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Plans to effectively kill off the postal service are bipartisan, as a new bill from Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn and Delaware Democratic Sen. Tom "will somebody primary this guy already" Carper demonstrates. While the bill has some good pieces, like allowing the postal service to actually compete with its private sector competitors by shipping alcohol, and removing a pre-funding requirement for retiree health care that no other company or government agency faces, other aspects of the bill would be disastrous:
The Senate measure also opens the door to ending full Saturday delivery in a year and would try to move the USPS away from door-to-door delivery in many cases. New businesses and homes would be forced into curbside or cluster box delivery, while existing addresses could shift upon request.
If that doesn't sound so awful at first blush, National Association of Letter Carriers member Bill Brickley explains some of the problems. Cutting Saturday service, for instance:
Cutting 16% of the USPS services to save at most 3% of the budget doesn’t seem to be a rational strategy. Saving any money itself is in question as studies have shown that losing Saturday delivery would reduce mail volume by 7.7% that itself would result in a revenue loss of $5.3 Billion far exceeding the money projected to be saved by cutting a day of delivery.

Other aspects of this bill that would harm the American public is that this bill requires the Postal Service to change your mode of delivery to the deivery mode “that is most cost – effective and in the best long-term interest of the Postal Service” This may save the Postal Service some delivery time but to force elderly people into a situation where it will be difficult for them to retrieve their mail in the harsh winter or sweltering summer is not a matter that a civilized society should put a price on.

This Senate bill also removes safeguards for rural customers that have been in place to guarantee them reasonable access to a post office. There will be no limit on how far you must travel to get to your “local” post office.

If Congress continues to restrict the postal service from fully competing with UPS and FedEx (that it's banned from shipping alcohol is just one of the ways the post office is at a disadvantage in its fight for survival) while cutting ways that it outdoes the competition, like its unparalleled reach, of course the postal service will struggle. But that's why Congress created this crisis to begin with, so that it could propose a series of answers involving pain for workers and consumers.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Going from 6 days a week to 5 days is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jhecht, shaso

    "disastrous"? Over the past 40 years, we've seen so many new ways for people to receive communications - the private delivery services, fax, email, etc. And yet we must hew to the exact same delivery schedule we desired in 1950? To me, this is a commonsense change that is well past due. The vast majority of Americans do not need 6-day snail mail, and the small number of people who do can make alternative arrangements. Putting the USPS on a steady course is pretty important, and compromise is going to be part of that.

    •  That Wouldn't But Ending Door to Door Would Be nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      salmo, nchristine

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 09:42:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why? (0+ / 0-)

        Why can't people who live far away from other people take a short walk or drive to pick up their mail? There could easily be special programs for the handicapped. Wouldn't that be better than the USPS being forced to trudge out to the middle of Alaska or North Dakota to deliver mail to people who live in extraordinarily remote locations?

        •  'short drive or walk' (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          salmo

          may be several miles.

          You've never lived outside a city, have you?

          (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

          by PJEvans on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 09:47:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sure I have. (0+ / 0-)

            This sounds like an entitlement mentality to me. Why must our federal government have employees who visit every last door in America, even those whose residents live extremely remotely? Why can't one of the negatives of living in the middle of nowhere that you have to make some effort to get your own mail? Think of it this way - we all want the USPS to survive. So why in the world should a USPS employee drive 20 (or 200) miles today to deliver an advertisement to a person who lives in the middle of the desert? Is that really a responsible use of limited resources?

            •  You almost got it right (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              salmo, blue denim

              Theres an entitlement mentality alright. Best shown by the corporate welfare provided by the USPS in delivering the untold tons of junk mail for fractions of a penny while citizens, actual human beings, see postal rates continue to rise. I think your placing your entitlement mentality in the wrong place.

            •  Entitlement? Sheesh. (5+ / 0-)

              The US Postal Service has delivered door-to-door since Benjamin Franklin created it in 1775. Franklin's great idea was that creating a government agency to deliver mail for everyone at reasonable prices, costing little or no tax money, was the key to creating a national sense of unity and purpose. He believed that a safe, effective, reliable, secure, daily way to exchange documents would help create a nation. And of course, Franklin was right, because a little more than a year after he became America's first postmaster general, America declared its independence as a nation. Coincidence? He didn't think so. Franklin wrote that the Postal Service was instrumental in creating the United States.

              So, doc2, if you think you're as smart or as patriotic as Benjamin Franklin, please prove it by coming up with an argument better than:

              "This sounds like an entitlement mentality to me."
              Sheesh. The USPS is a time-tested, effective government program that helps make our nation great. It survived the Revolutionary War, The Civil War, both World Wars, several Great Depressions, and the invention of the telegraph, telephone, radio, TV, fax machines, and the internet. It doesn't cost us anything, either, because its operating budget is the money it takes in from selling stamps and postage.

