Oct 11, 2021
On October 1, a plan to slow down mail delivery went into operation. That’s right, to slow it down. Supposedly this is to save money. But in reality, every “money-saving measure” has been a way to damage the mail service and drive more and more of it into private hands.
The U.S. Postal Service lengthened its “service standards"—now, instead of saying it will take no more than three days to deliver first class mail anywhere in the country, the USPS now says it will take between two and five days. This is because it will use fewer planes to fly mail across the country, instead relying on trucking, which will take longer—especially when it has to go across the country.
At the same time, the USPS is raising prices from October 3 to December 26, through a “holiday season surcharge.” First-class package service will go up by 30 cents; priority mail and others will go up by 5 dollars! Also, the USPS announced it will be raising rates two times a year now, instead of one.
This is all part of a 10-year plan put forth by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. DeJoy was appointed by the Postal Board of Governors in May 2020. At the time, many saw his appointment as a way for then-president Trump to interfere with the mail leading up to the November 2020 election—and the slowdowns caused by his policies certainly had an effect. But here he is, still in office ten months after Biden and a Democrat-controlled Congress took office.
DeJoy proposed his 10-year plan to the Board of Governors back in March, and it was approved by both Republicans AND Democrats on the board.
Their explanation for all of this is that the USPS is making less money because people are sending less mail these days. But that’s not really true. First class mail may be down, but parcel mail is way up. It’s also said that the Postal Service is deeply in debt. Yes, it is—but it’s completely a manufactured debt. The debt appeared after Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act in 2006, which compelled the USPS to pay in advance for the health and retirement benefits of all its employees—50 years in advance! Overnight the USPS went from making a surplus to deeply in debt.
This real cause of the USPS debt has been pointed out many times, but nothing has been done to change the law or remove that obligation. It still remains as an excuse to make further cuts and layoffs—and to drive more business into the hands of private shipping companies.
Biden has said nothing. A bill has been put forward in Congress to undo parts of the 2006 law, but of course, it has gone nowhere. The same Democrats who COULD remove DeJoy, who COULD push through reforms to wipe out the USPS debt, are acting helpless and repeating the lies that these are necessary moves to save the Postal Service.
DeJoy made millions of dollars as the head of a private shipping company. His interest in downsizing the Postal Service and driving more business to private companies is clear.
But it’s also clear that BOTH parties in government are on board with these plans.