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Great article at Nation of Change on the state of the mails.  Needless to say, the big problem is the wreckers from the repugs placing unbelievable burdens on the system to get rid of bad ol' big gubmint.

It can't be said too many times.  The USPS is an example of a well run government service. That of course is what drives the ideologues on the right crazy.  Nation of Change has a good synoptic article on this up.

Rooted in the Constitution and older than the country itself, the U.S. Postal Service supports 7.5 million private-sector jobs in the mailing industry. The Postal Service is essential to the fast-growing Internet sales industry. And the USPS is navigating this struggling economy relatively well, even making an operating profit in the most recent quarter.

Yes, making a profit. When you count how much money the Postal Service earned on postage, and subtract how much it spent delivering the mail and paying related bills, the Postal Service earned a $100 million profit in the last three months of 2012. And remember, the USPS uses no taxpayer money.

So why all this talk about the Postal Service losing money? And why is Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe planning to end Saturday mail delivery?

In short, because the Republicans have placed unconscionable financial burdens on the system, burdens that no other agency, service or for that matter private company has to labor under.  They want to destroy one of the symbols of good government.

I don't get why there isn't a groundswell to get this situation changed, and the mails fixed.  Maybe it's hard.  But losing the USPS and the millions, yup, millions of jobs would be way harder.  

6:29 AM PT: eridani over at Democratic Underground has this up as a post also.  http://www.democraticunderground.com/...

Originally posted to jomi on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 05:36 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Our mail processing plant that serves (36+ / 0-)

    Tucson (one million people in the metro area) and all of rural southern AZ has closed. Mail will now be shipped to Phx and then back down here.

    Cherrybell is the 15th largest processing center in the U.S. Postal Service system, of more than 480, he said.
    http://chronicle12.weebly.com/...

    Why do we keep letting Republicans destroy every single American institution?

    No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.--Lily Tomlin

    by Desert Rose on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 06:11:16 AM PDT

  •  The only things that House Republicans are... (13+ / 0-)

    interested in passing through Congress -- unless of course the president hands 'em an irresistible horrific deal on entitlement reform destruction -- would be legislation naming post offices... and shutting post offices down.

    Sick worthless bastards

    "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

    by markthshark on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 06:35:37 AM PDT

  •  That article is extremely misleading (10+ / 0-)

    The USPS had a $10 billion operating deficit last year and then another $6 billion loss due to the 2006 pre-funding law.  So when an article says that the USPS is operating at a profit (prior to the pre-funding requirement) for the first few months of FY13 it is technically true but entirely misleading.

    Anyone want to make a friendly wager on whether the USPS will be profitable this year?  The rational people will avoid this bet because you can't go from a $10 billion operating deficit to a operating profit without a major overhaul in either your cost structure or your revenue structure and neither has happened.

    So when the USPS loses billions again this year what will we say next year?

    It's time to modernize our USPS system and that means balancing our demand for mail with our desire to pay for it.  Cutting Saturday service is the least we can do.

    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

    by theotherside on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 07:02:21 AM PDT

    •  At *best*, a sloppy choice (3+ / 0-)

      Yes, how very convenient that the chosen time frame is Q4 2012.  It's almost like there was an election and a major holiday that drove up the amount of mass mailings, letters, and packages.  Therefore, to save the post office, we should have Christmas once a quarter and elect a new president every month.  QED.

      •  That is a red herring.. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, aitchdee, patbahn, opinionated, BYw

        "It's almost like there was an election and a major holiday" -

        The United State situates much of its economy around the holiday season. As much as 40% - 50% percent of all consumer spending for the year is done within the last quarter of the year.

        It is convenient that the time frame is Q4 2012 - because it demonstrates that people do indeed rely heavily upon the United state postal service.

        In fact - we do have Christmas once a quarter - or at least attempt to - but we just attribute different names for the same reason. Valentines day - Mothers Day - Fathers day - Easter - ect - throughout the year to be able manufacture reasons to spend money.  

        President Obama would have been a republican in the 1980's & 1990's. Go figure.

        by Tool on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 08:22:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Congress refuses to allow USPS to raise rates. (9+ / 0-)

          Let's just restate that for emphasis:

          Congress refuses to allow USPS to raise rates.

          So all this talk about how the USPS runs a deficit even without adjusting for the retirement nonsense? That's nonsense too.

          "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

          by nosleep4u on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 10:52:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior, Tool

            the US Postal Regulatory Commission determines rates deal with two types of rates.

            Mailing Services also known as Market Dominant which are tied to the Consumer Price Index and Shipping Services which are Competitive Services.

            The Postal Regulatory Commission replaced the Postal Rate Commission when the 2006 PAEA went into effect.

            Since Congress created the 2006 PAEA law, they are responsible for how rates are changed but not quite directly.

            Rates are raised but it depends on the type of service. Market Dominant Services (where the USPS benefits from the postal  letter monopoly and the fact that USPS is the national mail provider) are tied to the CPI so they will always increase or stay the same according to the CPI.

            Competitive Service price changes are dependent on the ability to cover the costs of the product plus a 5.5% overhead.

            Here is a link that explains it.

            Postal Regulatory Commission: Information for Postal Consumers

    •  Umm..No. (33+ / 0-)

      This is why we can't have nice things.

      From 2011

      The Postal Service said that its Federal Employees Retirement System is overfunded by $6.9 billion. The prepayments, though required by Congress, are unnecessary, according to the Postal Service.

      The Postal Service said it is suspending its biweekly payments of $115 million into the benefit portion of the Federal Employees Retirement System. The Postal Service said that suspending these payments will save about $800 million in the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

      The next due date for biweekly payments is this Friday, June 24. Partenheimer said the suspension of required payments was a short-term solution "so that we have enough cash at the end of the year to pay our employees and suppliers, and keep the mail moving."

      Ever since a 2006 act of Congress, the Postal Service has been required to prepay $5.5 billion per year into the fund. But the service's financial situation has become increasingly desperate in recent years, so the organization has been looking for ways to cut costs.

      "It's a burden that's really impossible for the Postal Service to maintain," said Ruth Goldway, chairwoman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, in an interview prior to the suspension of payments.

      Cutting Saturday service is the least we can do? Do you have any idea how ignorant that makes you sound of the situation? Let's forget about all those small business owners who do the majority of their mailing on Saturday. Let's just stop their ability to do business and curtail Etsy, Ebay, Amazon, and freelance crafters who can't go to the post office on a weekday.

      How hard is it to understand that they would be turning a profit if they did not have to contribute into their retirement system for people who have not even been born yet?

      President Obama would have been a republican in the 1980's & 1990's. Go figure.

      by Tool on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 07:36:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you! (9+ / 0-)

        So many people are completely blind to what the real problem is. It's nice to see someone who gets it. :-)

        •  What makes you think that Tool is correct that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          johnny wurster

          the USPS is profitable if you remove the pre-funding of retirement requirement?  How is your position going to change when you find out you are in error?

          For my part, if I'm in error I won't emphatically say that cutting Saturday is a no brainer.  But if you look at reality based coverage of this (and not misleading politically driven coverage) then you would understand that the USPS ran a huge deficit last year on top of the "losses" they incurred from pre-funding their retirement costs.

          We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

          by theotherside on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 08:21:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  this (11+ / 0-)

            From Bernie

            Washington, DC (Feb. 13, 2010)—In light of first quarter financial reports that the U.S. Postal Service would have generated $200 million in profits had it not been required to pre-fund its future retiree health benefits, Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, called for the passage of legislation to reform this burdensome requirement, which no other federal agency or private sector company faces.

