Americans for Tax Reform led a coalition letter expressing support for an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill sponsored by Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) that would bar taxpayer dollars from going to the post office expanding its presence in the financial services sector, as well as prohibiting the creation of any pilot programs for postal banking made between USPS and organized labor.
Supporters of postal banking argue that bank branch closures in recent years leave underserviced consumers without access to financial services, however, FDIC data has shown there are nearly 90,000 bank branches in the U.S., three times more than that of post offices. With that, their massive data breach in 2014 compromised the private information of 2.9 million customers. USPS failed to protect the Social Security Numbers of millions, and certainly shouldn’t be trusted with their financial information.
Proponents also assert that allowing USPS to expand their banking services would quell some of their financial woes, yet their entry into the market would only further exacerbate their problems. Considering USPS has failed to turn a profit for 12 consecutive years, questions are raised whether the Post Office can effectively execute their duties of delivering first class mail, let alone entering the private market of banking. This is an especially concerning matter for taxpayers who will foot the bill for a bailout when the postal banking venture likely fails.
Americans for Tax Reform led the coalition letter to support the amendment, which can be found here and below.
July 18, 2018
Dear Congressman Patrick McHenry
On behalf of our organizations and the Americans we represent, we write to express support of your Amendment to Division B, within the Financial Services and General Government section of H.R. 6147. This amendment would prohibit the use of any taxpayer funds for postal banking and financial services and prohibit the creation of any new pilot program that would expand this business practice through collective bargaining.
While the USPS serves an important role in delivering mail and packages, we are concerned about expanding the Postal Service’s primary role and allowing the government to compete with the private sector. This would include lower fees, subsidized services and even competing based on real estate and office location.
Consideration of expanding postal operations to engage in banking and financial services is not a new concept. It has been touted as a solution to help stabilize the US Postal Service’s financial practices. The cost alone to hire additional workers and retrain existing employees to offer banking products would further undermine the Postal Service’s budgetary issues.
Additionally, we have reservations about the ability of the Postal Service to safeguard customers’ identities and information such as bank accounts and passwords. Regardless of the federal agency, the government has shown it can be slow to react to cyber threats, allowing bad actors to access citizens’ private records.
It is clear the US Postal Service’s financial health is troubling. Expanding USPS’s operations to compete with private sector banks and credit unions is not the answer. We, the undersigned organizations, support your amendment to H.R. 6147 and encourage its inclusion in the final appropriations legislation.
Grover G. Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform
Executive Director, Heritage Action
President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Executive Vice President, National Taxpayers Union
Vice President of Policy, R Street Institute
Andrew F. Quinlan
President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity
Vice President for Strategy and Sr. Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute