Researcher and Writer in Washington, DC

The Postal Service’s $130 Billion Prob...

The Postal Service’s $130 Billion Problem

The United States Postal Service has many troubles. Mail volume has plunged more than 30 percent since 2007. The agency, which was designed to be self-funding, has run deficits for many years. And earlier this year, the postmaster general told Congress the agency would run out of cash in 2024. If that happens, the USPS […]

We deliver for who? USPS financial woes continue; congressional reform unlik...

We deliver for who? USPS financial woes continue; congressional reform unlikely

About $8.8 billion — that is how much the U.S. Postal Service lost in the past year. That is an eye-popping number. The agency is also carrying $11 billion in debt and has more than $120 billion in funded pension and health liabilities. To be sure, some of that deficit is due to actuarial factor. […]

The broken budget process is a democracy reform is...

The broken budget process is a democracy reform issue

It is difficult to overstate how wrecked the federal budget process is. Late last month, President Trump signed a 30-day stopgap funding measure to dodge a government shutdown. This was the second time this autumn that Congress and the president had to resort to such a continuing resolution. Governing through short-term spending bills has become […]

Elizabeth Warren declares war on charter scho...

Elizabeth Warren declares war on charter schools

Last month, Elizabeth Warren paid a visit to the National Education Association (NEA). She was doing what candidates always do: hunting for votes. So one can understand why she was there and why she wanted to please the union. But her comments on charter schools were an affront to any parent or anyone who cares […]

A permanent committee to fix Congr...

A permanent committee to fix Congress

Congress is a basket case. Our national legislature has passed only a couple dozen laws this year, a count which includes legislation naming a post office and appointing former Senator Bob Dole a colonel. Committees, once congressional powerhouses, are moving little legislation and are conducting fewer oversight hearings than in past decades. Meanwhile, huge issues—like […]

Making sure Congress is not outgun...

Making sure Congress is not outgunned

I enjoyed reading the response essays of Will Rinehart, Betsy Hawkings and Berin Szóka. They all make good points and bring valuable facts and ideas to the discussion. On the most macroscopic level, all of us seem to agree that Congress is ill-equipped to oversee, let alone make, good policy on highly scientific or technological […]

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