            “At a time when the Postal Service faces enormous financial challenges, we have got to end the absurd requirement that it pay over $5.5 billion every year to pre-fund future retiree health benefits,” Sanders said. “No other entity in the United States of America is burdened with this mandate, and with $44 billion in this future retiree account earning 3.5 to 4 percent interest every year, it can be fully funded in the next 21 years without the need for additional funds.  By correcting this inequity, and through other commonsense reforms, the Postal Service will have the money it needs over the short term without resorting to the draconian cuts in service it has proposed. Over the long term, the Postal Service will need to develop a new and aggressive entrepreneurial business model to bring in the revenue it needs in the 21st Century.”

            “The latest numbers show that the Postal Service would be in the black but for this extraordinary prefunding requirement,” said Cummings. “Congress should pass comprehensive legislation to eliminate this unfair burden, immediately improve the Postal Service’s cash position, and enable it to develop innovative products that meet changing market needs.”

            Financial data released by the Postal Service reveal that it would have made profits of $200 million in the first quarter of this fiscal year had it not been required to account for approximately $3 billion of its pending fiscal years 2011 and 2012 retiree health benefits prefunding payment and non-cash adjustments to its Workers’ Compensation Liabilities.

            President Obama would have been a republican in the 1980's & 1990's. Go figure.

            by Tool on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 08:31:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I posted a little lower down (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior, Tool, patbahn, JohnnySacks, glorificus

            in this thread explaining that I think the USPS should be given a fair opportunity to show profitability by removing the problem that the 2006 legislation caused.

            That is all I will say about this since I basically agree with Tool's responses in this section of the thread.

      •  Did you read his comment? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cryonaut, johnny wurster

        Here's a source from CNN Money:

        http://money.cnn.com/...

        In FY 2012, the USPS lost $11.1 billion on account of the retirement obligations.  It lost $15.9 billion total.  It would still be an unprofitable venture even if it was not for the retirement law and it is in a declining industry.  The article picks Q4 2012 and glibly ignores that even in a quarter in which the USPS had more business because of the election and Christmas it barely turned a profit.

        •  Thanks for that link (0+ / 0-)

          Here's another link which draws the same general conclusion that the USPS is running billion dollar deficits.

          http://blogs.reuters.com/...

          In this Reuter's article they come up with roughly the same loss ($16 billion) but attribute only $6 billion to pre-funding while your CNN article states that about $11 billion of the loss was attributable to pre-funding.  That is a huge difference.  I don't know which is correct but it would be nice to find out.

          Regardless, cutting Saturday service is estimated to only save $2 billion a year and so under either scenario the USPS would still be losing billions per year.

          We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

          by theotherside on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 08:29:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Tool, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johnny wurster, VClib

        You are trying to personalize this argument by calling me ignorant which isn't particularly cool.  So let's try to stick with debating facts.

        You said:  "How hard is it to understand that they would be turning a profit if they did not have to contribute into their retirement system for people who have not even been born yet?"  

        I said that the USPS is running a $10 billion deficit even if you do NOT count the pre-funding requirement.  

        These statements are mutually exclusive.  I have a pretty reliable news source that indicates that I'm correct and I'll post it soon (it's easily found if you want to look for it on the internet).  You can go ahead and post your proof as a response to this comment.

        But more importantly, hypothetically speaking, what is going to be your response IF you find out I'm right?  Are you going to re-examine your position on making reasonable cuts to service?

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 08:17:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Theotherside, (6+ / 0-)

          If you took offense to my comment - I'm am sorry.

          Now - If I find out you are right and the USPS is running a $10 billion deficit even if you do NOT count the pre-funding requirement I will not re-examine my position on making reasonable cuts to service.

          Why?

          We continue to subsidize private industries in agriculture, energy and travel to the tune of billions per year. Many of those subsidies are unnecessary, wasteful and are only given at the behest of powerful monied interests.

          The postal service however serve all of the country - from the rich to the poor and helps people facilitate the American dream by being able to effectively deliver their goods for a low cost. We have Etsy, Ebay, Amazon, and thousands of internet startup's that rely on being able to send their goods cheaply across the country. It is more profitable in the long term for the country to subsidize the postal service (if it fails to turn a profit) then to arbitrarily say AUSTERITY NOW! We must cut hours now because someday somehow we may experience that dreaded deficit monster.

