How the Postal Service Is Being Gutted

The United States Postal Service just announced that it is cutting Saturday delivery in August, moving to a five-day schedule as part of a multiyear effort to reduce costs and remain viable.

That's not the only change coming down in 2013. The USPS will close half of its processing centers, shutter more than 3,000 local branches, and eliminate about one-third of its workforce -- nearly 220,000 employees. It won't surprise you to learn that these moves will slow the delivery of first-class mail (i.e., letters) by one to three days, making citizens less reliant on the postal service and hastening its demise.

Why would the USPS take such radical measures? The simple truth is that the postal service is a fundamentally sound business, though not without its challenges. If you look closely, you'll see a concerted campaign to drive USPS out of business, despite the fact that it operates without government subsidies and, potentially, at a profit. It's being subjected to a politically manufactured crisis in order to ram through drastic change. But without the USPS, citizens will face much higher costs without better service. Below, I outline three common misconceptions about the USPS and explain why they're misleading.

Myth 1: The USPS' losses show that it's not a viable business
In the last decade or so, the USPS has been dogged by two significant changes. The most obvious is the advent of email, which has hurt postal volumes, especially first-class mail. That's a secular change that's not going away, and all the better for the many benefits it provides (spam notwithstanding).

The other change is political and imposes un-needed stress. In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, forcing USPS to pre-fund the present value of 75 years of its pension and health-benefit fund in 10 years -- about $5.5 billion annually for a business mandated to break even.

Listen only to the recent headlines and you might think the USPS is about to drop off the face of the earth. After all, officially it spurted red to the tune of $15.9 billion in 2012. Look closer.

Exactly $11.1 billion of that loss was due to the pre-funding mandate and half of that ($5.5 billion) was deferred from 2011 when the USPS defaulted on its payment in order to fund operations. Below are the official numbers and my adjusted figures accounting for Congress's mandate.

 

2012

2011

2010

Revenue

$65,223

$65,711

$67,052

Operating expenses

$80,964

$70,634

$75,426

Interest expense

$165

$144

$131

Net loss

($15,906)

($5,067)

($8,505)

Adj. operating expenses*

$69,864

$70,634

$69,926

Adj. net loss

($4,641)

($4,923)

($2,874)

Source: USPS. *Subtracts $11.1 billion for 2012 due to delayed funding of 2011's mandate, $0 for 2011, and $5.5 billion for 2010.

The net losses look daunting. But adjust them for pre-funding to see the actual operating situation instead of the deeply red figures hyped by most media outlets.

That 75-year pre-funding mandate adds substantially to the post office's losses. This is a requirement that no other government agency, let alone a private company, must face. In short, the USPS is paying for people who aren't even employees yet -- in fact, may not even be born yet!

And the USPS has been a model for prudent squirreling. As of Feb. 2012, it had more than $326 billion in assets in its retirement fund, good for covering 91% of future pension and health-care liabilities. In fact, on its pensions, the USPS is more than 100% funded, compared to 42% at the government and 80% at the average Fortune 1000 company. In health-care pre-funding, the USPS stands at 49%, which sounds not so good until you understand that the government doesn't pre-fund at all and that just 38% of Fortune 1000 companies do, at just a median 37% rate. The USPS does better than almost everyone.

Pre-funding is a burden that other government-linked firms don't have to face, notably defense companies. Lockheed Martin's (NYSE: LMT  ) pension was underfunded by $13.3 billion as of Aug. 2012 -- nearly half of its market cap. Raytheon's (NYSE: RTN  ) was underfunded by $6 billion, more than one-third of its market cap, and Boeing's (NYSE: BA  ) by $16.6 billion, almost 30%. They have the luxury of profitability and time to fund their obligations. Another advantage: They can invest in a wide range of securities, while the USPS is forced to invest in only government bonds. Yeah, those bonds that, in some cases, pay less than 1% interest. So USPS has to save a lot more money now for the same payout later.

The cuts USPS is being forced to make are like eating dog food when you have a million bucks in the bank.  The pre-funding mandate is completely ridiculous for a business that is mandated to break even.  Where is the surplus cash going to come from, since it’s not from profits? In addition, this mandate forces USPS to cut investments in technology that would increase productivity and competitiveness, making USPS viable longer term. Even Congress is not so dense as not to see that its law creates a crushing burden.

Myth 2. Everyone knows that snail mail is dead, so USPS can't survive
Now, none of this denies that the USPS faces legitimate business challenges. Revenue declined 3% from 2010 to last year, though USPS did hold the line on overall costs. While mail volume has declined with the rise of email, it's still way more than 20 years a go, and certain segments, such as parcels, are actually growing. That fits with anecdotal evidence: Amazon.com and eBay, to name just two, are dead without efficient parcel delivery, but I now receive my bank statements via email.

One potential solution is to raise revenue. Currently, almost all revenue comes from the sale of postage. Why isn't the USPS raising postal rates? Consumers already receive a fabulous deal: Send a letter anywhere in the U.S. for a mere 46 cents. Compare that to European rates near $1 to deliver on the Continent. A back-of-the-envelope (ha!) calculation suggests that to break even USPS would have to raise rates 7% -- not quite 50 cents to send that letter to Hawaii in a few days. Hardly drastic.

