Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Postal Service OIG Discovers $75 Billion Overpayment, Again

Government-Run

Will Obamacare Go Up In Flames Too?

- By: Larry Walker, Jr. -

"You've got a lot of private companies who do very well competing against the government -- UPS and FedEx are doing a lot better than the Post Office." ~ Barack Obama (Aug. 2009)

According to an article posted on federalnewsradio.com, on June 28, 2010, the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General (OIG) discovered that the Postal Service had made a $75 billion overpayment to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). However, the same problem had already been reported by the OIG back in April of 2004. Apparently nothing was done to correct the problem in 2004, and it doesn’t appear that anything has been done about it to date. (If this has since been resolved, please comment below, and point me to your reference.) Following is an excerpt from the aforementioned article:

In what could be the best game of Monopoly™ ever, Postmaster General John Potter may have just drawn a card that reads "Inspector General finds error in your favor. Collect $75 billion dollars."

The Inspector General for USPS took a closer look at the Civil Service Retirement System and found massive overpayments dating back decades.

Michael Thompson, Director of Capital Investments for the Postal Service Office of Inspector General, explained for Federal News Radio, "the Postal Service, since 1972, has overfunded by $75 billion its share of civil service retirement and the reason for that is because the methodology that's used is not comparable to the methodologies that's used for all the other federal retirement funds."

Thompson said the Office of Personnel Management, in deciding how much the Postal Service should pay into the CSRS, is currently using a different method developed in 1974. They've said they aren't going to change unless Congress tells them to, according to Thomson.

"The money is sitting in the civil service retirement fund. It's not as though the money is not there. It is there. It's just that the Postal Service has continually paid more than it should have paid."

All it would take, according to Thompson, is for either the OPM to make the change or for Congress to legislate it. That might seem simple enough, but with so much money involved, no one's getting off the dime, literally.

http://www.federalnewsradio.com/index.php?nid=15&sid=1990598#

The article mentioned above is in line with a memo issued by the OIG on June 18, 2010 (excerpt below). I’m just wondering if anyone has “gotten off the dime” as of yet? I mean I know it’s only $75 billion, but one has to wonder just how many unresolved $75 billion overpayments are floating around Washington D.C., with its $14 trillion in debt and all. Where was it that the buck was supposed to stop again?

June 18, 2010

JOSEPH CORBETT
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER & EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

SUBJECT: Management Advisory Report – Civil Service Retirement System Overpayment by the Postal Service (Report Number CI-MA-10-001)

This report presents the results of our review of the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Overpayment by the U.S. Postal Service (Project Number 10YO036CI000). This report discusses the $75 billion CSRS overpayment by the Postal Service in fiscal years (FY) 1972 through 2009. The objective of this review was to assess the facts concerning this overpayment and identify any possible solution(s) to correct the overpayment to the benefit of the Postal Service. This review addresses financial risk.

http://www.uspsoig.gov/foia_files/CI-MA-10-001.pdf

Now if you look back through the records of the OIG, you will discover that a similar memo was issued back in April of 2004 (excerpt below). The 2004 memo stated that the Postal Service was making overpayments to the CSRS, and implied that the problem had been corrected. In fact, the memo states that, “Had the overpayments continued, the Postal Service would have overpaid its obligation by over $100 billion.” Well, apparently the problem wasn’t resolved, because a little over six years later the Postal Service had in fact, overpaid the CSRS by $75 billion. I wonder what happened to the other $25 billion!

April 9, 2004

MEMORANDUM FOR JOHN E. POTTER, POSTMASTER GENERAL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

FROM: /s/ (Scott Wilson for) David C. Williams, Inspector General

SUBJECT: Postal Service’s Funding of the Civil Service Retirement System (Product Number FT-OT-04-002)

This memorandum presents our opinion on the issues surrounding the Postal Service’s funding of the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) (Project Number 03XD009FT005). The objective was to analyze the outstanding issues pertaining to the Postal Civil Service Retirement System Funding Reform Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-18) and to provide our perspective on how the legislation affects the Postal Service and its stakeholders. We have included the differing viewpoints and positions that have been generated by affected groups, including the Department of the Treasury (Treasury), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the General Accounting Office (GAO), the Postal Rate Commission, the President’s Commission on the United States Postal Service (the President’s Commission), mailers, competitors, and the Postal Service.

GAO discovered that the Postal Service’s amortized payments to OPM for its CSRS liability were too large. Had the overpayments continued, the Postal Service would have overpaid its obligation by over $100 billion.

http://www.uspsoig.gov/foia_files/FT-OT-04-002.pdf

It looks like the federal government is just bleeding money on all fronts. Where government backed entities, like the Postal Service, should be turning a profit, instead we find, as the Washington Examiner reported in April of 2010, that “without serious reform [the Postal Service] was set to lose $7 billion in 2010 and $238 billion over the next 10 years...” Perhaps it’s time to end the era of government-sponsored, government-owned, and government-backed entities? One has to wonder, at this point, just exactly what they are backed by - an unlimited ability to incur debt? The time to repeal Obamacare is now. The time to cap the debt ceiling is now. Enough is enough.

Photo Credit: KRTV.com

Other References: Will Obama create the Post Office of health care?

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