CAGW Names McCaskill Porker of the Month | Citizens Against Government Waste

CAGW Names McCaskill Porker of the Month

Porker of the Month

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Leslie K. Paige    202.467.5334

September 21, 2011

Luke Gelber    202.467.5305


(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) its September Porker of the Month for suggesting that the United States Postal Service (USPS) could solve its financial problems by embarking on a new ad campaign.  At a September 6, 2011Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing at which Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe speculated that the USPS could be out of business by the end of the year, Sen. McCaskill stated, “I really believe that if somebody would begin to market the value of sending a written letter to someone you love, you might be surprised [by] how you could stabilize first-class mail.” She admitted that her comments were “corny, naïve and pollyanish;” the  Daily Show’s Jon Stewart agreed.     

While Sen. McCaskill’s solution is certainly offbeat, the House and Senate have failed to prevent the USPS from running up against its $15 billion line of credit on September 30; without congressional action, the USPS will either go bankrupt or start borrowing directly from taxpayers to pay its bills.  An April 12, 2010 Government Accountability Office report stated that the USPS business model “is not viable due to USPS’s inability to reduce costs sufficiently in response to continuing mail volume and revenue declines.”   The agency is projected to lose $10 billion this year after losing more than $8 billion over the last two years.  First class mail, which makes up more than half of USPS revenue, peaked in 2006, fell 20 percent over the last four years, and will continue to fall.  The impending financial crisis is certainly not a surprise, and as usual, Congress is more likely to write a multi-billion dollar check from taxpayers than solve a problem. 

The USPS has 600,000 employees and is the second-largest employer in America behind Wal-Mart.  The USPS Office of Inspector General reported that employees were paid $21.9 million for 875,540 hours of “stand-by” time in FY 2010, and $4.3 million for 170,666 hours in the first half of FY 2011.  The USPS also has a 24 percent vacancy rate in its 284 million square feet of interior office space. 

The root of Congress’s failure to solve the USPS’ financial woes is demonstrated by two diametrically opposed postal reform bills.  House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is working to pass legislation that will protect taxpayers and steer the USPS toward solvency by eliminating Saturday delivery, changing the retirement system for future workers, and closing excess facilities.  The other bill, introduced today by Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), would allow the USPS to enter new lines of business with the help of a “chief innovation officer,” among other provisions.    

“Freeing the agency to engage in non-postal businesses which will compete unfairly with private sector businesses is a lousy idea,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz.  “Any reforms that fail to address the USPS’ command-and-control business model must be dismissed in favor of reform that scales the agency’s labor pool to meet shrinking demand and moves it toward a free market solution.  Sen. McCaskill’s wistful idea of a PR campaign is indicative of how out of touch Congress is with the condition of USPS’s finances.” 

For dreaming up silly letter-writing commercials while the USPS careens toward insolvency, Sen. Claire McCaskill is CAGW’s September Porker of the Month.

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.  Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers. 

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