Chances are that Congress will figure out some clever legislative way to keep the U.S. Postal Service from going into technical default Aug. 1.
The Postal Service says it will be unable to make a $5.5 billion contribution to a retiree health benefits fund that’s due on that due.
The payment originally was due awhile back, but the government gave it permission to defer the payment.
The law requiring the Postal Service to pre-fund retiree health benefits obligations applies to no other employers. Congress has heaped that requirement on the Postal Service at a time when the tentatively private organization faces fierce competition from UPS, Federal Express and the Internet.
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On the one hand: I still like the fact that I get snail mail, even if I’m too tired to mail all of those thank you notes and postcards I ought to be mailing. It seems mean for Congress to go out of its way to apply such strict rules to such a charming old government agency.
On the other hand: Employers that promise benefits ought to live up their promises. What good is “working for employers that pay poorly but offer great benefits” if they don’t actually provide the benefits? What kind of country has a government agency that intentionally shafts longtime employees?