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brettdoyle said:   curtisekarr said:   brettdoyle said:   Many government ran ponzi schemes operate by promising benefits today and leaving future generations stuck with the bill. This game can go on for a long time as the population increases because there are more and more bag holders to absorb the costs. It can't work for the Postal Service because there will be fewer and fewer workers to take from health care premiums from as mail volume declines.

If they don't pre-fund today it will surely lead to them going broke and asking for a tax payer bailout in the future, which I am sure they will get given the history of bailouts in the US.
Isn't the above true of virtually every government entity? If so, then perhaps we, as a nation, could fund all the pension and benefit accounts for everyone for the next 75 years.

Why is it that Congress specifically sought to and succeeded in "correcting" only the USPS?


It would be impossible to prefund things like Social Security or Medicare... the present value of the liabilities is something crazy like 100 trillion which should make it obvious to anyone that these programs aren't sustainable. Of course that's why the USPS had to default on their health care payments.
Why only the USPS?

curtisekarr said:   brettdoyle said:   curtisekarr said:   brettdoyle said:   Many government ran ponzi schemes operate by promising benefits today and leaving future generations stuck with the bill. This game can go on for a long time as the population increases because there are more and more bag holders to absorb the costs. It can't work for the Postal Service because there will be fewer and fewer workers to take from health care premiums from as mail volume declines.

If they don't pre-fund today it will surely lead to them going broke and asking for a tax payer bailout in the future, which I am sure they will get given the history of bailouts in the US.
Isn't the above true of virtually every government entity? If so, then perhaps we, as a nation, could fund all the pension and benefit accounts for everyone for the next 75 years.

Why is it that Congress specifically sought to and succeeded in "correcting" only the USPS?


It would be impossible to prefund things like Social Security or Medicare... the present value of the liabilities is something crazy like 100 trillion which should make it obvious to anyone that these programs aren't sustainable. Of course that's why the USPS had to default on their health care payments.
Why only the USPS?


I would guess that it's much easier politically to try and fix the USPS rather than come clean about not being able to make promises for social security, medicare, and federal workers pensions.

neophyte said:   Well, I have only one word to say to a bashing crowd: "Netflix"

One word to say to that : streaming.

OliverQuackenbush said:   the problem with your thinking is that you have accepted, without question, the talking heads' assertion that the post office must turn a profit.
the government does important things that are not profitable. mail delivery is one of them.


The irony is that the people who'd suffer most if the USPS went away is the same low population density rural Red Staters clamoring for cutting this "waste". Good luck getting a private company to cheaply deliver mail to a remote trailer in a swamp, NYC and LA will be fine.

brettdoyle said:   FSBox said:   Organizationally speaking, there is nothing inherently wrong with the USPS

Funniest line I've read in a while.

Their labor expenditures account for roughly 80 percent of the agency’s expenses. What business venture could possibly sustain operations like that?


I agree there is room for cost cutting on the labor front, and that's what the USPS is undertaking at this point. Traditionally their efforts have been mostly focused automating the processing and distribution centers. But recently they've start the hit at the meat of the problem that is the delivery units. Read the postal forums - routes are getting consolidated at the same time as overtime is being severely limited, and older experienced employees are being enticed into early retirement and replaced with less expensive new employees.

My point is that the structure, and type of employees, be it union or contractor, is not the issue at hand. The USPS is also not top-heavy like some organizations are, which lends itself to a much easier time stream lining their labor force than otherwise.

Glitch99 said:   JTausTX said:   
While I agree that prefunding is a good plan in general, please explain to me why it's necessary to fund it to this extreme. Once we have a satisfactory explanation for that, we'll move on to why this already onerous requirement needs to be done in ten years. Slice it however you want, it's a ridiculous requirement. As someone said, they are pre-funding the retirements of people who aren't even born.

That isn't correct. They're merely funding the future retirement healthcare of current employees. Right now, they just pay the monthly premiums of whoever is receiving benefits. And those costs keep going up - it makes sense to match the expense of labor to the time period the labor was actually received. Otherwise you have an operation that employs 100 people trying to pay for healthcare for 500 people, it's simply unsustainable.


I'm looking at the law and it's all very vague, so I'm honestly not sure. I will certainly give you the benefit of the doubt. By the way, if anyone is interested, here is the law in question (relevant portion begins on page 55, section 803), which amends 5 USC 8906(g)(2)(a). The PAEA's language is "current and future annuitants", the code I just referenced mentions only employees and beneficiaries who retire after 1971, but the PAEA also calculates NPV for the "current and future annuitants" I *think* through the end of 2007.

