I was checking out the Toledo Blade today and stumbled onto an article talking about the trouble caused by consolidating the US Postal Service’s Lima sorting center with the Toledo operation. The article quoted Congressman Jim Jordan who represents the district that was served by the Lima center. Unfortunately he, like many Americans, falsely believe the postal service is supported by direct tax payer dollars.
“When it comes to government consolidation, streamlining, and saving money, we’re all for it. In fact, we’ve been one of the loudest voices in Washington for finding ways to save federal money,” said Ray Yonkura, Mr. Jordan’s chief-of-staff.
But when the congressman’s office began getting flooded with calls from constituents about erratic mail delivery after the consolidation, he stepped in. Mr. Jordan asked the Office of Inspector General to review the consolidation to reveal what went wrong, whether the hundreds of complaints his office received were legitimate, and what could be done to fix things.
Congress does have oversight of the postal service but it hasn’t been supported by tax dollars since 1970.
The Modern Postal Service: Agency or Business?
Until adoption of the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, the U.S. Postal Service functioned as a regular, tax-supported, agency of the federal government.
According to the laws under which it now operates, the U.S. Postal Service is a semi-independent federal agency, mandated to be revenue-neutral. That is, it is supposed to break even, not make a profit.
In 1982, U.S. postage stamps became “postal products,” rather than a form of taxation. Since then, The bulk of the cost of operating the postal system has been paid for by customers through the sale of “postal products” and services rather than taxes.
And from the USPS website:
0 — tax dollars received for operating the Postal Service
So Jordan’s effort to score political points took a hit on this issue.