To The Editor:

The current crisis facing our national postal system is essentially manufactured by Congress.

So Congress needs to fix it now for the long term.

It is true the Internet has transformed how Americans communicate with each other and pay their bills. Also, the recession has contributed substantially to a steep decline in volume of first-class mail.

But this is not the main reason why the quasi-government postal service is in the red. In 2006, in an obvious attempt at union busting, Congress passed a law requiring the postal service to pre-fund 75 years of employee health care benefits in just a decade.

This is something that no other government agency or Congress must do. Pre-funding costs $5.5 billion per year. Last year’s deficit: $5.1 billion.

Last week the U.S. Senate passed a bill to postpone the closing of 3,700 rural post offices, 252 regional sorting centers and ending Saturday delivery by May 15.

The House of Representatives should pass this bill even though it is flawed. And the president should sign the bill.

But this is a stopgap deal. It is just the beginning to taking care of our mail service. The postal service is a vital government service and civic institution, and it should remain so.

Privatizing the postal service will deliver the nation to second-class status and do that very quickly.

Some people fail to realize that the postal service delivers mail on a worldwide basis.