In any case, like I said earlier there are legitimate issues aside from the PAEA's requirements to be dealt with in the USPS. But this is still an unreasonable requirement that is crippling them. Honestly, even this wouldn't be all that bad except that they are not allowed to raise prices to pay for it.

ganda said:   OliverQuackenbush said:   the problem with your thinking is that you have accepted, without question, the talking heads' assertion that the post office must turn a profit.
the government does important things that are not profitable. mail delivery is one of them.


The irony is that the people who'd suffer most if the USPS went away is the same low population density rural Red Staters clamoring for cutting this "waste". Good luck getting a private company to cheaply deliver mail to a remote trailer in a swamp, NYC and LA will be fine.

I don't understand this argument. UPS and FedEx deliver everywhere the USPS does.

sailinlight said:   ganda said:   OliverQuackenbush said:   the problem with your thinking is that you have accepted, without question, the talking heads' assertion that the post office must turn a profit.
the government does important things that are not profitable. mail delivery is one of them.


The irony is that the people who'd suffer most if the USPS went away is the same low population density rural Red Staters clamoring for cutting this "waste". Good luck getting a private company to cheaply deliver mail to a remote trailer in a swamp, NYC and LA will be fine.

I don't understand this argument. UPS and FedEx deliver everywhere the USPS does.


I think the key word is 'cheaply'.

UPS & FedEx do not have any 46 cent options.

sailinlight said:   ganda said:   OliverQuackenbush said:   the problem with your thinking is that you have accepted, without question, the talking heads' assertion that the post office must turn a profit.
the government does important things that are not profitable. mail delivery is one of them.


The irony is that the people who'd suffer most if the USPS went away is the same low population density rural Red Staters clamoring for cutting this "waste". Good luck getting a private company to cheaply deliver mail to a remote trailer in a swamp, NYC and LA will be fine.

I don't understand this argument. UPS and FedEx deliver everywhere the USPS does.


No they don't, and they charge less to deliver to major cities than low density rural areas. I'm on the East Coast and UPS charge me less to deliver to Los Angeles than a rural midwestern address that is actually 2000 miles nearer.

Mail service here stinks. Constantly do not shut mail boxes and sensitive mail is blown about the neighborhood, mail in wrong boxes also routine. Here is a article that summarizes their pay: http://work.chron.com/average-pay-postal-worker-2050.html Also consider no degree required. Like the majority of federal workers except for the military, they are grossly overpaid AND grossly overcompensated with benefits. There lies the problem.

Anybody know if any component of the USPS is subject to taxation on any level?

If you start with the premise that they aren't, and are therefore free of not just the taxes themselves but also all the associated expenses that FedEx and UPS have to deal (accountants, attorneys, etc), it casts their efficiency in a much less favorable light.

Meanwhile, anybody know how much USPS shelled out to Lance Armstrong and co.?

DrDubious said:   Anybody know if any component of the USPS is subject to taxation on any level?

If you start with the premise that they aren't, and are therefore free of not just the taxes themselves but also all the associated expenses that FedEx and UPS have to deal (accountants, attorneys, etc), in casts their efficiency in a much less favorable light.

Meanwhile, anybody know how much USPS shelled out to Lance Armstrong and co.?


The USPS is granted a monopoly status on first class mail via the Private Express Statutes. No one else is allowed to compete or the USPS will sue them. If they had to compete they would be put out of business in no time.

They also get loans guaranteed by the US treasury that allows them to artificially lower their cost of capital.

HOT DEAL

Where do I collect my money from this thread?

Easy cut - quit delivering mail to the door, especially in suburban areas. In my area, there are neighborhoods with lots up to an acre in size where the carriers are walking door to door.

brettdoyle said:   DrDubious said:   Anybody know if any component of the USPS is subject to taxation on any level?

If you start with the premise that they aren't, and are therefore free of not just the taxes themselves but also all the associated expenses that FedEx and UPS have to deal (accountants, attorneys, etc), in casts their efficiency in a much less favorable light.

Meanwhile, anybody know how much USPS shelled out to Lance Armstrong and co.?


The USPS is granted a monopoly status on first class mail via the Private Express Statutes. No one else is allowed to compete or the USPS will sue them. If they had to compete they would be put out of business in no time.

