October 29, 2013 1:15 am -

That’s because extremist Republicans insisted that the USPS prepay retirement benefits year ahead of time, putting the Post Service firmly in the red.

The Nation emailed subscribers a note today asking for $120,272 in donations, a hefty chunk of change the journal will owe as a result of the “impending postal rate hike crisis,” as the note puts it.

“Tea Party–backed conservatives helped force the US Postal Service into requesting an emergency rate hike — one that will cost The Nation an additional $120,272 every year. While corporate media can handle this kind of a bill, The Nation can’t foot it alone,” President Teresa Stack wrote to the nonprofit publication’s readers…

The United States Postal Service announced its proposed price changes, including a three-cent increase in the cost of first-class mail postage, in a news release on Sept. 25. It expects the changes, which would go into effect this January, to raise $2 billion in additional revenue a year.

The Nation’s donation page blames conservative Republicans, like U.S. Rep. Darrel Issa, for “forc[ing] the Post Office into requesting an emergency rate hike.”

But Stack’s personal take on the subject is more nuanced: “Postal politics are very complicated,” said Stack, a “postal nerd” in her own words. “[The Postal Service] will tell you the reason that they’ve lost so much money is because of these ridiculous pre-payments they have to make for future health benefits, which is something the Republican Congress will not compromise on.”

While Republicans push for the privatization of the post—and in the short term, “common sense cost-cutting reforms, like 5-day mail/6-day package delivery,” as Rep. Issa advocated in a statement—Stack believes that Congress should end the Postal Service’s mandate to invest billions in postal workers’ future retirement benefits.