Now, admittedly just raising postage is an overly simplistic solution, but it gets to a basic truth: lack of sales. Rates are overseen by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), and prices must not rise faster than inflation. A postage stamp has increased just 12% in six years. That's another way that the USPS's mandate to operate like a business is stymied by overseers. Another major type of mail, bulk rate (ads), receives big discounts in exchange for pre-sorting mail, and could withstand higher postage, since they receive much more value than what USPS saves from pre-sorting. Fix: Allow USPS to price correctly.

Proper pricing is important for a business mandated to deliver everywhere for a fixed price, a burden not faced by private services. Of necessity, many locations, such as rural ones, lose money -- part of the price of a national postal service. Private services can simply leave a location if it's not profitable. In fact, private services rely on USPS to deliver to unprofitable locations for them.

Anything short of a massive rate hike would still give USPS cheaper service than FedEx (NYSE: FDX  ) and UPS (NYSE: UPS  ) . Finding a postage price on their websites is byzantine and opaque. Try it if you've got a half-hour. And if traditional mail is dead, why are FedEx and UPS continuing to do so well?

The short answer is that they can price postage to be profitable (partially why their sites are so complex) and invest in growth areas -- both of which USPS can't do. Whenever USPS tries to enter a new arena, private competitors bleat to Congress. Examples abound: plans to develop an online payment system in 2000 (Internet industry cried foul); public copy machines (office supply stores); in-store sales of phone cards and money transfers; selling postal meter cartridges (Pitney Bowes objected). And, of course, rivals such as UPS complained, ultimately leading Congress in 2006 to restrict USPS to mail delivery.

The effects are huge -- costing USPS billions. And new services, it's estimated, could increase sales by nearly $10 billion annually, potentially covering the earnings gap. But Congress would have to agree to those changes after already tolling the USPS bell. In its latest annual report, USPS begs Congress, in the most obsequious bureaucratese possible, to let it raise revenue. The odds look slim.

Myth 3. Privatized mail delivery would be cheaper and more effective
This myth is often advanced by those who advocate privatizing the postal service, often invoking unions that are strangling the company or an inefficient bureaucracy. But USPS has continued to compete well as a business despite being run ragged by a Congress backed by big money.

USPS has invested heavily in modern systems to speed distribution, and, in fact, has partnerships with FedEx and UPS for "last mile" delivery. In particular, FedEx relies heavily on USPS, which delivered more than 30% of FedEx Ground shipments in 2011. To reframe this, the USPS provides service that is cheaper than what UPS and FedEx can provide for many locations. That's an implicit subsidy.

It's bad enough that USPS is forbidden from entering new markets. When it does well on its home turf, rivals turn to Congress, silencing USPS when it delivers better rates. As economist Dean Baker explains, "About a decade ago, the Postal Service had an extremely effective ad campaign highlighting the fact that its express mail service was just a fraction of the price charged for overnight delivery by UPS and FedEx. [They] went to court to try to stop the ad campaign. When the court told them to get lost, they went to Congress. Their friends in Congress then leaned on the Postal Service and got it to end the ads."

And when USPS tried to take advantage of web shopping? As Elaine Kamarck at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government explains. "But parcel shipments were generated by large organizations and the USPS was not allowed to negotiate discounts and thus lost business. It was forbidden by law from lowering prices to get more business. This resulted in the entirely incredible situation in the 1990s where the United States government negotiated an agreement for the delivery of U.S. government package services with Fed Ex because the USPS was not allowed to negotiate for lower prices!"

So, if USPS is just government bloat, as some ideologues would have it, then why would efficient free market players such as UPS and FedEx resort to the government? Shouldn't they simply compete USPS out of that express business?

This paradox reveals in stark detail the industry's game plan. Compete effectively where possible and then use political power to grab market share from USPS, with the ultimate goal of privatizing the postal system, or at least its profitable parts. This goal is emblematized by the Cato Institute, a Washington think tank founded by Charles Koch advocating the privatization of public services such as the post office. Frederick W. Smith, founder and CEO of FedEx, was on Cato's board, and FedEx funds Cato.

The results of this game plan are well-documented and disastrous for citizens. Want to know what will go down if the postal service is privatized? (Not postage!) Take a look at the 2008 Chicago parking meter fiasco, where the city leased its meters for 75 years to an investor group. The city gave the concession while estimating lifetime revenue at just half what investors expected. Now 2013 marks the fifth year in a row that meter prices have gone up, and Chicago boasts the highest prices in the U.S. The final middle finger: Whenever the city closes streets (as for a parade), it has to pay investors the lost meter revenue.

Expect the same for postage rates and with reduced service.

So I envision two basic ways to privatize the postal service:

  • Full privatization -- a private company swallows the whole enchilada and operates delivery under some kind of regulatory oversight.
  • Partial privatization -- a private company takes over the core infrastructure (a high-value, high-throughput distribution component), leaving less profitable and money-losing components such as labor-intensive physical delivery. This strategy is probably ideal since it privatizes the most profitable parts and sticks less desirable or money-losing bits to citizens.

Both strategies likely result in much higher prices. The first strategy sees the acquirer adding a profit markup, which USPS currently doesn't price for. The second strategy would not allow the USPS to offset less profitable areas with stronger areas, meaning government or citizens would be forced to cough up substantially more money to maintain service, and that's on top of the acquirer's profit markup.

Now whichever strategy is chosen, there are two hidden plums in all this. First, USPS has the largest union in the U.S. For an investor, part of the return on this deal would come from busting the union, lowering wages, and shifting that profit into investors' hands, something Cato already supports highly.