They also get loans guaranteed by the US treasury that allows them to artificially lower their cost of capital.


cool story bro

This thread pretty much mirrors why the post office is in its current state. There is an objective reality here - the USPS has unfunded liabilities that have to be paid for or they will overwhelm its budget in the future. Its a cost that must be addressed, it isn't an opinion its a public policy reality. Yet I keep getting red for pointing it out, mostly from our left wing posters. Its not a political issue, and the fact that it keeps getting politicized is part of the problem.

All the discussion revolves around subsidizing USPS (liberals) or cutting services/raising stamp costs (conservatives), but neither are going to happen. On the subsidizing side Congress has already mandated the most its willing to do is gives lines of credit, which the USPS routinely exhausts. On the cutting services or raising stamp cost side no one from either side of the aisle wants to deal with the voters fallout from it as its politically unpopular.

The USPS knows all this, by the way, which is why you see them talking about doing things like trying to expand some of their more profitable services. For the time being any threat - like stopping mail on Saturdays - will almost certainly be stopped by Congress through providing more credit lines to keep things going. Any service cuts which Congress believes will enrage their most politically active constituents or those constituents most likely to vote (seniors) will not be allowed to go through.

I don't know why I bother with these threads...I'm done. We cant even have a discussion because people are to busy redding reality.

LawDawgAtl said:   JohnGalt69 said:   I don't get it, why do we need to subsidize people living in rural areas? If you choose to live in a rural area, mailing letters might be more expensive. Makes sense, right?I don't really have a problem with it but think about the implementation. Flat rates save USPS a lot of money since without them, you'd be way more likely to have to go to the post office to determine the correct postage, which would cost USPS quite a bit of money.

Distance based pricing that is used by the USPS and by UPS and FedEx works way better for products with higher profit margins because hard processing costs amount to a relatively small percentage of the total cost of this more expensive product. For first class postage, it'd be difficult to make a business case that distance and location based pricing makes a lot of sense given the greatly increased costs associated with such a system.


I am responding to people who say privatizing the post office is impossible because then rural people would have to pay more. If that's not true, then that is an even more effective rebuttal of their argument.

That bastion of red-state, conservative politics, Germany, manages to have a private post-office. Are you telling me German farmers don't get mail service? If Germany can have a private post office that does not require a $15 billion loan, why can't we? And Germany is hardly the only country that has that.

magika said:   This thread pretty much mirrors why the post office is in its current state. There is an objective reality here - the USPS has unfunded liabilities that have to be paid for or they will overwhelm its budget in the future. Its a cost that must be addressed, it isn't an opinion its a public policy reality. Yet I keep getting red for pointing it out, mostly from our left wing posters. Its not a political issue, and the fact that it keeps getting politicized is part of the problem.

All the discussion revolves around subsidizing USPS (liberals) or cutting services/raising stamp costs (conservatives), but neither are going to happen. On the subsidizing side Congress has already mandated the most its willing to do is gives lines of credit, which the USPS routinely exhausts. On the cutting services or raising stamp cost side no one from either side of the aisle wants to deal with the voters fallout from it as its politically unpopular.

The USPS knows all this, by the way, which is why you see them talking about doing things like trying to expand some of their more profitable services. For the time being any threat - like stopping mail on Saturdays - will almost certainly be stopped by Congress through providing more credit lines to keep things going. Any service cuts which Congress believes will enrage their most politically active constituents or those constituents most likely to vote (seniors) will not be allowed to go through.

I don't know why I bother with these threads...I'm done.


magicka, I already said that I don't think prefunding in itself is bad, in fact it's laudable. But prefunding on the scale and timeline that they are forced to is ridiculous. When prefunding 75 years in the future, why do it in ten years and not twenty? Twenty cuts the burden in half and still meets the same goal.

JTausTX said:   

magicka, I already said that I don't think prefunding in itself is bad, in fact it's laudable. But prefunding on the scale and timeline that they are forced to is ridiculous. When prefunding 75 years in the future, why do it in ten years and not twenty? Twenty cuts the burden in half and still meets the same goal.


