Many rural post offices will be shut down under HR 2309, the so-called Postal Services Reform Act.
These post offices are a focal point in maintaining a sense of community in rural areas, places where people meet, visit the hairdresser, market, etc. Eliminating the offices is one more attack on the vitality of rural life in our County and region.
HR 2309, however, goes way beyond weakening our rural communities. This legislation does not reform the United States Postal Service; it is an attempt to push the post office out of business.
Government exists to meet important basic needs of citizens that they cannot meet by themselves. That's why we have government funding for transportation, infrastructure, Medicare, and, yes, postal services.
That is not to say that all these services must not be made as efficient as possible. If they are inefficient, we pay more taxes to support them than are necessary. However, the biggest financial challenge facing the U.S. Post Office is the legislation enacted in 2006 by Congress requiring it to refund retiree health obligations for the next 75 years. This requirement is placed on no other organization in the country.
It is responsible for 85 percent of the red ink in the U.S. Postal Service books since 2007. The legislation is a clear attempt to begin putting the office out of business. HR 2309 moves the process further along.
It will end Saturday deliveries. It will eliminate more than 200,000 jobs when we are trying so hard to create jobs. It does nothing for all of us, and can only benefit those who are seeking private investment opportunities which will require huge increases in costs to all of us, and, probably, an additional government subsidy.
Tell Congressman Tom Reed to vote no on HR 2309 protect the average person in his district and indeed the whole country. His local office telephone number is (607) 654-7566.
Irene Stein is chair of the Tompkins County Democratic Committee.