By now everybody knows about the financial problems of the U.S. Postal Service, which defaulted on a $5 billion payment owed to the U.S. Treasury last August. You would think Congress would have done something about this. But 2012 was an election year. People in Washington were more concerned with their own survival than with coming to the aid of the country’s ailing mail system.
There wasn’t much reward for the few exceptions. Senator Tom Carper, a Democrat from Delaware, helped move a bill through his chamber that would have relieved the USPS of some of its crushing financial obligations. But Representative Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House’s oversight committee, assailed the bill as “a special interest spending binge that would actually make things worse.” Carper responded by frequently blasting House Republicans for failing to pass a more draconian postal-reform bill that Issa himself had crafted. The senator also unveiled the “Carper Countdown Clock” on his website, which ticked off the days that the House failed to act as the USPS was approaching its rendezvous with insolvency. (Clearly that didn’t do any good.)