          Sending something by FED-EX or other private carriers costs far more and would drive a ton of people out of business. In fact most conservatives have been using this manufactured crisis to not only argue that saturdays should be cut - but that the entire postal service should be restructured and placed in the hands of private corporations. How did that work out for our education system? Or our telecommunication systems? Or our security systems?

          I would argue that expanding hours on the weekday & weekends would be an investment in small business and allow them to do more business.

          Before we start cutting days of service lets do the following:

          1. Repeal the 2006 law.

          2. Have an audit.

          3. Expand hours and hire more workers.

          If all those things are done then maybe - just maybe I will agree with you to cut hours if they prove ineffective. But as of now the most obvious and simplest solutions have no been tried. Austerity is seldom the answer - and when it is - it is only when the country is economically strong.

          President Obama would have been a republican in the 1980's & 1990's. Go figure.

          by Tool on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 08:55:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "if you are right" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sneakers563

            He's right.  Just look at their financial statements.  You can see the losses for yourself.

          •  I understand what you are saying (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib, patbahn

            and BTW most people will actually take offense if you say in a comment "Do you have any idea how ignorant that makes you sound of the situation?"  But I appreciate the apology.

            As for your suggestions:

            1)  Repeal the 2006 law.  I may support that but I don't know the rationale behind implementing the law in the first place.  If the USPS was planning on relying on the government to pay for the retirement benefits in the future, then I can understand the desire to require pre-funding.  Now, that may or may not be part of the rationale.  I just don't know.  But would you repeal the law if it specifically stated that under no circumstances would the federal government pay for the retirement benefits of the USPS employees?

            2)  Have an audit.  The results for FY11 were released in April 2012 and so I'm guessing that you will have a comprehensive audited financial report detailing the losses due to operations and those due to the pre-funding requirement in about a month.  But you have been provided  links from either Reuters or CNN that list the USPS deficit at about $16 billion and they both clearly state that only a portion of the deficit is due to pre-funding retirements (although the exact amount is not clear).

            3) Expand hours and hire more workers.  This I simply don't understand.  It would only increase the losses.  Are there actually lines at the Post Office right before closing?  Are those people actually turned away?  There would seem not to be any evidence to support this conclusion but I'm open to new sources of data.

            Anyway, it's tiring arguing over the USPS in purely ideological terms.  For those that understand how much demand has been destroyed by modern technology, that understand that this is leading to substantial operating deficits that are likely to only get worse as volumes decline further, and that want to address the long term solvency of the USPS then it is imperative to take a good hard look at the data and determine how to make it a sustainable operation.

            Cutting Saturday is the least worst place to start and that is why the USPS proposed it.  But that is not nearly sufficient to make it balance it's books in either the short, medium or long run.

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 09:55:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  pre-funding (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tool, Dark UltraValia

              75 years of future pensions in five years is the key. I know of no enterprise, public or private, with this kind of budgetary mandate.

              Do you? Examples?

              This was a feature, not a bug, of the Bush Regime to destroy the public postal service and turn over the mail to the tender mercies of the marketplace; FedEx, DHL etc.

              You cool with that?

              Wurster is, obviously.

              The "extreme wing" of the Democratic Party is the wing that is hell-bent on protecting the banks and credit card companies. ~ Kos

              by ozsea1 on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 12:16:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  You're both right in some respects (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, nextstep

        The FERS fund is overfunded, and USPS has had gigantic operating losses (ie, putting aside the prefunding expense) in the past few years.

        How hard is it to understand that they would be turning a profit if they did not have to contribute into their retirement system for people who have not even been born yet?
        This is false in two ways.  If you look at the financials, they'd still have huge losses even if they didn't have to contribute into their health & retirement systems.  Also, the health & retirement payments do not cover people that haven't been born yet.  It's for current employees and retirees.
        •  That is not true! (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, myboo, Tool, Cassandra Waites

          2006 Congressional mandate put on the US Postal Service contained in the “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006” to pre-fund healthcare benefits of future retirees, a 75 year liability over a 10 year period. No other agency or corporation is required to do this. This provision costs the Postal Service $5.5 billion a year.

