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Why is it that health insurance rate increases continue to get Government approval?  Year after year my health insurance raises their prices.  The price has gone up every year for the past 8 years.

I have seen price hikes of 20% and more, all supposedly reviewed by state governments prior to approval.

Yet the Postal Regulatory Commission denied a one cent increase in the price of a stamp in 2011.  The reason for denying the request is unbelievable.

"A majority of the Commission finds that the recent recession, and the declining mail volume experienced during the recession, do qualify as ns extraordinary or exceptional circumstance," wrote the PRC. "However, the Commission finds that the requested exigent rate adjustments are not designed to respond to the recent recession, or its impact on mail volume. Rather, they represent an attempt to address long-term structural problems not caused by the recent recession."

Sure the recession is an extraordinary or exceptional circumstance causing the downfall of inumerable individuals, businesses, banks, cities and even entire countries.  Yes, investment banks were given billions upon billions of dollars, insurance agencies were bailed out and the auto industry needed government help.  Cities and states lost untold amounts of money and were forced to lay off millions of people, reduce pensions and salaries of employees.  Many we're even forced to increase the cost of fees and services.

But the recession isn't what's ailing the Postal Service, of course not.  You're in trouble because you don't know how to run your business.  

The PRC denied The US Postal service a one cent increase on September 30, 2010 and that very same day, FedEx announced a 5.9% rate increase followed by UPS's announcement of their 5.9% rate increase on October 1st, the day after the Post office
got royally screwed.

I'm pretty confident the US Postal Service is screwed.


Is the US Postal Service doomed?

20%13 votes
9%6 votes
0%0 votes
15%10 votes
53%34 votes

| 63 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  You're not giving me much options. (14+ / 0-)

    I want to simply vote "No", but I can't agree with any of the qualifiers you put on your "No" answers.

    I think that the post office is under attack, but it will survive, because UPS and FedEx aren't going to get into delivering ordinary mail. There are people who want to drive the post office out, but there's no one who can do their job.

    Denying a one cent increase in postal rates is partly an attack in the post office, and partly simply phony populism. Someone might make an attack out of raising postal rates. America as one of the lowest postal rates in the world. People complain about how high postage is, but if they had to send their letters by FedEx, they would pay a lot more.

    It's a manufactured crisis. The USPS is having trouble because they are forced to fund their retirement fund for 70 years. That means they are paying for the retirement of people who haven't even been BORN yet. No business has to do this, UPS and FedEx do not have to. It's an attempt to drive the post office out of business.

    But I don't think it will work. I don't think that the public would stand to close down the post office. It is controversial enough to limit delivery and close down some branches.

    The solution is to give the USPS a break and stop forcing them to make unreasonable levels of funding for the retirement programs.

    The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

    by A Citizen on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:25:39 PM PST

    •  You are right and funny. (0+ / 0-)

      You wanted just a simple 'no' option?  I'm glad you added your footnote.

      I agree on most, but the constitution doesn't say that Post Offices and Post roads can't be privately owned or even a publicly traded corporation.

      It just states that Congress will establish them.

      In fact I'm sure Republicans will insist that the lack of any asignation of responsibility to the goverment is proof itself that the founding fathers never intended the post office  to remain a government service.

      I'm pretty sure that that implied intent is doomed as well.

    •  The solution is to give the USPS a break (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      renzo capetti, furi kuri

      Is Tom Delay still in prison? Can we keep him there?

    •  What will happen is (0+ / 0-)

      ...that the Postal Service will survive by handling unprofitable residential deliveries for UPS and FedEx at taxpayer-subsidized rates.

      Privatize the profits, socialize the losses.

  •  Yes. It's Lance's fault. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    furi kuri

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:38:02 PM PST

  •  USPS was screwed by the GOP well before the (22+ / 0-)

    recession, when they mandated in 2006 that the USPS funnel profits into funding 75 years worth of employee pensions within 10 years (that is, by 2016).

    I'll say that again, so it sinks in -- in 2006, the GOP mandated had 10 years to save up enough profits within 10 years to pre-fund pensions for employees that haven't been born yet.

    Without that mandate, and despite the recession, the USPS would be doing peachy and would be comfortably in the black.