Second, and perhaps sweeter, that well-funded USPS retirement account might be opened for raiding. An acquirer could invest in higher-return securities and adjust their return assumptions (not even unfairly), freeing tens of billions that could then be returned to investors. For context, FedEx and UPS have a combined market cap of $110 billion against nearly $330 billion in USPS retirement assets.

Foolish bottom line
If capitalism is about delivering the best goods and services at the cheapest prices -- and not about plutocrats wringing profits from the rest of us -- then why is the USPS being forced to slowly kill itself?

The privatization of public assets is something we've seen over and over and it rarely, if ever, works for the public. The example of Chicago parking meters is just repeated time and again. With a strong profit motive, private companies are highly incentivized to cut service to the bone and raise revenues as fast as possible. That's not in the interest of good public service, where the origins of the post office are.

Congress created the post office as a cabinet-level office in 1792 under specific Constitutional authority. In the past, its expansion into other services was seen as desirable, for instance in banking, when Congress formed the Postal Savings System. From 1911 to 1967, citizens deposited money at the post office and received interest. In 1970, the post office became the quasi-independent U.S. Postal Service. This move was significant, since USPS became a legal monopoly  and forced it to operate without subsidies (good!), which were 25% of the 1971 budget. It also allowed the USPS to act more business-like, to borrow and invest.

But now especially, Congress, backed by big money sponsors, refuses to let the USPS act as a business. There's no reason, apart from political will, that reasonable changes -- yes, including modest price increases -- couldn't sustain a public postal system even with its significant challenges.

So the next time you hear about the postal service losing billions of dollars or being unable to compete, remember that it doesn't have to be this way.


Read/Post Comments (118) | Recommend This Article (286)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 7:17 PM, waykno wrote:

    Here is the thing that 99% do not know and it is in this article: "Pre-funding is a burden that other government-linked firms don't have to face." This is a principal reason why the USPS is sinking. Private service? All will holler when/if this happens -- don't think so? Try mailing a First Class letter type piece of mail with FedEx now and you will see.

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 7:27 PM, mxlydian wrote:

    I have a small business. I needed to ship a package to England. I took it to a UPS store and they said the most economical way was to use the US Postal Service. The charge was $16.75. I asked for a quote for the UPS price and they printed out s sheet that said $116.00. I didn't look at it until I got home. I thought there must be a mistake. I received the same results online so I called and talked to a UPS rep. He confirmed the price. FedEx online resulted in a similar price. So both private companies will charge me ten times as much as the USPS for the same service.

    I have never had a problem using USPS to ship overseas.

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 7:29 PM, logiet wrote:

    I must respectfully disagree. Government pension funds are usually considered reasonably healthy if they are funded at 80% of liabilities. Congress cuts the Post Office a break by mandating only 75%, at taxpayers' risk if the plan defaults. Even without pre-funding, the Post Office is running at a chronic loss. At this point, I think the Post Office should be put on a shutdown path within 2 years to allow time for other institutions to adjust and to allow private providers to have a target date. There are % funding rules that apply to private companies also. This was an issue with the old GM and Chrysler. The private successors should be free to invest their pensions in equities. But the Post Office is on borrowed time.

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 7:38 PM, smoothboar wrote:

    Who pays the rent for the USPS buildings? who pays the heat, the taxes , the fuel for delivery vehicles, the delivery vehicles themselves and the pension liability for all those retirees? You got that right the US citizens pay it all PLUS. Yet articles written by friends of as this one want you to believe it is a fluke, no taxpayer money pays for the USPS! Come on we are not stupid and you making a story this long and windless shows just that. All you postal people can suck it up and get with the rest of our county learn to eat soup . You are no better than we are yet you think your jobs are not replaceable, you resort to scare lines to grab for one last chance. You are done and you did it to yourself. Poor service, bad attitudes and think you are above the law while delivering mail.We will see you in bankruptcy court!

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 7:40 PM, elway1978 wrote:

    I believe the single most troubling issue is the ridiculous pension benefits that postal employees receive. From the cradle to the grave, postal employees receive benefits that would make an IRS or Department of Revenue agent blush.

    Government benefits are the biggest sinkhole we have going these days. It is nice to provide a comfortable living for a retired person but the pension benefits are far in excess of what you would ever see in the private sector for the 99% of us working stiffs.

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 7:41 PM, thecrawfordz wrote:

    Guess if the USPS is gutted, the overpaid PMG's pay will be greatly reduced along with the many incompetent managers/supervisors. The total workforce, carriers and clerks, will be reduced by 1/6, therefore resulting in the elimation lazy management. Hopefully the reduction will cause havoc with the nepotism that is prevalent and hoistoically a common practice within the organization. The unions will be unhappy, however, the workforce will be relieved of paying high membership dues and welcome some relief from all the harassment that is daily practice. The USPS must take a serious look at hiring customer oriented employees, not pencil pushers who falsify daily reports.

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 7:44 PM, ShahT12 wrote:

    This is plan of politicians to let their private buddies make more money at our cost. Just ask UPS/Fedex to charge 43 cents per envelope and check every raised hand on every post box 5 days a week and see how many years they survive!!

    And this is not only example. Look at health insurance markets where govt run plans are way better but these "best money can buy" politicians want to make money for their political masters. And most of avg public is fed opium that whatever private is always better!!

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 7:44 PM, Jmwood7 wrote:

    Everyone keeps talking about how expensive UPS and FedEx are compared to the USPS... They are more expensive because they are in it for a PROFIT. Anyone with common sense knows it takes more than 20.00 to send something to England from the US... It's not rocket science people.

