Skip to comments.The Deepest, Scariest Secrets of the Post Office Scandal Revealed (Long article)
Posted on 09/08/2013 4:03:06 AM PDT by Kaslin
First of all, the USPS is NOT a government organization, but a private business. (sigh). Second, the USPS does NOT photograph every piece of mail. (sigh) It does run it thru multiple scanners. One is a bio scanner - developed since the "white powder" scare - that can locate poisons, etc. Another is a zip code scanner, to electronically put zip codes on the mail so that it can be electronically sorted. This saves time and money... except when your Grammy writes so illegibly that her letter has to be kicked out and a real live human has to figure out what zip code (if any) she scrawled on the envelope. Third, Because of ridiculous government regulations - the latest of which is a Congressional math error that has required the USPS to put billions into a slush 'retirement fund' (the only private OR public company in the country that has to do so) the USPS is on the verge of bankruptcy. Congress refuses to correct its error, and is costing the USPS as well as its customer billions of dollars. This is why postal rates keep climbing - not because they are a subsidiary of the government. If you think that this makes the USPS friends of the government, you are mistaken. These facts that you don't know, and that you only hysterically screech about what you think you know, make your entire rant suspect. -Police State: USPS, DOE, IRS, FEC, GSA, DEA, FBI, NSA, DoS, DoD Spying on You
Dear Comrade Beatrice,
Then I guess the Post Office is the only private organization that has its own police force with federal policing powers, huh? Its called the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and it bills itself as the Federal law enforcement and security arm of the U.S Postal Service.
Giddy up, DC. Police acomin.
I have sympathy for your point of view, however Beatrice. Its not your fault. Its societys faultOld White Men, that is-- that youre a delusional liberal.
Being a liberal, you were probably thrown off by the fact that the Post Office is one of the few agencies of the federal government that derives its power explicitly from the Constitution of the United States of America.
In falls under Section 8, also known as the Enumerated Powers.
The Constitution is kind of a blind spot for you guys, being both liberal and delusional.
But I repeat myself.
Too, you might have missed the article from the Associated Press where the Postmaster General says that they image all the mail.
I dont know what image means to you, but to me, without even using the dictionary, its a verb that means: to take pictures of.
So, let me refresh your memory from the AP:
The Postal Service takes pictures of every piece of mail processed in the United States 160 billion last year and keeps them on hand for up to a month.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the photos of the exterior of mail pieces are used primarily for the sorting process, but they are available for law enforcement, if requested.
“...the USPS is NOT a government organization, but a private business...”
A “Private” business????? Hardly!
Has anyone been watching the latest postal system ads on TV lately? Has anyone noticed that they point the blame of their own mismanagement on the government taking a huge slice of their gross income away from them and that is the reason that we should be paying about $35.00 per stamp in the near future?
An independent business? Why can’t they manage their own postal rates without the approval of the government?
Answer: THEY ARE THE GOVERNMENT.
Sounds like Bea there got the USPS and the Fed Reserve mixed up. The Fed *is* private, more or less.
If it were a private business, it would be making profits, not deficits. I do remember though that it was supposed to be privatized. I guess nothing became of it
The thing I respect most about liberals is that they are so well informed. They are smarter than everyone else. They are teenagers who never grew up.
Ransom always puts a smile on my face :)
It is a quasi-government business. It is constitutionally required. It is under the pervue of a board controlled by the government. But as to reading every piece of mail, it would have to physically open each piece, run it through the scanner, then reveal it in a manner that you cannot see the envelope was opened.
Come on. Yes, they image each envelope, but not the contents. As to the paying into a retirement fund, it is nothing more than a tax mandated by government, masquerading as a retirement fund payment.
27-yr postal sorter here; we have been forced, the only govt agency to do so, to fund retirement for the next 75 years.
Huge deficit, and we can’t raise the price of stamps too
much to pay for it as we only can keep pace with inflation,
and only if the postal rates commission gives us permission.
It’s 46 cents for a stamp...a 20 oz bottle of soda in a vending machine costs over three times as much. We’re more
of a package business these days, the bosses tell us.
Images are scanned, not the contents, indeed. I usually sort manually but sometimes I get put on a machine. When it breaks down you can see the address of one letter up on a computer screen..when it runs, it sorts multiple letters
per second. We’re not invading your privacy.
>>Since 2006, the Post Office has been legally required to pre-fund health benefits for future retirees at a cost of around $5.5 billion a year. When Congress imposed those mandates in 2006, the Post Office was doing just fine. Digital communication had yet to take such a huge bite out of the amount of mail the USPS processed and delivered. First-class mail volume was about 97 billion pieces in 2006. So there wasnt much of a backlash when Congress decided that the Post Office was healthy enough to lock in health benefits for future retirees for the next 75 years, mind you, something no other public or private agency does.
Two years later, the U.S. was hit by the Great Recession at around the same time that mobile communication and things like online bill payments were growing at explosive rates. The Post Office began reporting massive deficits from which it has yet to recover. Last year it delivered only 68 billion pieces of mail.
The problem is not that the USPS has been forced to do so, the problem is the rest of government has not.
Everyone in government needs to be moved to a defined contribution. Let family and welfare care for the unlucky and the unprepared. I know that sounds harsh, but we cannot continue as a nation to have the government workers retire in relative luxury while the vast majority of the private sector is forced to fend for themselves.
ALL government agencies should be required to fund their future pension and health benefits. This is a matter of bringing the off-the-books liabilities back on the books. I.e., it’s honest accounting.
right but for 75 years...? I know what you mean though.
Lets not forget tax dollars are in fact a significant chunk of postal revenue. By my estimate, 1/4 to 1/3 of first class mail; presort, stamped, and metered, is government-generated.
