Skip to comments.Next up on the bailout list: The mailman? [Hey, it's YOUR money!]
Posted on 05/18/2011 5:36:38 PM PDT by upchuck
By James Hamilton, Econbrowser
From my ground-level perspective, postal mail is a dying industry, at least as far as it's used in academia. So I had some concerns when the Wall Street Journal ran this strongly worded editorial on Saturday:
With their $15 billion line of credit from Treasury about to be exhausted, postal workers and management are now asking Congress to let them take a pass on $5.4 billion in legally required annual contributions to prepay for retirement health benefits.
While there is honest disagreement about how much should be set aside, the Postal Service and unions essentially want to operate the fund on a pay-as-you go basis-- i.e., the same model that has got states like California into fiscal trouble. As funding falls but benefits don't, pressure will rise to dump those health costs on taxpayers-- as General Motors and Chrysler did two years ago.
The position of the Postal Service appears to be that (1) it doesn't have the money to make the $5.4 billion in payments it is required by law to make this year in order to prefund its growth in pension liabilities, (2) it shouldn't have to make the payment, since it has already overpayed $75 billion for this purpose in what it describes as an inequitable arrangement, and (3) if the accumulated pension surplus were returned to the Postal Service, it could be better used to help fund health benefits for USPS employees.
(Excerpt) Read more at finance.fortune.cnn.com ...
I don’t know if this is a phenomena in other areas, but the three post offices within four miles of my house are all staffed by Koreans. They do the job perfectly well, but I would swear they’re hiring each other. Makes sense to cut Sat delivery... and at least where I live which is partly a semi-rural area, there are definitely too many post offices.
As for the retiree health benefit prefunding, this author would do his homework if he wasn't interested in just cranking out a hack piece. So can anyone else who is willing to do even a cursory web search. The USPS is paying into this pool at an enormously accelerated rate compared to all other govt agencies. I suspect congress is using the USPS, the only organization that doesn't suck away our tax dollars, to avoid having to deal with underfunding from the rest of the government.
Perhaps the author would care to comment on what $4 gas does to delivery costs for an organization that cannot impose a "fuel surcharge" as UPS and FedEX can. Again, a government restriction.
Appropriate rules: know the facts, understand the problem, apply a reasoned solution.
All those billions$ could buy alot of computers and give households internet access to email. The postal services is dying, why spend more money on it.
UPS, FedEx and other private carriers do a great job with packages.
Advertising spending is way down and that created a 15% reduction in mail volume.
BTW, USPS has paid nearly $80 billion more into the federal retirement funds than it's employees will ever draw down.
This is the first place the arch criminal Geithner looked to seize private funds to balance the federal budget!
He'll be coming for your money next.
all of our other monthly bills are invoiced to us electronically.
We pay them all electronically.
Hell, we'd rather receive Christmas cards via e-mail.
Who needs the USPS?
I don’t have a problem with the paying for the USPS. If it makes profit that’s fine, if not I’m OK with subsidy. I don’t expect the Army or the judiciary to make a profit either. It performs a legit constitutional function. I am bothered by bloated unions, obscene pensions and gross inefficiency. Cut the fat and buck up for the bare bones mail service.
We taxpayers are not spending money on the USPS. You don't get it, and I am not convinced it is worth the time explaining what you should use your own effort to learn anyway.
The USPS, in spite of governmental restrictions, does an excellent job. Look up the independent tests, done multiple years around Christmas, regarding who gets the packages there intact and for the least money: overall winner USPS. And no, I will not provide a link. Do your own homework.
Here I went and spent time writing posts in support of the USPS. Had I known that you don't use it, and therefore no one should, I wouldn't have bothered :)
Once again, the problem is that we don’t have adults as leaders, and haven’t had for several decades.
I base it on my observation of them and their employees over about 10 years. I see how they handle hundreds of my packages per week. I've dealt with dozens of USPS workers from carriers to post masters. And I have seen many facilities up close. I don't think the people are any worse than at UPS or Fed Ex, but there are too many of them and the union should not exist.
Viewing "facilities" from across the counter and then implying you have spent many hours watching USPS operations inside of dozens of main facilities is not exactly a qualification. Seeing how they move your packages from the counter to the hamper, or from your dock to a truck doesn't qualify either, but nice try.
I am no fan of unions at all. But I have seen good employees saved from gross injustice by them. I have seen slugs defended by them also, unfortunately. I think it is fair to say that the problems caused by unions and poor employees are no different across USPS, UPS, FedEX and others, so why bring it up and pick one organization to malign?
The Post’s operation is sloppier than Ups or Fedex. It just is. You can rant and deny and claim I don’t know what I’m talking abut all you want. It won’t change reality. Our UPS and Fedex drivers show up the same time every day for drop off and pick up. They don’t miss days. Our daily parcel pick up from the Post will vary over a window of 1 1/2 hours. Pick up drivers are constantly clueless about how their own system is supposed to operate. Half the time they come without their scanners. About once every 8-10 days they fail to show up at all and and will have to be called. The tracking system is inferior to it’s competitors. The package insurance system basically does not work. It does not have to be this way. It persists because the political will to fix it doesn’t exist.
I don't insist that all posters on FR are ignorant of the implications of probability, statistics and sampling just because of you.
Perhaps you should speak with my friend who used to work at FedEX - LOL - you can fill him in on how good they are. Wanna know where he works now? Wait, that's only my single sample against yours... OH! OH! I got it! Tom Hanks in Castaway! I can use that right? I win!
10 years and 60,000 packages is limited? Are you a post employee or just a mindless USPS fanboy? But, I repeat myself.
Yes. 10 years and 60K with, what, 1 to 3 delivery people out of a single office is extremely limited. A medium sized processing facility will handle well over 13 MILLION parcels in a single year (note, that is exclusive of letters, magazines, large envelopes, etc. just packages, at one facility). Your sample size, on just one facility, is 0.046% And yet you, karnak, are able to know about the entire organization. Impressive.
You still need to tell me how this exposure tipped you off on those bloated pensions. Oh, never mind. We both know you don't know, so why bother?
Bottom line: you have drawn unsupportable conclusions based on statistically insignificant information and you stubbornly refuse to admit it. Those are the qualities of a boy.
Ah well, even the cat tires of the string after a time. I'm done, LOL - Go away.
It's easy - just do what you did in your prior post.
That will show me!
Junk mail is what the USPS is all about. I find the enironmental paradox of this situation hilarious. Where are all the eviro wackos over this issue? 90% of what I receive in my mailbox everyday stays in my hand for as long as it takes me to put it in the trash headed for the landfil. The other 10% that I do want can easily be handled by UPS or FedEx, and usually is. All of my finacial bussiness is handled electronically. It's time for the USPS to either go completely private and compete or give up the ghost.