I personally don't understand where people are getting that the pre-funding is 75 years. According to the GAO the 2006 legislation authorized 50 years of pre-funding, which specifically is a period meant to cover projected retirees only (and not pre-fund people who aren't even employed by USPS yet but will be in the future, as some have claimed here):


GAO said: The Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund (PSRHBF) covered about 49 percent of the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) $94 billion retiree health benefit liability at fiscal year-end 2012. USPS's deteriorating financial outlook, however, will make it difficult to continue the current prefunding schedule in the short term, and possibly to fully fund the remaining $48 billion unfunded liability over the remaining 44 years of the schedule on which the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) was based. The liability covers the projected benefits for about 471,000 current postal retirees and a portion of the projected benefits for about 528,000 current employees; it does not cover employees not yet hired. Under PAEA, USPS is responsible for contributing an additional $33.9 billion to the PSRHBF by fiscal year 2017, including the $11.1 billion USPS has defaulted on over the past 2 years. PAEA also requires the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to calculate the remaining unfunded liability in 2017 and develop an initial 40-year amortization payment schedule.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-112

As to why not 20? Because anything less than 40 or so doesn't really solve the problem. The unfunded liabilities in question are not linear increases in terms of cost, the rate of increase is exponential up until about 50 years out. The cost increase in 20 years is nothing to what your looking at in the 20-40 range. From a policy analysis perspective from crunching the numbers myself I think they could do about 40 but anything less would be "kicking the can down the road" and only cause another crises in a few years.

EDIT: The fact that I am quoting the GAO and getting red for pointing out that someones talking points are wrong shows you that people are more interesting in politicizing this than having an actual discussion. I am sorry the facts dont match up to your reality.

ahallfatwallett said:   The USPS should **NOT** be operated "like a business." If it did, it would drop out of all the unprofitable rural areas that aren't cost effective for UPS and FedEx to deliver to, either. The USPS provides a valuable service especially to rural areas, at an amazing price.

It SHOULD be subsidized to some degree, if need be.

It SHOULD NOT be required to pre-fund its pension plan for the next 75 years. Are UPS and FedEx doing that? Why not?


Thank you for expressing your opinions.

Did I mention, opinions?

This thread is full of (useless) opinions.

There is maybe 1 or 2 people who have facts and research on their posts, and these posts are getting plenty of red.

JohnGalt69 said:   LawDawgAtl said:   JohnGalt69 said:   I don't get it, why do we need to subsidize people living in rural areas? If you choose to live in a rural area, mailing letters might be more expensive. Makes sense, right?I don't really have a problem with it but think about the implementation. Flat rates save USPS a lot of money since without them, you'd be way more likely to have to go to the post office to determine the correct postage, which would cost USPS quite a bit of money.

Distance based pricing that is used by the USPS and by UPS and FedEx works way better for products with higher profit margins because hard processing costs amount to a relatively small percentage of the total cost of this more expensive product. For first class postage, it'd be difficult to make a business case that distance and location based pricing makes a lot of sense given the greatly increased costs associated with such a system.


I am responding to people who say privatizing the post office is impossible because then rural people would have to pay more. If that's not true, then that is an even more effective rebuttal of their argument.

That bastion of red-state, conservative politics, Germany, manages to have a private post-office. Are you telling me German farmers don't get mail service? If Germany can have a private post office that does not require a $15 billion loan, why can't we? And Germany is hardly the only country that has that.


You are understating the laziness and inefficiency of certain US workers.

Germany has state-provided healthcare.
Germany has a better safety net at many levels than US.
Why compare yourself to Germany?
There is plenty of countries that will make you look good if you compared yourself.

E.g., India. Some people in India don't have clean water for driking, laundry, or washing. Surely, US is far more advanced than India (never mind that in India you can get very good quality healthcare for less than half the cost).

Here are some of my opinions.

1. Should some services be subsidized by government? Sure. Especially when free markets fail to provide. Examples:

- National security (public and heavily subsidized; surely, the Pentagon is not a profitable organization, although some might argue that the economic prosperity of the US is tied to being policeman #1 in the world),
- Health Care (that's what the other 99% of the developed countries do; US, unfortunately, is the lone black sheep here),
- Public Transportation. And I mean, GOOD public transportation, not something lousy that you see in a typical midwestern city with population from 900K to 1.3M. Only 3, maybe 4 cities have good public transportation system in the US,
- Post (way down there in the list).

2. Should Post Office be subsidized? Answers vary: (z) no, (a) maybe, (b) probably, (c) definitely. Either way, don't overpay the lazy, inefficient workers. Yes, they are lazy, they are inefficient, and they admit it by working so slowly, like turtles.