12 year employee here.
When you control the mail you control information.....
The scan each piece for the bar code. My guess is Postmaster used the term “take pictures” in a way most idiot CEO’s who don’t understand technology would.
Messing with the mail is a Federal Offense. Should we let the local cops investigate it? And many of their cases are internal—catching the idiot workers.
It is nice to think the post office is spying on you. But they really cannot get out of their own way.
Small but important distinction. It says that the Congress MAY establish, just like the military MAY be established.
The Big Big Gov wanted the Post Office to stand independently but didn't want to release the control of it. That's why the PO's board of directors is 535 people, half of whom are too stupid to breathe.
Here’s the big question regarding scanning: are the images retained after scanning? The part about them being available to law enforcement implies they are.
No, its an actual picture. All collected mail is photographed front and back, to determine the facing direction. The stamp is cancelled, an id tag is sprayed on the back. The machine attempts to OCR the address. If successful, it sprays a barcode on the front. Otherwise the image is sent for remote encoding to be looked at by a human.
All this happens at 30,000 pieces an hour in what is called an AFCS200 machine.
All bulk mail, standard or presort first class, is only photographed on the front. Again primarily to look for a barcode, but some machines are capable of OCR. Its not a little laser scanner on a barcode, its a high speed camera. Most of those function at 40,000 pieces an hour.
I had mailed previously (May) a registered letter to my brother and he got that in 10 days. The mail clerk had told me that it would be put on a plane in Nashville
Images are stored about 30 days after scanning. Most of the time its to allow lost pieces back in to the system more easily.
***Its 46 cents for a stamp...a 20 oz bottle of soda in a vending machine costs over three times as much.***
You have identified the public’s inability to make practical and monetary comparisons. 46 cents is truly a bargain...compared to hand-carrying a birthday card a few thousand miles to reach a loved one on a special occasion.
Reminds me of people complaining about the cost of a gallon of gas vs. a cup of Starbucks’ coffee. Coffee beans just have to be picked and shipped. Gas has to be sucked out of the ground under dangerous conditions, shipped, refined, shipped again and stored underground in gas stations. Huge disparity in costs.
As a mail carrier, I sometimes am able to recognize a letter being returned to the sender as one I myself picked up. I return it to the clerk and tell them that I SAW the letter with stamp, and they get it sent on through.
Might try disputing to see if it helps.
That is good and fine if I saw the mail carrier that took the letter out of my mail box and put the returned letter back in, but many times they don’t use the same mail carrier in my area
PO is a perfect example of wrongheadedness of some in the gop who think they can run a govt agency like a business. Its not supposed to make a profit. Its a cost of govt. to us, period.
Making a govt. entity like a business, is just smoke and mirrors. In fact, its devious because politicians can claim
the saved us money.
Stamps falling off in a machine are crazy-rare. I probably see 3x shredded letters over free floating stamps.
What do fall off all the time and I hate, are self adhering return labels.
I have a friend who's retiring at age 52, after climbing the ranks of public education. Relatively speaking, she has a generous check to look forward to.
She served only one year as a high school principal, therefore her 25 year career is pegged at that top salary.
She was telling me this the other day, and snorted when I said I had 'ten, maybe fifteen years' before I will retire.
"People need to prepare better," she said.
I said, "Considering I'm paying for both of us to retire, how do you expect me to do that?"
She changed the subject.
“Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isnt so.”
A Time for Choosing, Address on behalf of Senator Barry Goldwater,
Rendezvous with Destiny, October 27, 1964
I stand corrected. Thanks for the detail.
As a simple observation of the technology—that stuff is amazing.
...Last year it delivered only 68 billion pieces of mail...
They may be crazy rare in the larger scheme of things, but I’ve caught three in the last several months. I’ve seen a couple that I wasn’t sure that I picked up, and a good number that I know I did NOT pick up. To hazard a guess, I’d say probably two dozen or more returned for postage because the stamp came off in the last year, just on my route.
Actually, I’m not entirely sure if its because the stamp came off. I’ve been seeing a lot of unstamped mail attempting to make it through the system lately, long before it touches the machine.
It may or may not be related to the economy.
>> 46 cents is truly a bargain...compared to hand-carrying a birthday card a few thousand miles to reach a loved one on a special occasion.
yes; hate to bring up a lib comedian but here’s what Jimmy Tingle had to say on a 1988 comedy album: “(all sorts of bad things going on), and in the US the price of a STAMP went up to a quarter! ‘How do they live there? Is there no God!’...I mean a man comes to your house picks up a letter, delivers it 3,000 miles...for twenty...five...cents. You want change? TIP the guy three cents!”
01915= 3 on the upper, 15 on the lower (local area)
15502= 155 on lower
Foreign: 3 on upper, 8 on upper
And so on.
By the way, about 40% of postal workers are Republicans. But even the Dem workers only care about doing their job and going home. Nobody was spying on anybody's mail. Imaging equipment is simply for speed in mailing concerning the address. Nothing else. Nobody cares what's inside the envelope. Unless we suspected some piece of mail, like a parcel, contained dangerous properties, nothing was ever done. Remember, anthrax was sent through the mail as was the Unabomber's bombs.
Well let me identify a problem with your public’s logic. A person doesn’t need to buy a can of soda, but they do need to mail a letter. And as far as the cost of a cup of coffee vs. a gallon of gas, again you have no choice in buying gas if you need to travel. Analogies are great but when you compare things that actually don’t compare they are pointless.
For 75 years? The Post Office is being required to pre-fund benefits for future employees who haven't been born yet.
The point is that all that cash goes into a Federal Pension plan and helps reduce the visible Federal deficit. It's got nothing to do with honest accounting for pension funds, but dishonest accounting to reduce the published deficit numbers.