Monday, February 28, 2011

Who Represents the Administration on Postal Policy?

The Office of Management and Budget media office has provided the following response to my question regarding why OMB Director Jacob Lew is not testifying at the Postal Hearing this Wednesday.

"As a matter of policy, the OMB Director doesn't testify before subcommittees on issues not directly related to OMB’s appropriations." 

If this is standard policy for OMB then the Subcommittee may have posted the hearing schedule prior to knowing the protocol.  

The problem that the Committee faced in trying to pick a witness to present the Obama administration proposal for the Postal Service that is included in the 2012 budget is who represents the administration's position.  For most departments it is clear.   The Secretary or Administrator of the department of the department or agency gets the call to explain the proposed budgetary changes.   For the Postal Service, this is not so clear.  

It is not the place of either the Postmaster General or the Chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission to present government policy for the postal market.  The adversarial relationship between the regulator and the regulated entity prevents either from doing more than present the perspective of their own organization on the proposal made in the Obama 2012 budget.   For example, it is clear that if the Postal Service could have submitted a budget proposal of its own choosing it would have removed the requirement that it maintain 6-day delivery.   What changes the Postal Regulatory Commission would have made is less certain.   There are also a fairly long list of postal policy issues that the Postal Regulatory Commission and the Postal Service would differ that affect postal finances and how they affect the budget which creates the appearance that there is no such thing as "government postal policy" in the United States.

Let's hope that the Committee can quickly find out who will represent the Obama administration on postal policy.   Until that happens, the 2012 budget proposal for the Postal Service risks becoming little more than a policy orphan.


mywebskip said...

Fewer and fewer people continue to NOT use the postal service. Maybe it'll just fade away and die off like the pony express. I've heard over and over how the usps is one of the most trusted governmental conglomerates. That's nice. May I suggest we just table any postal issues for now. I'm sure there are more important things to worry about on this crusty old planet. We can take a look see if any things left of the Post Office in about 30 years when the last Gov. bail out payment is made.

Anonymous said...

I guess the postal service's unions control Obama's postal policy. If the postal sevice wants five day delivery as well as 70% of the public why not?

Anonymous said...

Where did you get 70%? Anyway it is the paying customer that concerns the PO as the bulk mailers want Saturday delivery. BTW, it was Bush that created this problem with his TAX on the PO. No, I do not miss him.

Anonymous said...

mywebskip...there IS no government bailout. If you had overpaid your electric bill and you had finally convinced the electric company to refund some of that money to you, would you call that a bailout? Furthermore, would you be happy that they decided to repay it to you over a 30 year period? Hmmm...thought not.

mn4470 said...

A modern example of a governmental boondoggle.
First the post Office is overcharged by the government for THIRTY YEARA for retirement contributions (60 billion)

Then the government forces the Post Office to "pre-pay" retiree health benefits.($40 billion) No thher federal agency or private company in the country does this because it is poor business.

Then, an this is the kicker, they refuse to GIVE BACK the money and say that the Post Office needs a bailout!!!

Congress is a disgrace! All this is is legalized(by Congress) thievry.

And these are our leaders ? ? ?