3. Postal service is providing a great service to rural areas. Fine. Are you saying that the volume of mail going to rural areas is not enough to pay for itself? Great! Then cut service in half by deliverying mail half the days. I am assuming that the last 1, 5, 10, 20 miles are the expensive part of the network. Then, split large rural areas into zones, e.g., 2 zones. Zone one gets mail delivery on Mo, Wed, Fri. Zone 2 gets it on Tue, Thu, Sat. No one is going to die if they receive their unimportant mail 1 day too late. You can reduce half of the jobs in the delivery network. There is your solution to cutting half of the rural carriers.

You think that's not enough? Fine. Here is another solution. Here is randomly chosen rural part of US:

http://goo.gl/maps/aczyu

There are 9 post office in the central part of the map. They are all open Mon-Fri. Most of them are open Sat.

Now, here is what you do. Either close half of them, or keep all of them open. However, have 3 varieties:

Variety 1: open Mon, Wed, half of Fri, and 1 hour on Sat,
Variety 2: open Tue, Thu, the other half of Fri, and 1 hour Sat,
Variety 3: open half Mo, half Tue, half Wed, half Thu, half Friday.

With variety 1 and 2, you can have the same person work at both Variety 1 and variety 2, because the open hours are mutually exclusive, and cover roughly 40-45 hours a week.

With variety 3, you can have post office workers work in the office for half the day, and delivery the remaining half.

This way, every town gets to keep their post office, but they are not open all the time.

The rest of the time? Well, put automated post machines, or just go to the next town.

Here we go. Just a 10 minute plan to cut your costs if not in half, at least by 30 percent or so.




4. Eliminating Saturday delivery is not going to have the intended savings. Maybe true. Then let's understand why. If the system is already operating at capacity on a certain geographical area (town, zip code, county, whatever), then eliminating Saturday delivery is going to shift the burden to other days. Then you need to have discriminatory pricing. Spam sent to zip codes that are operating at capacity should be charged at a higher price.

Maybe Congress should stop legislating the PO from moving into ancillary businesses that make perfect sense. For example, the USPS is not permitted to deliver alcoholic products. They can't offer any kind of banking/insurance product (as Deutsche post or Japan post do). They can't raise prices without congressional approval.

Everything a business can do to adjust to a changing environment the PO CAN'T do. The problem is people are looking at this as a business when it is clearly not.

tolamapS said:   ahallfatwallett said:   The USPS should **NOT** be operated "like a business." If it did, it would drop out of all the unprofitable rural areas that aren't cost effective for UPS and FedEx to deliver to, either. The USPS provides a valuable service especially to rural areas, at an amazing price.

It SHOULD be subsidized to some degree, if need be.

It SHOULD NOT be required to pre-fund its pension plan for the next 75 years. Are UPS and FedEx doing that? Why not?


Thank you for expressing your opinions.

Did I mention, opinions?

This thread is full of (useless) opinions.

There is maybe 1 or 2 people who have facts and research on their posts, and these posts are getting plenty of red.


sometimes an opinion can be both a fact and an opinion at the same time.
for example, it is my opinion that it is dark outside. its also a fact its dark outside.
opinions, facts, communication, information is useless to those with neither the time, training, nor inclination for higher-level thinking.
whats useless to you may be valuable to others. value is relative.
then after all your bitching you give us 5 tl;dr pages of your opinions.
for petes sake, your conduct is strictly for the birds.

jnheinz said:   Glitch99 said:   jnheinz said:   Yankees said:   Laker312 said:   The average salary for a mailman in my zip code is $95,346. I wonder if that is part of the problem???

a random sampling shows salaries capped @ ~$57k, with the exceptions being supervisors, managers, and postmasters.


Mailmen making $57K a year? That is ridiculous for the level of education/experience/expertise required for the job.

Then again, they deliver to me a lot of checks, credit cards, and statements, and work largely on the road unsupervised, so....


yeah, and they are likely subjected to punitive criminal charges if they screw that up. That's the reason somebody justified paying them 57K and not 45K.


I received one issue of a two-year Playboy subscription.

Only best solution to fix all USPS problems is to dissolve their unions. Have u ever seen their work culture?

sharem said:   jnheinz said:   Glitch99 said:   jnheinz said:   Yankees said:   Laker312 said:   The average salary for a mailman in my zip code is $95,346. I wonder if that is part of the problem???

a random sampling shows salaries capped @ ~$57k, with the exceptions being supervisors, managers, and postmasters.