          •  Like I said, it covers current and future (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            theotherside, VClib, dunsel, nextstep, BYw

            retirees.  The origin of the urban legend re: "employees that haven't been born yet" is from the fact that, if someone starts at USPS at, say, 21, they could still be drawing retirement benefits in 75 years.  That was then twisted via internet telephone into the program covering people that haven't been born yet.

            Here's the GAO:

            “Contrary to some claims, there is no [retiree health benefits] liability held, nor contributions made for any future employees who have yet to be hired or yet to be born.” Instead, about half of the $94 billion liability is for retired postal annuitants and their survivors, while the other half is for current career postal employees.
            http://oversight.house.gov/...
      •  I think the proposal includes keeping the (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dark UltraValia, elwior, BYw, Tool

        actual Post Offices open on Saturday, but no home delivery. Mail would be accepted and processed on Saturday, but like business offices, there would be no delivery to homes.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 10:34:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I will probably be sorry I posted anything but (7+ / 0-)

      How about the impossible?

      Congress fixes the problem it created in 2006 and then the USPS goes forward from that point.

      Let's see if that will result in better profitability.

      The billions lost still are a result of the 2006 retirement prefunding debacle so until that is fixed we can't actually know the true financial state of the USPS.

      I call it impossible because with the Republicans determined to gum up the works and the average person being misinformed about what really happened, I don't see this being fixed.

    •  I didn't feel mislead. I thought the article said (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tool, aunt blabby, cybersaur, elwior, myboo, BYw

      that except for the insane pension funding regulations the PO was one of the few companies that turn a good profit, employ a lot of folks and pay them well. (I added the pay them well part.)

      They have a great business model. As the article says they do well keeping up with the times, just look at how they manage Netflix.

      I return a movie Tuesday. I get an email from Netflix Wednesday am telling me they recieved it. That afternoon I get another email saying they are sending me a new DVD out and on Thursday it's in my mailbox. How can you get anymore modern than that?

      (And I don't want to hear about streaming.)

      Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

      by ZenTrainer on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 07:48:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But that's the point (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tool, theotherside, johnny wurster, elwior

        If you just read the article, you would think that the USPS is a profitable entity.  It's not: http://money.cnn.com/...

        The USPS lost $6 billion in FY 2012, NOT counting the retirement prepayment.  On top of that, it only turned $100 million profit in Q4 2012-- a quarter that had Christmas and a presidential election cycle.  If it turns a tiny profit in that quarter, how is it going to be profitable during a "regular" quarter??

        •  I understand what you are saying. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tool, cybersaur, elwior, ZenTrainer

          I still think that in order to truly know if the USPS can achieve profitability again or at least break even, the burden of prefunding retirements for people who haven't even been born yet needs to go.

        •  We could always (9+ / 0-)

          just stop giving Oil companies 10s of billions of dollars a year in useless subsidies and fund any deficit the postal service incurs. That would be to pragmatic and practical though.

          I continue not to be impressed with Republicans insistence that private companies can and should do the job better than the government. The post office pays people a living wage, has decent healthcare benefits, and has a high retention rate. In other words - people like working for it. These are exactly the type of jobs that we should be trying to create more of. Teachers, fire fighters, postal workers, construction, and other working class jobs that will make the American dream possible. Currently it is not possible for anyone in my generation as we have less wealth then our previous ones.

          It is hard to look at the 2006 pre-funding law as anything other then an attempt to force people into private solutions such as FEDEX or UPS which deliver sub-par business solutions.

          Two senators, Susan Collins of Maine, a Republican, and Democrat Tom Carper of Delaware, co-authored the legislation requiring that the Postal Service prepay the $5.5 billion per year. But this year, both senators have issued separate bills that would adjust the requirement. The future of these bills is uncertain.
          So now that they have created a crisis within the system both senators have issued bills (in 2011) to fix the problem. Whatever happened to those bill?