              Labeling this great American institution as just an "entitlement" is the lazy, Fox-news method of arguing. And anyway, if delivering mail to each door every day is an entitlement, why isn't delivering mail to a cluster box just as much of an entitlement? After all, if you really want your letter or bill payment delivered, why not drive it all the way across the country yourself? Why have a Postal Service at all? Because it's part of what makes America great, that's why.

              "Though she feels as if she's in a play, she is anyway." - Paul McCartney

              by itsnotbutter on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 01:59:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Remote places don't have daily delivery (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erose001

          USPS does not deliver daily to remote alaskan villages and there's even an area near me that only gets every other day deliveries.

          I would point out that in many cases having all those individuals driving extra long distances to pick items up is energy inefficient, creating more trips and more carbon footprint. Depends on the route of course.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 04:13:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Try 40 miles each way... n/t (0+ / 0-)

          "THERE IS NO JUSTICE. THERE IS JUST US." spoken by Death in Terry Pratchett's Discworld books.

          by Sailorben on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 10:02:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  in some towns (0+ / 0-)

      all the mail goes to PO boxes, and you have to go to the PO to collect it. In a rural area, your mailbox is at the main road, and you have to drive or walk to get to it.

      (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

      by PJEvans on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 09:46:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why is that unacceptable? (0+ / 0-)
      •  Or to the next town.. or the next larger one, or.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Staceyjo

        an even larger one.  Many people already can't get or send mail except at PO boxes, and they're closing the small ones, which may be only a few miles, so the people have to go further and further, especially if they need to send packages that need weighing/postage etc. Which also takes a lot of gas as well as time in prime working hours.  

        "THERE IS NO JUSTICE. THERE IS JUST US." spoken by Death in Terry Pratchett's Discworld books.

        by Sailorben on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 10:06:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It doesn't actually save much if any money (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Munchkn

      for the post office. Instead of delivering the mail, they have to store it.  Storing two days worth of mail turns out to be a new logistical headache that will require upgrades to facilities.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 04:09:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Saturday Delivery (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jilikins

      I don't understand the whoop-dee-do over the potential loss of Sat. delivery.  Neither UPS nor FedEx does standard delivery on Sat. (All three will deliver on Sat. if paid extra for the service.)  Frankly, I would like it b/c the only thing I receive on Saturdays are fliers that go straight into the recycle bin, i.e., a waste and a burden on the environment.  Even those who like the fliers can receive them on Friday instead and still enjoy the sales being advertised.  If this proves to be a genuine cost-saver for USPS to help it survive, then I support that.  Of course, if its just more Congressional propaganda b/c USPS isn't making more revenue for them to steal (so much for USPS being an independent agency), then Congress needs to STFU.  Congress also needs to get its paws off USPS and LET IT BE INDEPENDENT.  Oh, and BTW, for those who want to relegate rural areas to no delivery, you need to read up on the history of the Postal Service.  We rural folk already make sacrifices, including already having cluster boxes with long treks to the clusters, or even miles-long treks into town to pickup our mail at the box that we are required to have.  And the super-remote folk only receive delivery once every few days or even just once a month or so, depending on how remote they are.  So read up before pontificating on the need to marginalize your fellow citizens.

  •  Congress works for private industry and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PJEvans, salmo, blue denim

    private industry wants the business currently done by the USPS. And if the average citizen gets screwed in the bargain, that's just too bad for us.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 09:01:38 AM PDT

  •  Cluster boxes (0+ / 0-)
    New businesses and homes would be forced into curbside or cluster box delivery
    Considering that every new housing development around here has gotten cluster boxes for at least the last decade, this concern feels a little abstract. If I could get curbside delivery of my mail I'd be ecstatic.
  •  If They Remove the Pension Requiremnt They Can (5+ / 0-)

    afford to go on operating as they were chartered to do. There's no financial reason to end Saturday or door delivery.

