Misguided Attacks on the U.S. Postal Service

SteveBlog, Slideshow

A former official of the Postal Regulatory Commission criticizes the administration’s demand that the U.S.P.S. raise its rates.

By Ruth Y. Goldway, former member and chair of the Postal Regulatory Commission

To the Editor, New York Times:

I served on the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission, the agency that regulates the United States Postal Service, from 1998 to 2015, including five years as chairwoman.

The Postal Service is a remarkable government success story. It has supported and/or survived dozens of technical revolutions, has been the steppingstone for millions to move up into decent middle-class jobs, has had virtually no graft or corruption, and has maintained and expanded service to every corner of the country. Moreover, it has contributed billions to the assets of the country in the form of properties and fully funded pensions.

Conservatives have long been critical of the Postal Service and sought to limit its abilities to operate. They have consistently worked to give private delivery services such as U.P.S. and FedEx more leverage. And they have even more adamantly fought against the power of the strong, unionized work force of the Postal Service.

The policies of the current Republican administration are not new, just more heavy-handed and less concerned with its constituents in rural America who love and rely on the Postal Service.

Now, rather than help the Postal Service so that it can continue to offer vote by mail and census counts, and deliver necessities of medicines and goods to people who can’t get out, the Trump administration wants to strangle its package operations by imposing price increases that will be uncompetitive, leading to reduced services for the very people who need it most, and giving unfair advantages to private companies that support it.

The reform that the Postal Service needs is capital to build a new fleet of electric vehicles and upgrade post offices, plus legislative support so that it can provide low-cost banking and improvements to vote by mail systems.
There is no way to take politics out of this debate. It is one of the important issues we will have to consider when we vote in November.

Ruth Y. Goldway
Venice, Calif.