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 7:52 PM, Freddbe wrote:

    How stupid you have to be to believe this B S cheaper, ya for a week. . We all got cable to get away from the all those ads and look what that got you. Privatize a company you get what the Republican Party wants you to have , that is how they get all those million for there campaign funds , which is really off your backs. The USPS has to pay 75 years of retirement in 10 years, that is the problem. Know other company can do this or has to do this. the Republican Party drop this on them , so they fail and they get it privatize. This is the kind of government you need to worry about because they private business got all the right you lost. Why this country is so blind to this self interest reject party.

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 8:10 PM, fox5247 wrote:

    I work for the postal service, and I think they are trying to put their self out of business. I work in the maintenance dept. at a large processing plant and post office. If every other facility is wasting money the way they are where I work it won't take but a few more years to be completely broke. They consistently hire outside contractors to come in and do work while we stand around and watch them it is ridiculous. I see them schedule overtime for people and let them stand around and do nothing. I could go on and on, but you get the message. I like the money, but I know it can't last.

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 8:15 PM, BIGTHICKNICK wrote:

    fact: usps has over funded its retirement fund by 50 billion.

    fact: the paea requires the postal service to pre-fund health benefits for employees not hired yet.

    fact: no other gov agency pre-funds for employees, especially not ones not even hired.

    fact: retirement for postal employees is based on 1% per year employed.

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 8:21 PM, steinmark58 wrote:

    Great article, what an eye-opener.

    JR, you know your title/position is misspelled on your bio

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 8:30 PM, birdwell69 wrote:

    The problem with the post office is that it is owned and run by the government! They do not know how to be profitable

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 8:36 PM, DirkWiggley wrote:

    The business model of the USPS is not what is killing it, nor is government intervention. The worst problems of the USPS are its management and employees. It is a hopelessly dysfunctional company with a monolithic organization whose departments constantly feud against one another (the management problem). In addition, the employees are completely without motivation and perform at the lowest possible levels (management/employee problem). This organization is the poster child for union reform and I am relatively pro-union myself.

    If you want real insight, try to find some commentaries by former postal workers or contractors who worked for the postal service. It will scare you silly.

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 8:44 PM, raymundo57 wrote:

    Hey bird....the post office WAS profitable until the paea was passed in 2006. Read the article.

    Dirk you hit the nail on the head. I retired last month after 29 years as a window/distribution clerk. The last 5 of which were a complete nightmare due to the issues you pointed out. I am SOOOO glad to be out of there.

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 8:54 PM, sonicstage wrote:

    USPS is as crooekd as they come and they have the nerve to threaten us with saruday delivery bwing cut off along wiht a 5 day a week delivery???? seriously, USPS harbors the laziest, rudest, fattes non hard working american in this country, USPS is good for nothing, who cares just do somehting to subzidize the amount of money that the tax payer has to spend to get horrible customer service, rude carriers and among all, dumb ignorant un educated people running the USPS, close down all USPS stores now.

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 9:04 PM, RMengineer wrote:

    "...then why would efficient free market players such as UPS and FedEx resort to the government? Shouldn't they simply compete USPS out of that express business?"

    I think that this statement is a mischaracterization/misunderstanding of Entrepreneurial Competitive Free Market Capitalism (ECFMC). The issue is this: ECFMC says that business in a ECFMC must "compete USPS out of that express business". That doesn't mean that the *people* running those businesses are somehow magically not express basic human behavior of wanting to exploit any easy out or leverage any possible benefit.

    So, of course the *people* running those businesses are going to do exactly what _normal_ human behavior would have them do.

    But that is the point of ECFMC - *people*/businesses don''t get to have those outs out of competition. It's not ECFMC nor anything to do with ECFMC that people are going still have the basic human desire to to want to circumvent competition. Being a top cyclist dedicated to the sport was not sufficient to magically make Lance Armstrong not want find ways to cheat. What is non-ECFMC would be if *government* gave those businesses what they asked for to circumvent having to compete in ECFMC.

    But this is a key distinction to be made that people misunderstand. People think that ECFMC is supposed to somehow magically alter human behavior and desires. THAT is NOT what it is about nor how or why it works. It works precisely because it presumes that people ARE going to have such basic self-interested motivations but that ECFMC forces people to express such desires only in ways that are _mutually_ beneficial. That is, people acting in in self-interest in a ECFMC environment _can only obtain_ personal gain only when someone else _also_ gains in an exchange. If someone tries to gain personally from an exchange without someone else also gaining, then that other person simply scotches the deal and there is neither gain _nor_ loss by either party. To have a deal not scotched by the other party, something of sufficient value has to be offered to get the other person to _agree_ to the exchange and not scotch the deal. A deal requires _mutual agreement_ to the deal which only occurs when there is _mutual benefit_. If a deal goes down without mutual benefit, that is NOT ECFMC. You can't blame ECFMC for an exchange that did not produce mutual benefits when such a deal is not consistent with ECFMC.

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 9:43 PM, m59ando wrote:

    This is probably the most factual and well-written article about the USPS and the hand-cuffs the Congress puts on them that I have ever read! Bravo to the author and the Motley Fool!!

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 10:21 PM, Sn00zer99 wrote:

    Maybe they could start by not printing a one foot long receipt on expensive thermal paper when a person buys one stamp.

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 10:29 PM, DR201 wrote:

    Great article!

