On November 16, I had the honor of participating on the final panel at a postal conference sponsored by the USPS Office of Inspector General (USPS OIG). The panel’s topic was Fireside Chat, which drew conclusions from the previous panels who spoke about service, cost, and pricing modules and posing strategic/big picture questions for the future. While many of the previous panels spoke about data points and getting the Postal Service to get their finances in line, I kindly reminded the attendees the Postal Service is strapped with two mandates that in large part represent huge costs for the USPS; the mandated pre-funding requirement and the universal service obligation.
As many of you are aware, the pre-funding mandate imposed by Congress represents 100% of the USPS’ losses in previous years. This is an incredible burden on the USPS’ finances itself, one that no other government agency or corporation is required to pre-fund. On the other hand, the USPS has its universal service obligation, an obligation that requires the USPS to travel to every address, every day, six and seven days a week. This is an obligation, in my opinion, that makes the Postal Service the national treasure it is today. We touch the lives of everyone, whether you live in an urban city or rural America. It is an obligation to the American people that says no matter where you live, you will receive your mail at the same cost everyone else pays. It’s an expensive obligation, but an essential obligation that must continue.
The panel was moderated by Tammy Whitcomb, Acting Inspector General, and included Kevin Calamoneri, Deputy General Counsel for USPS, Tonda Rush of NNA, and Kevin Koser of R Street.
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