    Other than the finances of Fed Ex.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 09:40:13 AM PDT

  •  So much for USPS being an "independent" agency. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    salmo, blue denim

    Congress wants it both ways - USPS to be independent  (rather than under an umbrella of US govt.), yet they still want to control USPS as if it were the BLM or something.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 10:10:22 AM PDT

  •  Congress also needs to stop stealing revenueUs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fairlithe, Munchkn

    I just learned recently that Congress steals something in the neighborhood of 20 percent of USPS revenue.  All this difficulty USPS is having is direct result of having a large chunk of its revenue stolen by Congress.  Does Congress have NO shame?  (Of course it doesn't, it has the same greed mentality as Wall Street.  It wants what we give it legitimately and then to steal everything else that belongs to us or to the Commons, too.)  I find the whole thing disgusting, Congress sets the USPS to be a independent entity and then sets it up to fail.  Congress seems to enjoy doing this wherever it can, and it makes me feel ashamed that these people supposedly represent me and my tax dollars help pay their salaries.  I want to fire 90 percent of these disgusting greedy imbeciles.  Issa would be among the first to go, along with Coburn and, well, the list is just too long.

  •  Who is paying Issa to take down the Post Office? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itsnotbutter, rivamer

    Issa does nothing that doesn't benefit him personally.

    Darrel Issa is one of the most statutorily-ignorant and corrupt people to have served in Congress in a century or so, at least.

    In his 20s, he was an accomplished car thief. He stole a Dodge Charger from a friend, who threatened to kill Issa just before the car was found by its owner, and three months later, Issa stole a Maserati from a stranger.

    As the stolen Maserati case was working its way through the courts, Issa was busted for driving the wrong way down a one-way street, where cops found an illegal gun with ammo clip and an illegal tear gas gun in his car.

    Issa is an accomplished liar, too. He claimed that he received high scores on Army entrance exams and given a job in explosives, where he said he earned high commendations, and he claimed he was in the detail that cleared the stadium for explosives for Nixon's visit to the 1971 World Series.

    Nixon didn't attend the World Series, and Issa was actually demoted with unsatisfactory reviews. His later, second military career was better, as he rose to the rank of captain and did receive good reviews.

    But while Captain Issa was getting those good reviews, he also was indicted for fraud, in a case where it appears that he and his brother tried to run an insurance scam by faking the theft of a Mercedes that his brother actually sold for $16,000.

    After telling investigators a series of conflicting stories, Issa bought his own car back from the car dealer for $17,000 and the charges were dropped.

    Five months later, Issa rammed his truck into a woman in her car and left the scene, telling her he was too busy to hang around. She hunted him down and sued him for $20,000.

    Darrell Issa acquired a car alarm company by loaning a man $60,000 -- money he has no receipts for receiving -- and when the man was late making a payment on the loan, Issa sued for the company.

    A few months after taking possession of his new company, Issa bought a fireproof safe, put all the company's valuable designs and papers in it, raised his fire insurance from $100,000 to $450,000 and collected when his factory burned down -- THREE WEEKS AFTER TAKING OUT THE INSURANCE POLICY.

    Even though Issa claims the fire was accidental, fire investigators say it was arson. Issa says he can't remember any of that. He did build a brand spanking new factory with the $450,000, though.

    Issa's legislative career has been equally as shady.

    It was Issa who made the claim that the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit emails had produced fraudulent data -- a claim that gave ammo to Fox, Limbaugh and others who roused Tea Party types to grunt and grumble about "Climategate."

    Three separate investigations cleared East Anglia of any wrongdoing of any kind.

    In February, 2010, Issa accused Obama of ordering the Government Accounting Office to destroy incriminating evidence against Obama.

    That fell through.

    In August, 2010, Issa called on the Government Accounting Office to investigate Obama for alleged illegal use of federal funds to promote his own policies.

    After a year of howling for investigations of "at least three" improprieties," Issa learned that previous presidents had done exactly the same thing. That, too, fell through.

    And last, but not least, Issa is sympathetic to Hezbollah, the terrorist organization that rains rockets down on women and children in Israel.

    •  Republicans typically feel they profit from (0+ / 0-)

      just about all activities that promote the Republican agenda, even if a direct line cannot be drawn between an initiative and their personal bottom line. You don't think that applies to Issa in cases like this?

      "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's CREATION." _ Jonathan Larson, RENT -9.62, -9.13

      by BeninSC on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 12:05:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  U.S. Post Office (and More) Threatened by Corps (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    createpeace, RayW

    Autocratic Corporatism versus
    Democratic and Socialistic Republicanism

    Corporatism destroys Democratic and Socialistic Republics by replacing them with tyrannical CEO Autocracies.

    Dictators make great CEO’s, and CEO’s make great Dictators.  

    The proliferation of the Cult of the Businessman/Businesswoman as National Leaders is creating a whole generation of Profiteering Napoleans and Machiavellians for the Sheeple of the World to worship and bleat after.  

