By David Soll
Back in early January, there was a town hall meeting about the potential closing of the Post Office facility on Harrison Avenue in Rockford. I was appalled by the seeming lack of respect the hosts seemed to have for the intelligence of the citizens in attendance and the whole of our community. The presentation appears now to have been a whitewash of reality as to what ails one of our greatest American institutions, the U.S. Postal Service. That reality is H.R. 6407: “The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act” of 2006.
This “law” was passed during the lame-duck session of December 2006 by voice vote, not by roll call. What does “voice vote” mean? A voice vote is a legislative procedure where members of a given body yell out “yea” or “nay” as a group, instead of a roll call, which would correctly make the elected official attach his or her name to that vote. In effect, the voice vote gives the politicians present political cover, especially when the motion or law in question is controversial.
And that is exactly what H.R. 6407 is. This piece of legislation forces the Post Office to prepay their retirement fund 75 years into the future over a 10-year period at about $5.5 billion a year, starting in 2007. In the entire recorded history of mankind, no government agency or private company has been mandated to do this. It is this mandate that is effectively making the Post Office bankrupt, and many Republicans have been all too happy to point to this, minus the details as to how this happened.
Why the Post Office? My guess is greed, but more likely an ingrained hate of good government. Over the last 30 years, we have been told by a band of well-funded corporate vultures and many willing pundits telling us that government is forever bad. That no matter what government does or what kind of person is working for our government, that it is a necessary evil and untrustworthy to do anything right. These people understand the further removed people are from their own government, it becomes easier for them to fill it with people who don’t care about good government.
As I suspected earlier, it’s likely because the Post Office represents one of the finest, best-run sections of our government. The Post Office is the second-largest employer in America and the largest public union. Not only that, but the Post Office “does not” rely on taxpayer dollars to run. It is this reality that scares those who seek to destroy any semblance of good government, not to mention destroy unions and our rights as workers. Make Ben Franklin proud and support the United States Postal Service any and every chance you get.
David Soll is a Democratic candidate for Winnebago County Board in District 20.
From the Aug. 29-Sept. 4, 2012, issue