    This, however, might be the "long-term" situation that was referred to.

    It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

    by Murphoney on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:38:17 PM PST

    •  **"...GOP mandated USPS had 10 years..." (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus, jlms qkw, GreyHawk, Gooserock

      It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

      by Murphoney on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:39:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is the only explanation that matters (6+ / 0-)

      Such a giant joke upon the USPS, and upon all of us

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 12:06:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm pretty sure that if given control over setting (6+ / 0-)

      The price of their product they would have been able to fulfill all of their obligations remember, the Postal Service has a mandate to be Revenue neutral.

      They've never made a profit because they aren't allowed to.

      A fact that politicians never explain to the public when they point to their debt.  If Congress allowed the postal service a means to store revenue surplus they would never have gotten into trouble.

      By the way, the only reason I can think of for Congress' insane rules to prefund 75 years worth of retirement is so when they DO succeed in privatizing the PO, someone will be getting filthy rich.

      •  The GOP's screw-job had nothing to do with pricing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GreyHawk, Gooserock

        and no one suggested that the USPS should or would have control of its pricing, so I don't know what you're on about.

        The fact remains that current pricing (and likely even 2006-pricing) would be sufficient to keep USPS deficit (and debt)-free if not for the GOP's poison pill.

        It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

        by Murphoney on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 12:22:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You may be right but no one really knows. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The Internet hit the PO hard and the recession made it worse.

          •  there are financial records and analyses that (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            renzo capetti, Gooserock

            spell out the health of the USPS through the periods prior to and post-mandate. To suggest "no one knows" is not credible. Zero credibility in that statement.

            Moreover, the affect of the internet is entirely separate from both the recession and the GOP mandate.  It changed the nature of the USPS business -- there are trends that spell out the impact -- but that business changed in response and the balance sheets reflect it.

            It's not majik and it's not a mystery -- it's a fact that the GOP fucked the Post Office's bottom line in the ass.

            It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

            by Murphoney on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 01:32:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I know, I agree with you, but I don't (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Agree that the post office could remain debt free at 2006 stamp prices.

              The Internet has been a huge disaster for the post office.

              Hen is the last time you wrote a letter and sent it by mail?

              Perhaps the PO could have managed with the Internet only but when Facebook appeared and without the ability to raise it's prices accordingly, the was doomed anyway.

              Congress just tried to speed the process up and if they won 4 more years, it would probably have been over.

              But that's just speculation.

          •  it's all in the numbers... (0+ / 0-)

            It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

            by Murphoney on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 01:51:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  So although its the job of the PRC to set (0+ / 0-)

          The price of a stamp to ensure the post office remains revenue neutral, Congress' mandating a $5 billion/year additional cost to a revenue neutral business, is the only reason why the US postal service is in debt?

          The Postal Service is looking at a $9 billion debt this year which is $4 billion more than the $5 billion it needs for the ret. fund.

          Despite all of the lay offs and the cost cutting it' done, it is still running a debt.

          No one can ship a letter across country for $0.45 anymore.

          It's just not possible.

          •  you're certainly slinging numbers, but are you (0+ / 0-)

            talking debt, or deficit?  Are you mixing and mismatching?

            Do you know?

            It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

            by Murphoney on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 01:57:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Great question. What do you think. (0+ / 0-)

              If the post office defaults on its payment to the retirement fund that Congress has mandated so it can pay other debts like workers compensation insurance.  And the total amount that it owes is 15 billion dollars, which is debt and which is deficit?

              Debt and deficit amount to much the same thing i suppose for an entity like the US postal service which cannot do much about either.  

              Technically speaking, the PRC should be ensuring the PO doesn't run a deficit to the point that the deficit turns into unpaid debt.

              Technically that is.

              Really, I don't know anything more than what can glean from sources.

              Truthfully, the $9 billion dollars was in fact an educated guess.  There are numbers ranging from $5 to $15 billion and after everything I've read I felt that $9 billion was probably the closest to the truth I could get.

              Now, that would be confirmed debt and not deficit.  The number depends on when the next $5 billion is due.

              I think congress has delayed the due date.