Mailmen making $57K a year? That is ridiculous for the level of education/experience/expertise required for the job.

Then again, they deliver to me a lot of checks, credit cards, and statements, and work largely on the road unsupervised, so....


yeah, and they are likely subjected to punitive criminal charges if they screw that up. That's the reason somebody justified paying them 57K and not 45K.


I received one issue of a two-year Playboy subscription.


if god worked for the post office, he would have done the same thing. stop touching yourself!!!

tolamapS said:   4. Eliminating Saturday delivery is not going to have the intended savings. Maybe true. Then let's understand why. If the system is already operating at capacity on a certain geographical area (town, zip code, county, whatever), then eliminating Saturday delivery is going to shift the burden to other days. Then you need to have discriminatory pricing. Spam sent to zip codes that are operating at capacity should be charged at a higher price.

I like your post except for this part. I haven't gotten more than three pieces of mail on any given day since the holidays (and I get a lot of catalogs and marketing mail). Is your mailbox overflowing? They've closed the mail sorting center near me and have plans to close a bunch more because the volume is so low and I doubt there are very many individual routes operating at full capacity, except maybe letter carriers on foot (obviously much lower capacity than a vehicle).

Here's an idea I haven't seen anywhere:
Let residential customer choose, and pay for, the frequency of delivery they want.
Choices would be something like:
1. Pick up from local substation. Free.
2. Weekly or 2x-a-week delivery to door/building/driveway. $50 or $100 a year. Great option if most of what you get is junk/catalogs/magazines and all the important stuff is online.
3. Daily weekday delivery to door/building/driveway. $250/year. (Free or reduced for those on government disability or receiving social security.)
4. 7-day-a-week delivery to door/building/driveway. $500/year.
Parcels and certain expensive classes of mail, like certified, could bypass this system and go direct to the door. This would be continued competition for UPS/FedEx and would be paid for by the higher rates charged to sender.
I suppose this would add complexity to the system, and would require additional expenses to implement, bill and track, but it would raise a hell of a lot of revenue and reduce delivery costs substantially, and it would still fulfill the PO's mission.

@zgori

While you're thinking is fair, you must remember that it WILL kill a lot of jobs.

I'm all for closing up abundance, and getting rid of the lazy postal workers (and self entitled), but axing the complete postal system will not benefit the economy.

Don't get me wrong - I personally hate my local post office.... I have to drive to the next town to drop off my packages.

Axing the postal system all together as you propose will kill a lot of jobs, not beneficial for the economy, and in the end out tax dollars might be feeding their unemployment checks

brettdoyle said:   FSBox said:   Organizationally speaking, there is nothing inherently wrong with the USPS

Funniest line I've read in a while.

Their labor expenditures account for roughly 80 percent of the agency’s expenses. What business venture could possibly sustain operations like that?


*blinks* Um, pretty much any business that is providing services? USPS's core product is delivery. That is a people-intensive enterprise.

That said, there is definitely bloat at USPS. Salaries are out of line with private-sector companies doing the same work. The Postal Service is not aggressive enough in seeking savings through privatization.

I wouldn't *dissolve* the postal unions - labor organizing is a fundamental American right - but I would do what many local school districts, auto manufacturers and others have done with union negotiations. Pushing those contract negotiations into the sunlight has brought a heavy dose of political and economic reality into play, and undermined unions' attempts to protect their core constituency (which tend to be those employees that, on an objective basis, are truly overpaid and underworked.)

When labor negotiations are conducted in the open, labor prices tend to come down, and unreasonable barriers to innovation are exposed. The postal unions haven't really had to face that kind of scrutiny. They should.

RedCelicaGT touched on the "electronic mail" idea but one opportunity for the USPS would be to offer everyone in the US an official email address. This address would be tied to a real person or a real company. If you opted in, you could require email correspondents to verify themselves by tying the email to the official USPS email account or their email would bounce or go to a spam folder. If you wanted to continue to use "private" email fine. But by tying incoming email to a real person (or verified company), you could zap most spam, phishing attacks and the like. Non-US individual emailers could be whitelisted by you and foreign companies could sign up for an account for a fee.