    While the Sheeple bleat out, “Oh please manipulate and exploit us more, Masters.  Please, dismantle one-by-one the Laws and Social Ethics and Fabrics protecting our Individual Rights, while you pursue Your (the CEO Dictator’s) Happiness, Your Supreme Liberties, Your exalted Life !”  We the Sheeple/People of the World will bleat and bow at your feet !  All hail Corporate Autocracies !  

    Down with the Right to Vote !  Down with Collective Bargaining !  Down with Women’s Rights !  Down with the Sanctity of Inherent Individual Rights and Freedoms !

    Up with Derivatives and endless Financial Speculations which make it possible for the Mega-Corporations, Mega- Banks and Elitist Few to Rob the World Blind !  Baa !

    We the Sheeple implore you Almighty Autocratic Corporatists to create Laws of the Land which will be our undoing in the name of Fiscal Austerity! !   Baa !

    We the Sheeple beg you to rob the Middle Class and the Poor and give all of our hard earned monies to the already Rich and Protected.  Baa !  

    Please, Steal our homes while bursting our Housing Bubbles (so adeptly created by your Dishonorable Selves) and turn us all into renters dwelling within homes, and upon Land owned by the Mega-Banks, Mega-Corporations and Elitist Few !  Baa !

    We the People all know (consciously, subconsciously and unconsciously) that it is the Autocratic Corporate Talking Heads that Make the Bacon, Process the Bacon, Bring Home the Bacon, and eventually Eat the Bacon and Baa-Burgers.

    Hear the Sheeple/People Bleat ?  Hear the little Piggies sqeal ?  This is the American Tea Party’s/Republican Party’s (and other Global Autocratic Corporatists and Bankers) New Deal !  A squealing, bleating New Deal being ground out, processed and cooked up Worldwide.

    Today’s winsomely smiling Man-Beasts come clothed and well groomed in silk suits, shirts and ties.  The Autocratic Corporate Talking Heads are a pragmatic bunch of supposedly innocuous Businessmen.  Funny-Money (or not so funny) Businessmen.

    What an ordinary disguise.  Mad Men (and Women) one and all !  Man-Beasts with Women-Beasts clicking closely behind in their expensively deadly stilettos.

    The Corporate, Banking and Elitist Few Autocrats are taking over the World piece by piece, bleat by bleat, squeal by squeal.  Moving flying electronic numerologies and algorithms representing Money, representing the Lives of the puny Sheeple of the World wherever they please.  Wherever the Sheeple of the World don’t please, in order to keep them dis-eased and confused.

    Dis-eased, confused and dis-combobulated Sheeple are so much easier to manage and control.  Baa !

    The Autocratic Corporatists will trick the Sheeple of the World into thinking that Tax Cuts for the rich and Tax Hikes for the Middle Class and the Poor are just one of the many little tricks which will save our Nations and our World from annihilating Global debt.

    After all We the Sheeple must save the World Banks who own Us All !  Hmmm….

    Then the Autocratic Corporatists (while taking a free ride upon the broken backs of the Middle Class and the Poor) will congratulate themselves on their cleverness for making Their (and Their fellow stockholders) even richer, and give themselves wonderfully exorbitant bonuses and raises.  Job well done !  Hurrah!  The Lamb-chops are sizzling !  The Sheeple are done (and done-in) !  A struggle well thought out and fought !  A struggle well won !

    The Autocratic Corporatists (all in the name of Good Business Practices) will then raise the price of Oil.  They’ll have millions of Sheeple all over the World pumping more and more expensive gas at the pump.

    Even when the demand for gas has declined, they’ll think of all kind of fancy-pantsy excuses as to why the costs of Oil products must rise and rise, and right along with it the prices and cost of everything else on the Planet.

    Clever, gluttonous, insidiously Machinistic, Autocratic Corporatists one and all !  They will enjoy every savory moment of creating their version of Modern Feudalism.  

    They’ll enjoy creating vassals, serfs and slaves while climbing their well devised Monetary Social Hierarchy, and manipulating National and World political, judicial, and legislative outcomes, while cajoling and butchering as many nebulous Sheeple as they can take to the cleaners for the sake of their own Coffers, their own Egos, their own dark and terrible dreams for the 99%.

    The Autocratic Corporatists - the CEO kings and queens are the Modern Nobility of Disdain and National and Global Drain.

    The Autocratic Corporatists are the Shadow-Destroyers of Democratic and Socialistic Republics.

    The Autocratic Corporatists (and their executive, legislative and judicial cohorts on the Right and on the Left) are the future tyrannical Dictators of the World.  They are the 1% who do not give two cents for any of the rest of Us.

    You know what they say.  You get what you bleat for.  Baa !  Baa !

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