          President Obama would have been a republican in the 1980's & 1990's. Go figure.

          by Tool on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 08:10:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'll start worrying about whether or not (10+ / 0-)

      the USPS is profitable the day that we start worrying about whether the U.S. Department of Defense is profitable.

      “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” – Abraham Lincoln

      by Sagebrush Bob on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 08:58:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Does everything have to "make a profit"? (5+ / 0-)

      Do public schools and libraries and parks have to "make a profit"?

      I disagree with the notion that the USPS must make a profit.

      We could decline to order a few airplanes the Pentagon doesn't want and even out the USPS budget.

      The USPS is one of those things that wasn't broken until the Republicans started smashing at with a sledge hammer in the Reagan administration. If Republicans don't like a government pension system, they impose a method of accounting that has it going insolvent in 3 years. If they don't like public schools, they impose impossible burdens on those as well. The diarist has a point that has not been fully developed and it is this: Republicans want to privatize ALL of government. What we get won't be better. And it will be unaccountable to the citizenry.

      If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

      by Bensdad on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 12:37:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lack of knowledge (6+ / 0-)

    "The people are destroyed through a lack of knowledge" (loose quote from the bible).

    I pay attention to this because I work in an endangered processing facility.

    It isn't in the right wing's interest to save the USPS. They would rather auction it off bit by bit to private companies.
    I don't even believe that the current PMG truly wants to save the USPS but that is just my opinion.

    Unless a major grass roots effort is made to educate the country about what they are about to lose and what the real cause is, I fear that the Repulicans, Blue Dogs and corporations will win.

    Then once again this line from 'Big, Yellow Taxi' by Joni Mitchell will be shown to be true.

    Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone.
  •  It's not just the Republicans. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior

    The effort to destroy the Post Office is bipartisan, as is evidenced by Recommendation 4.10 (appearing on page 47) of this report:

    The Postal Service has run multi-billion dollar losses since 2007, and in 2010 maintained an operating deficit of $8.5 billion, even after receiving a $4 billion bailout from Congress the previous year. With the dramatic expansion of electronic mail, the volume of traditional air-mailed items will continue to fall, only worsening these enormous budget shortfalls and requiring even more federal funding in the future. To put the Postal Service on a path toward long-term solvency, the Commission recommends reversing restrictions that prevent the Postal Service from taking steps to survive – such as shifting to five-day delivery and gradually closing down post offices no longer able to sustain a positive cash-flow.

    “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” – Abraham Lincoln

    by Sagebrush Bob on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 08:56:30 AM PDT

  •  The pre-funding of the retirement is a problem (5+ / 0-)

    No other company that I know of is saddled with this requirement.  While it is a problem, it certainly isn't the only challenge that the organization faces, else it wouldn't be facing such difficulties.

    The Internet has changed the face of the game.  This works both for and against the Post Office.  It works against them in that a lot more billing and bill payment is done through online transactions rather than mail.  Undoubtedly this has significantly reduced the volume of their bread and butter service.  Online shopping has been a boon to them and a lot of purchases are delivered via mail.

    As an entity, the Post Office needs to find ways to eliminate waste and improve efficiency, just as any other organization does.  They need to price their services competitively and the pricing structure needs to be such that it can cover the costs of their operations.  

    Standard postage is still in the realm of 50 Cents, which is a hell of a deal when it comes to getting something delivered anywhere in the country in a decent time frame with a near perfect reliability record.

    One of the few things that is actually stipulated in the Constitution that the Federal Govt must do is operate a postal service.  I think that this was a very wise decision and that under no circumstance should we allow this operation to be privatized.

  •  We had a mediocre Postal System a generation ago (5+ / 0-)

    Now, with competition from UPS, FedEx, and some others, I think we have two or more good postal systems.  

    What's a first class stamp cost?  A shade under fifty cents?
    To be able to send a letter, or a check, across the country in two or three days, with no worries about it being stolen and (almost) no worries about privacy is a bargain.  I get ink cartridges on eBay that somebody ships for a little over a dollar.  