    •  Why do you think they did this and now are (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DerAmi, UnionMade, Chi

      Trying to privatize it?

      Someone's going to be making a lot of money.

  •  The Post Office, is not, and should not be a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, Cedwyn, notrouble


    Started off in 1863 @ $.06.

    Not bad for 150 years of inflation.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 12:19:32 AM PST

    •  It is a business. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It does business.  It charges a fee to perform a service.

      That's doing business.

      •  No. (7+ / 0-)

        Is the DMV a business? How about the SSA?


        The Post Office is a vital government service, it's not supposed to make a profit. It is supposed to mitigate costs, not make profits.

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 04:15:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Post Office (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Does not get government funds.  So it may be a government service, but it isn't funded by the government.

          It is funded by the money it collects in exchange for its services.

          If your definition of a business is making profit, then I won't be able to debate this.

          There are such things as nonprofit businesses.

          •  ... since 1971... (0+ / 0-)

            Interesting timeframe:

            Before that it was a cabinet level organization. Here's the wiki on the Postal Service Act.

            And if you want a he said she said:

            Personally, I like the old post office. The one with postal trucks and pensions for awesome guys like Mr. Gene, our postal carrier when I was a kid.

            Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

            by k9disc on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 05:25:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are siting (0+ / 0-)

              And Wikipedia to support your argument?

              That's truly amazing.

              •  No, I'm citing the fact that the post office was (0+ / 0-)

                changed in the 70s from a government institution to some kind of quasi-government institution of the nature you cite.

                I just happened to find those sitting at the top of the list.

                They were both pretty decent breakdowns.

                Actually, the cite really sounded like it was up your argument's alley.

                Feel free to prove them wrong, outside of attacking the messenger. If you do I will engage in some deeper research and either set you straight or concede to your point.

                I bet you will have to cite Cato, CEI and/or Heritage...  

                Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

                by k9disc on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 08:55:59 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  No! I want to be clear. You did cite (0+ / 0-)

                  and Wikipedia in support of your arguments.  You have made some pretty solid statements here about the Postal Service and what kind of institution it is, is not, or should be.

                  Like I stated in one of my earlier comments, if we disagree on the definition of a business, I won't be able to debate with you.  But I read the sites you linked to and I found them lacking in support of your argument.

                  I'd like to say one last thing, not everyone with a differing opinion is an opponent.  Up until you suggested that I would need to cite right wing sites to prove you wrong, I believed we were probably on the same page but using different fonts.

                  It is not my burden to prove that the sites you cite are wrong.  It is your burden to defend the sites you cite as being right

                  Especially when none of them support your argument.

                  •  Well why don't you prove my points wrong (0+ / 0-)

                    that it was a big position in the US Government that ran from congressional pursestrings until 1971.

                    And that since, it has been altered to become more akin to what you are talking about.

                    You do that, and I'll be happy to go down 5-10 pages on google and do a little 'research'.

                    Here's historical rates, and look at that giant bump in the 70s and beyond, post- Postal Reorganization act:

                    Looks to me like it became a business alright, depending on what kind of business you're talking about. ;-)

                    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

                    by k9disc on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 10:07:48 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Republican Privitization (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Republicans want to destroy USPS.  Their goal from Regan on has been to kill it.  The pay ahead is insanity, but very effective in hobbling USPS.  Republican postmasters doing whatever they can to drive away users is the norm.

    If Obama would put a Postmaster General in who wanted to make the USPS functional he could.  Changing the pay ahead requires a functioning Congress, something we have to wait another two years for.

    And, we need to ensure the various labor organizations are supported.   These unions are the only way to keep the postal employees protected from management and Republicans.

    •  Too bad it won't happen (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Hamlet, VClib, Chi

      hate to bust the bubble here, but there's absolutely NO WAY UPS and FedEx would EVER allow USPS to die.  They depend too much on USPS for "last mile" delivery services, especially in rural areas.  

      UPS and FedEx don't make money on delivering one package to a rural Nebraska county.  So they pay USPS to do it, after delivering it in their system to the nearest depot.  These two companies will fight to keep USPS alive, especially in rural areas where they don't want to have to build infrastructure.  