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 10:45 PM, Jmwood7 wrote:

    I just don't see how the postal service has been handcuffed and not able to compete with its competitors. They are cheaper than their competitors but their tracking system stinks, their customer service is horrible... And any person with some sense knows that their shipping rates are too cheap. The competitors charge more for the same service, so this should have people flocking to the USPS, right?... Absolutely not, you pay for what you get and people know that. The postal service cannot be profitable when they can ship a package to England for 16.00.

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 11:02 PM, AnotherBueller wrote:

    To ‘SMOOTHBORE: US citizens pay for everything through POSTAGE.

    Congress doesn’t even pay the USPS for congress’s own mailings.

    To ‘LOGIET’ The USPS retirement is fully funded for all CURRENT employees. NO other business funds for employees that have not be hired yet.

    The % funding rules you refer to are about the 80% of CURRENT retirement liabilities that must be funded.

    To ‘DIRKWIGGLEY’ If you knew the ridiculous micro-management that the USPS practices you would understand why it seems like the employees aren’t very motivated. Its called bad management, people get promoted based on how well they suck up, not how well they perform.

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 11:37 PM, TMFRoyal wrote:

    Hey, Steinmark58,

    Thanks for the heads-up! You know how many times I looked at that page and didn't notice that? About every time I make a trade and report a change in my holdings! That's really incredible.

    Jim

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2013, at 11:51 PM, reader121 wrote:

    So letter volumes have declined, but online shopping actually bloomed. The growth in the new area have gone to private sector FedEx, UPS instead. They give you a date when the package will be delivered. The trouble with the post office is that it should modernize, create standards, not expect less from itself.

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2013, at 12:26 AM, Regale wrote:

    Obama is systematically shutting down free communication...the post office is but a pawn in a terrible political game...

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2013, at 1:45 AM, bloodroot wrote:

    The biggest expense of the post office and tax payers is the Union. Benefits, it is that easy. Cut the benefits and what is being paid out. The private sector has to when there is an issue. The post office needs to do the same. private retirement programs are a risk, so why do taxpayers have to pay for those that choose the funds. FACT: Social security: Cut the payroll tax in half and eliminate the cap(what is paid in). If you make $500K per year you only have to pay the payroll tax on $140K of that income, the rest is exempt. With my proposal Social security would solvent in 3 months and the min benefit would be between $1500-$1800 per month. Any one want to debate the fact.

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2013, at 2:45 AM, bubbajrthesecond wrote:

    Sonicstage- Maybe you should let a second grader proofread your comment before you call anyone "un educated".

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2013, at 6:17 AM, ilivtoliv wrote:

    What? A "defense of the USPS" on the fool.com? Isn't that contrary to foolishness? Union wages and benefits alone justify its demise. Nothing has a greater influence on the cost of postage and the dark red ink this government-sanctioned monopoly bleeds than its employment contracts.

    A fundamentally sound business does not pay its employees and retirees more than its cash collections. The only fundamentally sound businesses today are "at-will" employers. The others exist and thrive under the thumb of government, granting employees the legal authority to dictate the terms of their employment to their employers. It should always baffle the fool that one, despite all the alternatives in the universe, would purposely choose a forced-union company as an investment.

    To assume that FEDEX and UPS are the only prospective competitors that the USPS would face if it weren't a monopoly defies all measure of reason and the lessons of history. When an industry opens to the free marketplace, one never knows what company will make its fortune.

    Finally, the suggestion that any government-affiliated business is gonna be a cheaper, more efficient alternative than private industry (despite the aforementioned employment costs) is just naive and diametrically opposed to the history of American governance.

    I remember when the fool.com website arrived on the internet scene. Articles like this represent an insidious change in the company's constitution toward truth.

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2013, at 6:40 AM, smistik wrote:

    Leave it up to Congress and then see how they screw it up!

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2013, at 6:55 AM, sofiejo wrote:

    Building rent 1500.00 month

    Utilities 287.00 month

    Grounds care 250.00 month

    Postmasters 4500.00 month

    Benefits 650.00 month

    Incidentals 250.00 month

    That adds up to 7437.00 per month. How many of the small town post offices bring that much capital in in 6 months? We are contractors to the USPS. We know as real working class people that in own OUR own business that if something does not make money YOU close that part of the operation. We are not the reason for any loss to the postal service. We have to bid against everyone out there for the route. If You are not the lowest bidder AND have a good delivery record, You do not get the contract. Soon enough WE know WE will get the blame for this. Our workers comp is almost the highest in the nation. Why? Because of the hazards of the job.

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2013, at 7:07 AM, postalworker wrote:

    First of all, the retired postalworker only gets 33%of pay per month. So now if you only worked 26 years of service, you will get only $1,100.00 per month! Now you have to take taxes out, plus we have to pay for our health insurance when u retire at least $ 200.00 to $300.00 per month. state and federal goverment employees get it for free (paid by taxpayers). Second,15 years ago DHL (no longer in the US) had a contract to take the priority mail at Christmas time from the South Hackensack, nj plant. 5 days before Christmas, they sent back 10 tractor trailers, shut down their facility because the couldn't handle it!!! Unless you work the USPS to really know what goes on, it's is easy to sit behind your desks and slam the unknown. Fed Ex and UPS or any other company can never handle what we do everyday and when I retire, I will have earned every dollar !!!!!

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2013, at 7:33 AM, mrpita wrote:

    The Postal service is being gutted like so many businesses in this country.It falls on greed and the ignorant that believe misinformation spewed by paid trolls.Learn to think for yourself and stop the hate for someone who is just trying to make a living.One that may pay better than you have.