    And we haven't even heard of anyone "going postal" for a nice long time (knock on wood).

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 09:43:13 AM PDT

  •  The USPS (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Dark UltraValia, patbahn, myboo, BYw

    Thanks for this.  We should have seen some kind of reversal of the vulture law that tried to destroy the USPS in the House in the lame duck secrecy in which they operate except we even have apologists for the cuts and the bill here on DK?!  What is happening?  Don't the righties have enough blogs to spin their privatization dreams?  Do they have so much money they can afford trolls everywhere?
    The USPS does what the UPS and FedEx refuse to do at a lower cost hence the attack by the right.  Yes the right.
    Not Obama or liberal Democrats or Progressives.  Even if the USPS lost some money, would you rather get mail delivered and bills paid in areas not covered by other types of mail or put the money into more bombs to destroy Iran?
    I'm not a bleeding heart for the 2% who control 2/3rd of the money in the US.  Of course they don't need public mail or anything that begins with "public".  Step up Congress and do your job or forget about pretending you care about the country.

  •  If the current USPS goes down, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dark UltraValia, elwior, efrenzy

    "they" will quickly have to find it's replacement.

    Side Note, some may hate the USPS because it delivers bills.  Bills are not welcome like birthday cards or love letters and e greetings are the recent pattern.

    United Citizens beat Citizens United

    by ThirtyFiveUp on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 09:54:21 AM PDT

  •  Rethugs are bent on destroying the USPS so (7+ / 0-)

    they can "privatize" (which is code for steal) the service in order to bilk the general public and make those obvious profits for the chosen few.

    Wake up, folks!  It's an inside job to destroy an institution we all count on every day!  Reverse the Rethug legislation that orders the USPS to fund 75 years of pensions IN ADVANCE.  It's obviously designed to destroy it!

    Best. President. Ever.

    by Little Lulu on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 10:01:28 AM PDT

  •  As to the lack of public outcry (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Dark UltraValia, LillithMc, myboo

    I suspect the main problem here is that most people don't realize just how excessively the Post Office has to prefund retirement savings, and that they are the only agency required to do so. If people realized that USPS was thus strangled out of pure caprice, and otherwise would turn a profit, then we might see the uproar this situation deserves.

  •  the goal is to raid the USPS Real Estate inventory (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dark UltraValia, elwior, myboo

    The USPS is sitting on probably a couple hundred billion in high dollar real estate, all those post offices are in urban downtowns.

    Well connected power players want to force a fire sale preferably timed to a downturn in the market, where they can snap up all those facilities, either do a leaseback to USPS or
    turn them into office cubes.

    THat's what is the driver, no more no less.

    •  For Example, Richard Blum, husband of Senator (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      patbahn

      Dianne Feinstein, real estate gazillionaire (and a University of California Regent who also profits from his dealings with U.C.), is one of the real estate vultures who is set to profit from commissions for selling the priceless, historical Bay Area post offices to private sector vultures.

      Sorry for the slur on vultures! You know what I mean!

  •  If there's no profit for the "job creators," (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dark UltraValia

    the GOP hates it.
       Never mind that they're acting to destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs this year.

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 10:22:05 AM PDT

  •  The USPS could save a fortune if (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dark UltraValia, elwior

    if they would convert their mail truck fleet to cheap electric vans.  

    Lead-acid batteries, cheap industrial motors.  Simple 220 V Chargers.

    The USPS fleet averages 13 miles per day, you could do that on lead acid, now.

    The USPS fleet returns at lunch to refill, which is an ideal time to recharge, it's all low speed, it's all short range and
    as a federal entity, there is no state registration or licensing.

    What would be ideal is the USPS could sell "GREENMAIL"
    stamps.

    They could easily get people to pay a few extra cents per letter to help the USPS convert to zero-carbon ( Solar PV, Solar Thermal, Electric vans, Bio-diesel trucks).  