      Yeah the rs will make it messy, but USPS will not die.  

      •  Really, NO WAY? (0+ / 0-)

        I hate to burst your bubble, but FedEx and UPS both want to acquire the assets of the Post Office and when that happens, and I think it's very probable, they will have assets and an infrastructure to perform the job.

        Believing that FedEx isn't interested in taking over the Post Office isn't realistic.

  •  I figure they want to kill it (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arlandbaee, BachFan, The Hamlet, Gooserock, Chi

    because it works and they can't have that. I'm 60 plus and have never had a letter or package get lost or damaged. More often than not stuff I mail gets to its destination before I think it will.

    I've been annoyed sometimes when they don't fwd mail as well as they used to but on the other hand I sent a letter to a company named on an old wood cookstove thermometer that made it to the manufacturer in a town whose name had changed nearly 100 years ago.

    Yep cut the mail service but keep feeding the pentagon that can't even have an audit as it's so messed up.

    music- the universal language

    by daveygodigaditch on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 01:37:38 AM PST

  •  TheFoundingFathers would smack Hell out of/GOP (7+ / 0-)

    clime parches on. terms: ocean rise, weather re-patterning, storm pathology, drout-famine, acceptance of nature.

    by renzo capetti on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 02:54:30 AM PST

  •  Behind every problem we face there lies a heaping (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, Cedwyn, notrouble

    pile of Republican BS causing the sickness.  Americans don't want the Post Office shut down.  They know it's in the Constitution and Benjamin Franklin was the first Postmaster General.  The Internet and cell phones have changed the nature of mail, though and consolidation will be a compromise we have to be willing to make.  But, this funding obscenity they have concocted is just more of their bald thievery of our national treasures.  I don't think they are going to get away with it.

    "Something in the way, yeah." Kurt Cobain

    by The Hamlet on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 05:54:18 AM PST

  •  A measure of how far the Post Office has fallen (0+ / 0-)

    I started work this month at the EPA. Actually, I'm just a legal intern, but that's neither here nor there. The point being, the building the EPA is in is quite old ==the Ariel Rios building (it's actually a complex of connected buildings). Pre-war, etc. It's old looking, but also quite grand. WPA murals. Most impressive is the area where the Administrator's office is. Lots of dark marble and wood. Spectacular ceilings, etc. Originally, this was where the Postal Service had its offices -- a General, presiding over a nationwide army. Not so grand these days.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

    by FischFry on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 07:54:36 AM PST

  •  i don't know... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notrouble many here work at the PO. i will have 25 yrs in june as a letter carrier. all the talk about the health care prepayments and internet costing the PO billions is correct. but one thing that never seems to get mentioned is that it is a really mean spirited,soul crushing place to work. terribly managed with contempt for employees and customers alike. to family and friends i refer to it as the "american gulag". i have 5 more years to go then i can retire with little or no penalty. can't wait to get the @#%$ out!!!!

    •  You are a letter carrier? (0+ / 0-)

      You are the first person I've heard complain about working for the US Postal service.

      The salary for an equivalent job at FedEx is about half the salary.

      •  maybe... (0+ / 0-)

        ...if fedex employees had bargaining rights they would be better off. i'm not complaining about salary or benefits. thanks to our union the nalc the benefits are pretty generous for what is "unskilled" labor. i object to being treated as a thief or worse by a management culture that is riddled drunks, womanizers drug addicts and people who, when they were carriers and clerks were poorly regarded by their peers. the PO is a classic example of the "foxes guarding the henhouse". external pressures aside, the PO is in the hole because it has been MANAGED into the hole deliberatly. article 3 of our contract basicly says that "management has the right to mismanage" and they do it day in and day out.

  •  Would Reccomned this Read (0+ / 0-)

    by Kossack Bob Sloan

    It is located  HERE

    He details a lot of information regarding the move to privatization of the USPS.

    •  great article... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...and i agree with just about everthing bob wrote. but even if we can get congress to give us back some of the money the PO has overpaid to the health benifits fund and get the service out of the red that still keeps in place a sadistic management culture. until that changes the PO will just sputter on, losing money and ticking people off.

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