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2013, at 9:28 AM, donnzoll wrote:

    Why on earth should we want to hand our USPS over to some middle man to make a buck? Doesn't quality of life and smooth operations mean anything to anyone? It has gotten disgusting the way people won't do anything unless they are making a buck and if they can swindle someone to make more, all the better. I see giving all the US postal addresses to someone other than our USPS is a violation and a compromise of our national security. I don't even like junk mail having my address or politicians. The way businesses change hands these days our worst enemy could buy our post office and have every address in our country. We are seeing a lot of people abandoning their patriotism and integrity for money. We are over run with people that are only in America for the money; they don’t care about the country or its citizens. We have to stand our ground on our national services. Look at what a big mistake it is to have our Federal Reserve privatized. Look at what a big mistake it was to privatize portions of our military. During the last few years, behind our backs, the Federal Reserve gave billions of loans to fat cats. You know how many main street American's could have used some help. Look at how the guns for hire have made more violence since 911; not less. Fighting is big business. The fat cats are the ones that caused our financial crisis and then they were the ones that got saved. Our troops are sent all over the world to do the fighting people won’t do for themselves. At some point we have to start staying home and taking care of our land and our family. Anyone that ever cared about America is dying off. The younger generation doesn’t have loyalty to America their loyalty is with entertainment and partying. I don't want my address sold to North Korea or Iran or Israel or anyone or China. I would like to see so called leaders caring about the country instead of their own pocket book. They sure will try hard to make a dime, but then when it comes to saving things like our USPS they are skill less obstructionist.

    We could expand the use of the post office. We could vote there, we could have thumbprint and retina scanners to create and issue identifications. We could do a lot with our Post Office. Our post office knows where we all are. Who is dismantling America?

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2013, at 9:58 AM, YouNaz wrote:

    The United States Postal System is the best in the

    world, why ruin it because Congress and The USA

    Senate wants to ? The people in Washington do not

    represent the American Public anymore, they are

    money hungry individuals who get the best benefits

    at the USA taxpayer expense. From health benefits,

    pension income and the most paid holidays and vacations. Go figure . Is this right ? No. The American Public should go to Washington and demonstrate all they can until Washington learns its

    lesson. But I doubt they will do it , they are so busy

    trying to make a living , maybe working 2 jobs or go

    thru the trials of life.

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2013, at 10:47 AM, lacytl wrote:

    Great article and very factual. The Postal Service is mandated to provide universal service to all. It does not matter if you live in a large city or in the most remote rural area of the country; the price is the same. This is not true with UPS or FedEX and in some cases, they will not even deliver where you live because it is not profitable. Go ahead and priviatize the USPS and see what happens to the price of a first class letter. UPS and FedEx would not nothing better. They would take the cream off the top and tell the rural folks to stick it.

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2013, at 12:17 PM, donbo883 wrote:

    This is in answer to elway1978...I worked for the USPS for 23 years. My pension is under $1000 a month. After taxes, health insurance premiums and life insurance premiums are deducted, I am left with $530.00 for the whole month. How is this exorbitant?

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2013, at 12:34 PM, hfellows48 wrote:

    Great article. One of the most unbiased analysis of USPS I have yet to read. I have worked USPS for 30 yrs and am now retired. I worked as a rural carrier for 10 years in MA, moved into facilities operation, from there to postal operations and later back to facilities. These jobs took me to 3 different states: MA, TX & NY. Postal service employees represent a big slice of the American pie. It is all there. Meanwhile private interests have lusted after USPS for decades and their paid lobbyists are proving to be successful. Unfortunately the dismantling of USPS will be at the cost of the American public and we won't realize it until it is gone.

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2013, at 1:16 PM, TMFGortok wrote:

    Private companies cannot (by law) deliver First Class mail. Only the USPS can do that.

    To say that the USPS 'competes' with private companies is a misnomer, since it fills a void the other companies (by law) cannot compete with.

    If you believe the USPS is competitive, then repeal the law that doesn't allow UPS or Fedex to deliver first class mail. If they are competitive, they will now doubt prevail in the marketplace, will they not?

    The author also misses a third choice for privatization: Put all USPS offices, distribution centers, etc. up for auction. Whatever company wants them can bid for them. That way, you don't end up with a single giant company taking everything over, you have competitors that take over the profitable pieces of USPS, and letting the others go out of business.

    As far as the 'requirement' that everyone should be able to receive mail no matter the distance at the same price: That's just silly. If I live farther out, and I want to send mail, then it follows that I should pay more for that service. I would pay more to drive to the grocery store, or to have something delivered -- why wouldn't I pay more for a voluntary activity like mail?

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2013, at 1:16 PM, philly98 wrote:

    You are missing the big picture; and, of course, everyone wants to make this a political issues vice an issue of economic reality. I have worked for the post office and believe it is so mismanaged that it has no hope of surviving with or with the forward funding. The facts are, if you are still getting your bank statements via snail mail, vice electronically, you are part of the problem. All mail, except packages will disappear from this planet as soon as the dinosaurs completely die out. When that happens, only packages will be mailed. Rather than accepting this reality, the USPS is fighting to keep competitive in the letter sending business, when, in fact, there is no competitor. It should be realigning itself to the package delivery business to see if it can compete with the private companies. Maybe it can, maybe it can't... but to continue to believe that we will be snail mailing letters forever is the highest form of stupidity.

