J. Curtis: Sen. Collins in denial

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Sen. Susan Collins wrongly asserts that, “The funding of the liability for future retiree health benefits is not the reason why the Postal Service is in a financial crisis.” (“Postal system’s financial woes spark debate in Maine,” Sun Journal, Feb. 3)

Her denial may stem from her lead role in passing legislation in 2006 requiring the USPS to set aside $5.5 billion annually for 10 years (2007-2017) to prefund retiree health benefits for 75 years into the future. No other government agency or private firm was hit with this mandate.

The $21 billion diverted to prefunding thus far accounts for 84 percent of USPS debt.

The 2006 mandate was passed even though USPS’ future liabilities were already on solid ground. The Office of the Inspector General, which performs independent and objective audits of USPS’ programs, confirmed this recently when he acknowledged that the Postal Service “has built a war chest of over $326 billion to address future liabilities, prefunding combined pension and retiree health care obligations at 91 percent.”

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The bill Sen. Collins is co-sponsoring, S. 1789, reflects her denial of the prefunding problem and does not adequately address it.

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ S. 1853 would end unnecessary prefunding in order to retain essential services such as door-to-door and six-day mail delivery, while requiring the USPS to modernize and offer new services. It would protect retirees, current employees and customers at no cost to taxpayers. This is clearly the best way to deliver America’s postal service from ruin.

John H. Curtis, Surry

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