    •  The funny thing is (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LillithMc, elwior, myboo

      that from what I remember the USPS was planning to do just that before the 2006 law went into effect.

      I don't know what happened to that idea but I do know that only part of our fleet includes electric vehicles.

      •  Greenmail for the post office (0+ / 0-)

        would you be willing to pay a nickel extra for Green 1st class postage?  Knowing the money is used to buy Solar Arrays for post offices and convert the wheeled fleet to electric?

        I would.

        and I'd bet lands end and LL Bean would pay a bit more for green bulk rate and package rate.

  •  For the exhorbitant and princely sum of 46¢, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dark UltraValia, elwior, old wobbly, myboo

    I can send up to an ounce of stuff from my home in West Bumfuck, California, to my grandmother in East Podunk (somewhere in New England) and have a reasonable expectation that said stuff will arrive in about 3 working days.

    What other useful thing can you do with 46¢? It's really quite a deal!

    Aside from the massive onslaught of junk mail that they don't send but must deliver, I really don't get why people make fun of the post office.

  •  Dropped letters last night at the PO. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dark UltraValia, elwior

    Haven't been there for a few weeks.
    There used to be 3 drive by boxes outside now there is one.
    I'm not sure what to make of that. Will ask my carriers.

    Also, my carriers confirm that they get truck loads of fedex stuff delivered to them by fedEx every day at the sorting station for USPS delivery.
    Isn't it interesting that one of the proposals floated would stop USPS Saturday mail delivery but not Saturday package delivery. Sounds like a very special delivery to FedEx UPS etc. They'll make out like bandits.

  •  Is there a petition??? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dark UltraValia
    •  Haven't checked the White House website (0+ / 0-)

      It would need a lot of signatures in a short time to get heard.

      What is really needed is public awareness. If enough people know what's going on and pressure their representatives then we might get the action that is needed.

  •  Some comments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nils o

    1. The Postal Service is indeed in financial trouble.  It's not because of big gumint or anything else in the fevered fantasy world of Republicans.  It's because there has been a massive decline in first class mail volumes, and first class mail is the cash cow.

    2. The USPS is unresponsive as a business because the same Rethugs who want to kill it won't allow it to do common sense things to make it more financially sustainable.

    3. The USPS is not a government agency.  It is an independent entity that happens to be publicly owned, and has a regulatory burden that most private businesses would find objectionable.  (But it's big gumint so it's OK, as far as the Rs are concerned.)  These are the same idiots who imposed the pension obligations on the USPS.

    4. Saturday delivery is an important competitive differentiator.  If I were in charge of a privatized Post Office, I would absolutely keep it, and consider adding Sunday delivery along with cheap tracked first class mail.  I would also reconsider the bargain basement rates charged to bulk mailers, as bulk mail has historically had a small contribution margin.

    5. There is a lot of crap (postal inspection service, aka the world's largest producer of child porn, all in the name of entrapment) and a lot of viable but unfocused businesses.  (Sell the money order business for a crapload of money and use that to upgrade USPS logistics systems.)

    6. Somebody has to decide between 46 cent first class mail to out of the way places or no federal subsidies.

    7. The USPS has done a few innovative systems.  Their self-serve stuff really seems to work, and is a good alternative to staffed offices in places where it can't be justified.  They make good use of their infrastructure to provide drop mailing services.  They need to invest in this stuff to stay ahead of Fedex, UPS, et.al.  (Why do I have to pay a third party to generate postage online?)

    8. First class mail is a low profit, high volume business that covers the overhead of a distribution system that is generally superior to Fedex and UPS and that can be used to carry higher value added services.  Tracking, logistics support (drop shipment, logistics services -- Fedex and UPS will let you rent their warehouse capacity; you click through their B2E website and your widget or whatever is on its way).

    9. Who is going to maintain a lot of the useful data that can be found in the USPS central address base?  (Who is going to update things like navigator databases, and who is going to maintain zip codes?)  You need a single central organization to do that (another "free" service, critical for people outside the post office but not paid for by anyone).

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