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Rebuttal: USPS Objection to Postal Reform Legislation Is

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Press release from the issuing company

By James N. Anderson, president and CEO of IWCO Direct EDITOR's NOTE: This is a response to a recent press release we posted from the USPS. February 15, 2006-- We believe WhatTheyThink.com has done its readers a disservice by publishing the U.S. Postal Service’s press release regarding postal reform legislation pending in the Senate (the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, S. 662) without reference to the controversy surrounding both the accuracy of the USPS position and the timing of making it public. (EDITOR's NOTE: WhatTheyThink.com publishes most all press releases as we receive them.) We believe the U.S. Senate got it right when they unanimously passed this bill last week. By taking this action the Senate has moved us one step closer to ensuring the long-term viability of the U.S. Postal Service, and the long-term viability of mail as a commercial communications medium. The claim put forward by the Postal Service that this legislation would result in postage rate increases of up to 20% is simply wrong, because the bill imposes a Consumer Price Index cap on future rate increases. However, under current law a 20% increase is entirely possible because there would be no cap on rates. In addition, this bill relieves the Postal Service from having to establish an escrow account from the funds it would otherwise have overpaid for its pension obligations due to an actuarially unsound retirement funding formula. It also relieves the Postal Service from having to assume the burden of pension obligations to retirees for time spent in the military. The relief provided by this bill goes a long way toward maintaining stable postage rates. We have already seen the results of not passing this bill in the 5.4% postage rate increase imposed earlier this year for no other reason than to fund the escrow account! This bill is the result of eleven years of intense negotiations among postal stakeholders. While the different parties may have differing agendas, we all have come to the conclusion that comprehensive postal reform is necessary. This bill has broad support in the mailing industry. It is supported by employee groups including both city and rural letter carriers (who comprise nearly half of the Postal Service’s craft employees). This bill is even supported by those who compete with the Postal Service in the express and package arenas. We commend bill sponsors Susan Collins (R-ME) and Thomas Carper (D-DE) for their tenacity in guiding this truly bipartisan and effective legislation through the Senate. We also thank our own senators Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) who stood with us as co-sponsors of this bill. Passage of comprehensive postal reform legislation is critically important to printers and mailers. The provision of a reliable and affordable universal mail delivery system is essential to our industries and to the significant portion of the U.S. economy that is built around the U.S. Postal Service. S. 662 supports the use of mail and protects our jobs. This bill accomplishes the most pressing elements of reform, and would place the USPS in a sound position to respond to the unprecedented competitive and other challenges facing it early in this new century. IWCO Direct is confident that as postal reform now moves forward to a House-Senate conference committee the conferees and the Bush Administration will be able to achieve final legislation that upholds the principles already articulated in the Senate bill. Our industry has worked tirelessly and come too far to give up now and start all over on postal reform. James N. Andersen is president and CEO of IWCO Direct. Contact him at 952-470-6405




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