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2013, at 2:11 PM, Gowithit wrote:

    Republicans like to give our money away to private corporations and claim it's for our own good and capitalism. The defense industry is the most prime example. This myth that these folks will go private and find people willing to do the work cheaper ignores the entire privatization history of our government. It saddens me, especially since all the "constitutional crusaders" on the right are trying to debilitate a Constitutionally mandated organization. And the fun little side benefit all these rural Republicans will realize is that the only reason Fedex and UPS deliver to your out of the way hamlets is because they sub contract out to the USPS to deliver some packages. Little known process.

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2013, at 2:36 PM, TMFGemHunter wrote:

    Great article. I think the Post Office needs to downsize, but the extent of the problem is exaggerated by the pre-funding issue. On the other hand, given the level of pension liabilities and the fact that mail is a declining (or at best, mature) business, I think it is understandable for Congress and citizens to want protection against a default on pension obligations that would stick them on taxpayers.

    So I can see both sides of the issue. However, it's just crazy that rates can't be bumped by 5%-10%, and that the pension fund can't invest in a normal basket of securities. The post office needs to restructure, but in an efficient way. It can't be micromanaged by Congress.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 6:53 AM, catfan4ever wrote:

    Huge pensions and benefits?? Unlike state and local government employees...ALL federal employees hired after 1984 pay into social security for the main portion of their retirement. The employee can also contribute up to 10% of their pay and be matched by another 5% by the federal government for another form of retirement. After the employee retires, they pick up 100% of their individual health insurance cost.

    Get the facts, those lifelong retirements after 20 ...30 years of employment are over in the federal sector of government.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 10:50 AM, metou wrote:

    The only way to save the post office now is to start reducing it service with the post office hiring sub-contractors and farming out its work. It grown into this huge wasteful monster that cant be controlled anymore. When I was a temp their at xmass 15 years ago, they were handing out $10,000 bonuses to crew leaders of 5 xmas help temps that worked 3 weeks, like santa handing out candy canes. The most wasteful thing I ever seen in business. I cant imagine what they were giving the real bosses. Now they have mail carriers starting at $51,000 plus benefits and huge pensions, they need to farm the carrier jobs out by subcontracting people for $29,000 a year and 401k to pick up the mail at the post office already processed and pack and deliver it in thier cars,. Rural carriers already do this and are not paid the big wages, my aunt did a rural route in her car for years before she retired. Reducing the big wages and empolyees who make them and bonuses will save the post office.This will also cut other costs , like the fleet of trucks have all the stuff they have for them, like cutting fuel cost and mechanics etc out of the budget.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 12:21 PM, Elmsta wrote:

    Worked in a processing plant for 10 years. Unbelievable waste, lazy, overpaid, racist people Had to be there to believe it. People bringing pajamas and cots and alarm clocks, sleeping for eight hours, employees clocking in for other employees who never showed up. stupid,incompetent racist "management" Drinking and operating machines all the while everyone including "management" knew People coming in for overtime and either sitting outside or in the cafeteria for hours."management changing certain employees off days in return for favors So really??Stop!! I watched first hand the dramatic decline of first class mail..We do not need junk mail 6 days a week Sorry because I always believed that the carriers were the only postal workers really working and actually earning their pay..So that is the reality of the situation.. Times have changed. The postal service doesn't need three or four people to do a job that only requires 1 person. The rise of technology and incompetence has led to this.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 2:40 PM, Becker2011 wrote:

    Great article James!

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 3:10 PM, Laniel wrote:

    To all of you who call snail mail users stupid: what expectation of privacy do you have for your email?

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 3:26 PM, mdk0611 wrote:

    There were a few good points, but the obvious slant was highlighted by the David Koch mention. I immediately thought of "Young Frankenstein" when Marty Feldman would say "Blucher!" and the horses would winney.

    BYW, that's the same David Koch who donates generously to the Metropolitan Opera and PBS.

    Blucher !!!

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 3:37 PM, XXF wrote:

    Cutting mail delivery from 6 days a week to 5 is incredibly dense as it doesn't address the problem of those high operating costs of delivering mail to every mailbox each day. Instead, keep delivering 6 days a week but deliver to half of houses Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the other half Tuesday, Thrusday and Saturday. You would cut at least 40% of the deliverymen and 40% of the trucks and probably experience some cost savings in sorting and shipping with the built in day lag on the back end.

    There would still be one day and over night options for people who need stuff delivered ASAP but for the vast majority of items sent via snail mail receiving items a day later would have no marginal cost.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 4:19 PM, Darwood11 wrote:

    @postalworker

    "First of all, the retired postalworker only gets 33%of pay per month. So now if you only worked 26 years of service, you will get only $1,100.00 per month!"

    Here's a reality check for you.

    I'm paying, as a small business person, 12.4% to Social Security as a tax. I've been working and paying SS taxes since 1963. I've also been saving via a SEP-IRA and a Roth-IRA.

    I get no government paid and mandated holidays per year. I don't get 3, 4 or more vacation weeks per year.

    Private industry doesn't live by the government mandate. I have to pay my bills each and every month. There is no such thing as "deficit spending" or borrowing from "general revenue."

    I appreciate your dilemma, but there is a price to pay for a government job. Yes, I know, the "Post Office" isn't a government entity. That means, it has to balance its books each year and fund its pension obligations.

    As I said, "Welcome to the real world."

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 4:51 PM, allyismydog wrote:

    Canada has had 5 day postal service for decades....it's not perfect but there usually are not significant delays for 1st class mail.

    We also charge about 2x postage for 1st class mail.

