Say It Ain’t So, Obama

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President Obama has announced his intent to nominate Robert G. Taub as Commissioner, Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC).  That's bad news for those concerned about post office closings.  Taub, who's a former aide to a Republican Congressman, was instrumental in developing the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which is one of the reasons the Postal Service is in such financial straits.  As this article explains, "The cause of the Postal Service’s multi-billion dollar losses over the last few years is a little-known provision of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which requires the USPS to pre-fund future retiree healthcare liabilities."  This costs the USPS more than $5 billion annually, and had it not been for these payments (which no other government agency is required to make), the Postal Service might be showing a profit instead of a deficit.  It's the Postal Regulatory Commission that plays a crucial role in the "discontinuance" process the Postal Service must follow when it chooses to close a post office.  The PRC handles an appeal when the public is dissatisfied with the Postal Service's decision to close a post office, and the PRC weighs in with an "advisory opinion" on proposed changes to the closure process—as it did just last week

 

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