House and defense industry. He is an award-winning writer, having won best blogger in the state from the Utah Society of Professional Journalists (2018) and best columnist from Best of the West (2016). He earned his MBA from Hult International Business School in Dubai. Read Jared Whitley's reports — More Here.

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JaredWhitley
There's a tsunami coming for USPS if it doesn't make enormous, meaningful profit-oriented changes.
carolyn maloney, postal service, fiscal support, profit
649
2022-26-07
Wednesday, 07 September 2022 12:26 PM
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