The USPS could charge businesses for their official email addresses and offer additional features for a fee (like postal mailing of emails). One friend of mine runs a small business almost exclusively online. He's always inundated with spam because it's still hard to filter out the spam from legit mail, so he has to monitor his spam folders constantly to keep from losing a job. His captcha setup isn't foolproof by a long shot either.

The hotshot mail fraud people could then shift into high gear and chase after the spammers.

I honestly don't know why they don't just cut back to twice a week for residential delivery. Monday and Thursday, or Tuesday/Friday. At most, your important bills will arrive 2 business days later, and then 2 extra days before they can be mailed back out.

So hire them all to do something more important than delivering direct-marketing campaigns six days a week. I'm all for government employment, and there are plenty of worthwhile investments we can be making. Infrastructure, R&D, health care, whatever. The point is that maybe in an age of electronic data we need to reevaluate the costs of daily delivery and give people choices about what they need from their mail. (This, of course, ignores political realities, but it seems like the conversation was taking that direction anyway.)

In the last 12 months, I've ordered three items that have shipped (unbeknownst to me at time of order) via USPS. They've managed to lose every one of them, and at three different addresses.

It's no wonder they're going broke. I'll never use USPS to ship any kind of package ever again. Letters and magazines are about the only things that actually arrive.

sharem said:   ......
I received one issue of a two-year Playboy subscription.

That explains why they park their vehicles in lonely area for hours

brettdoyle said:   FSBox said:   Organizationally speaking, there is nothing inherently wrong with the USPS

Funniest line I've read in a while.

Their labor expenditures account for roughly 80 percent of the agency’s expenses. What business venture could possibly sustain operations like that?


At the end of the day, ALL expenses are "labor" expenses. If you follow the chain to the end, money only ends up in one place: some person's pocket. Maybe that person's labor was harvesting raw materials, maybe it was shipping it, maybe it was doing the paperwork about it, maybe it was marketing it, maybe it was loaning money used for capital investments, maybe it was installing that product into a machine, maybe it was running that machine to make other products, etc. etc.... But in the end, all expenses are people expenses.

A business that sells goods might say 50% of our costs are for purchasing products to resell, but that's just shortcut for saying 50% of our costs are labor costs for people who produce and transport the products that we resell.

Now, service organizations such as the post office or governments, logically have most of their expenses going out as pay to the people who provide services. They don't have many other expenses because the chain of their business is very short: they provide a service, not a good. So it's natural for a service organization's costs to be mainly salaries and benefits for the employees.

zgori said:   So hire them all to do something more important than delivering direct-marketing campaigns six days a week. I'm all for government employment, and there are plenty of worthwhile investments we can be making. Infrastructure, R&D, health care, whatever. The point is that maybe in an age of electronic data we need to reevaluate the costs of daily delivery and give people choices about what they need from their mail. (This, of course, ignores political realities, but it seems like the conversation was taking that direction anyway.)

Bulk commercial mail, as previously pointed out, is a highly profitable enterprise for USPS. (In fact, it's a good deal for pretty much everyone involved, except the consumers that have to deal with the deluge of crap.) Eliminating it would make everything else the postal service does MORE expensive.

And remember that all the things you listed off as alternative uses are government functions. The USPS is not government; any cost savings are plowed back into the USPS, which performs none of the functions you've outlined (unless you're talking about R&D into having unmanned drones delivering mail. Which would be kinda cool, and kinda scary. )

mistadeal said:   I honestly don't know why they don't just cut back to twice a week for residential delivery. Monday and Thursday, or Tuesday/Friday. At most, your important bills will arrive 2 business days later, and then 2 extra days before they can be mailed back out.

You honestly don't see a problem with that? A lot of people finesse the timing of their bills and paychecks. Sometimes people forget things. This would cause a lot of problems for your everyday user.

lillazyfats81 said:   @zgori

While you're thinking is fair, you must remember that it WILL kill a lot of jobs.

I'm all for closing up abundance, and getting rid of the lazy postal workers (and self entitled), but axing the complete postal system will not benefit the economy.

Don't get me wrong - I personally hate my local post office.... I have to drive to the next town to drop off my packages.

Axing the postal system all together as you propose will kill a lot of jobs, not beneficial for the economy, and in the end out tax dollars might be feeding their unemployment checks


Jobs only add value to society when they produce goods and services of value. Everyone in the Soviet Union had a job, but everyone was dirty poor and their economy was terrible.

The best thing that could happen is the postal workers get laid off and their labor (a valuable resource) is freed up for more productive purposes.



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