Letter to the Editor

Nelson: Don't close rural post offices before trying to fix USPS

Friday, December 9, 2011

December 9, 2011 -- Today, Nebraska's Senator Ben Nelson asked for a six-month moratorium to prevent the U.S. Postal Service from closing or consolidating local mail processing facilities or rural post offices. This delay will provide an opportunity to comprehensively address reform of the Postal Service before post offices and mail processing facilities are closed in rural Nebraska and communities across the country.

"Rural post offices, the services they provide, and the people who provide them, have great value to communities across Nebraska. Congress needs to work with the Postal Service to fix the problems before deciding to reduce services to people who need them," Senator Ben Nelson said. "Deciding to close post offices and mail processing plants for short-term cost reductions is a hasty decision."

Nelson and 19 other senators sent a letter to Senate leadership today, requesting that Congress prevent the USPS from closing or consolidating rural post offices and mail processing facilities.

In the letter, Nelson and his colleagues wrote: "We are concerned that the postal service may preempt Congress on this matter by closing or consolidating nearly 3,700 mostly rural post offices, over 250 mail processing facilities, and eliminating overnight delivery for first class mail before postal reform legislation is enacted. While some of these changes may be needed, we believe that it is very important to give Congress the opportunity to reform the postal service in a way that protects universal service while ensuring its financial viability for decades to come."

Nelson believes Congress must have the opportunity to explore other ways for the Postal Service to save money before immediately closing rural post offices.

"Closing post offices before we try to fix the system is putting the cart before the horse. If it isn't possible to make the necessary reforms that make these post offices viable, then we can consider other options -- but we shouldn't start by closing them," Nelson said.

Recognizing the potential negative impact post office closings could have on rural Nebraskans, the Nebraska State Legislature has approved a resolution opposing the closure of 90 rural post offices.

"With 90 rural post offices targeted for closure in Nebraska, we have to remember that the USPS was created to provide a public service," Nelson said. "Our local post offices play a special role in our communities, keeping us connected to our friends and families, and keeping businesses connected to their customers. They are an important part of our economy and our social fabric, serving every city, suburb and small town in Nebraska."

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  • Senator, there appears to be some upper management problems in the post office. An example is when McCook mail goes to North Platte to be "sorted" and then returns to McCook to be delivered. Moving the mail twice does not seem to make sense.

    -- Posted by dennis on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 3:39 PM
  • Nebraska's infamous Ben Nelson is wrongheaded as usual. Nothing will happen until Congress finds the willpower to reform the postal union and their untenable wages and benefits. It is true that a management that is accountable to the bureaucratic federal government is sure to be as inefficient as any government agency. The greedy unions only exacerbate the problem.

    However, partisan Democrats like Ben Nelson have no desire to reform the postal & public sector unions, since much of their union dues go his party. The six month delay will only serve to allow Nelson and his party to fill their 2012 campaign coffers. It will take a new Congress with majorities in both the House and Senate to break Nelson's death grip on high taxes and ballooning deficits. Realistically, the only long-term solution is to privatize the USPS and as non-union and remove Ben "Cornhusker Kickback" Nelson from power.

    Until then, start shutting the USPS down like Nelson and Obama have been doing to non-union private-sector jobs...

    -- Posted by 9th ID on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 7:17 PM
  • 9th ID

    Can you provide some reference data where Nelson or Obama have been shutting down non-union private sector jobs?


    -- Posted by Geezer on Sat, Dec 10, 2011, at 8:52 AM
  • Geezer,

    Here's just one example of the data you requested:


    Ben Nelson's failed and deficit $800 BILLON "Stimulus" was nothing more than a handout to keep his union cronies employed so they could keep the forced union dues flowing back to the Democrat Party. All the while, the private sector had to cut wages, jobs, and benefits to stay afloat. My company cut 20% of our department along with training/travel, and implemented a wage freeze.

    Ben Nelson is as corrupt as they come in D.C. and has shamed our great state. We hope the good people of McCook will soon remove the idol they erected to Nelson and move it to Omaha or D.C.

    -- Posted by 9th ID on Sat, Dec 10, 2011, at 9:13 AM
  • 9th ID

    You stated these persons are personally responsible and then you list a stimulus program as your proof? You do know that George W. Bush also had a stimulus program don't you?

    Probably a more likely reason your company had to lay off people was due to the collapse of the financial industry resulting in a lack of consumer spending which drives most private industries.

    If you really want to point to a failed government jobs program I would suggest you taking a look at the Repatriation Tax Holiday of 2003. Our congress voted a special tax reduction for deferred income kept in offshore accounts in return for creating 600,000 jobs. When the dust settled 70,000 jobs had been lost. Not to mention that those companies which participated in the program now had a tax advantage over their competitors and the government lost 30% of the taxes owed to them.

    We have experienced 19 months of positive private-sector jobs GROWTH from February 2010 until August 2011.

    We have experienced 15 months of decreases in the number of government jobs starting in June 2010, when 2010 Census workers began to be laid off.

    -- Posted by Geezer on Sat, Dec 10, 2011, at 10:36 AM
  • If you look at the 2010 census data, rural areas have older populations, lower income residents, lack of access to broadband/internet service/computers, etc. The point Senator Nelson makes about these areas needing the post office the most is correct. Even a small amount of research will back this up. Lack of oversight of the USPS has allowed for salaries and benefits that are unsustainable, I agree. And this has been further complicated by the whole retirement pre-funding issue. With that said, though, I don't understand why real savings are not being pursued. 6 day delivery and door-to-door delivery cost an approximate combined $7.5 billion per year, curb side delivery a few billion more. The last savings estimate I've seen on closing almost 3,700 small post offices - $200 million. I applaud Nelson and the other 19 senators for attempting to bring some common sense to this issue. Up until now, cost saving attempts appear to be nothing more than knee-jerk reactions to a very complicated problem. I am grateful to Nelson and our state legislature for representing our entire state, not just big business. I agree that greed is the root cause of many problems in our country on both sides - the corporate world and the unions. It seems to me we need more people in leadership roles who are open-minded enough to fairly and intelligently consider both sides of difficult issues like this one.

    -- Posted by Rural Resident on Sat, Dec 10, 2011, at 3:44 PM
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