    USPS may become viable by reducing to 5 day service and reducing inefficiency...unfortunately many jobs.

    If US citizens want to maintain such a service they must accept higher taxes...printing money isn't a good solution.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 4:52 PM, xetn wrote:

    In 1844, Lysander Spooner created the American Letter Mail Company because the US postal service was slow and expensive. His company was cheaper and faster. So, the US government mandated a monopoly on first class mail to be exclusive to the US post office. That put Spooner's company out of business.

    So, government monopolies are both slower and more expensive. But in the case of the USPS, they have been running huge deficits for several years. That is one of the reasons that their mail service is so much cheaper than UPS or Fedex, they have a government subsidy (the US taxpayer).

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 4:56 PM, Kerroj wrote:

    Let's clarify this: it's not "Congress" that did this, it's the REPUBLICAN PARTY in the HOUSE that did this!! Let's put the blame squarely on where it REALLY is!!

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 4:59 PM, ziq wrote:

    I'm politically to the left of probably 90% of Fools. But I've yet to hear a good argument why there needs to be a publicly-run postal service. Maybe back in Ben Franklin's day, but not now. Germany farmed out its postal service to DHL and it seems to run fine.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 4:59 PM, mihalikm wrote:

    Clarification is needed here. The USPS is NOT a government agency. It's another one of those quasi-agencies (hmmm, where have we heard that before). It is expected to ACT like a private business but has NO DECISION OVER ITS PRACTICES. The Congress must approve every decision.

    Try being a CEO of your own private business and run it profitably while another non-profit entity tells you what to do and holds you accountable for their decisions.

    The Congress (yes, GOP) mandated this pre-funding for one sole reason: They needed the money to fund the unfunded wars. NONE of those retirement funds are actually there - it's all IOU's.

    For those that really want small gov't. let's start at getting Congress out of the USPS.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 5:06 PM, Perry88 wrote:

    I recently wanted to mail a 15 pound package to a foreign country. The USPS wanted to charge $88. I checked with UPS and DHL and they both wanted $300. Eliminate the competition (USPS) and our cheap rates to send a birthday card or a package will be history.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 5:10 PM, Gary06 wrote:

    mdk0611,

    Your obvious slant was highlighted by the mention of "David Koch" and "obvious slant" in your opening sentence. It would be helpful if you would actually point out the specific problems you had with the points made in the article. I could care less about David Koch's philanthropy.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 5:14 PM, EPMailman wrote:

    @darwood11

    As a Letter Carrier who started working for the Postal Service in 1978 I paid 7% to the Civil Service Retirement (CSRS) fund until I retired. I worked a second job outside the Post Office and paid my employee portion of payroll taxes. I have 22 years of contributions into Social Security but I cannot collect a full Social Security benefit as you can because of the Windfall Elimination Act. My benefit is reduced by 40% because I collect a government pension. Is that fair? As a small business owner you are not limited to a fixed hourly wage. Your income can be as great as you are able to produce. A postal worker has given up the ability to higher renumeration in return for defined benefits. You are also mistaken about its pension obligation. The CSRS and the Federal Employees Retirement (FERS) are over 100% funded. It is the prefunding of future healthcare that has caused the deficit. Your business is able to react to market conditions by raising or lowering prices to gain business, offering additional services or withdrawing from unprofitable enterprises. The Postal Service does not have that luxury. They are required in the Constitution (Article 1, section 8) "To establish Post Offices and post Roads"

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 5:17 PM, clydejazz wrote:

    Great article. Shows how "crony capitalism" is killing this country.

    The worst example is the medical industrial complex,

    which spends 3 times as much on lobbying as the defense contractors and oil companies.

    The Medicare Prescription drug bill passed by the Bush Administration has a clause in it preventing the government from negotiating prices. We taxpayers are required by law to pay whatever the drug company says is the average price for a drug, plus 6%. We pay twice as much for medical care as Europeans or Canadians, and have worse results.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 5:18 PM, Tbenn001 wrote:

    I think the USPS should charge for home delivery. $24/year ($2/month). I'd pay it. If you don't want the home delivery, then get a PO Box and go get your own mail.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 5:18 PM, eltabor wrote:

    Some of you, too many to mention, have not lived in a USPS worker's shoes. It is a thankless job carrying the mail and I treat everyone's mail as well as I would my own. We are micro managed down to the second. I was a carpenter for 20 plus years before I went to work for USPS and nobody in my office is LAZY and I feel offended when someone says otherwise. We have experienced a drop in first class mail, but 2nd, 3rd and parcels have filled the gap in my location. The PMG has no authority to amend the constitution, it takes an act of Congress and we all know they forgot how to do that the last couple of years. The NLRCA has petitioned to have the PMG resign immediately and has, get this, bi-partisan support. As for the comments about rudeness, we at times are so focused on our jobs we may seem rude, when I think I may be guilty I will apologize to the customer when I have time. A lame duck congress in 2006 is the primary culprit of our economic woes. I have seen 100's of new carriers come in and quit in a day or two, saying it is not what they thought it was. To those of you that think we are worthless, try to get invited to an office for a week and most of you won't measure up.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 5:21 PM, eltabor wrote:

    Some of you, too many to mention, have not lived in a USPS worker's shoes. It is a thankless job carrying the mail and I treat everyone's mail as well as I would my own. We are micro managed down to the second. I was a carpenter for 20 plus years before I went to work for USPS and nobody in my office is LAZY and I feel offended when someone says otherwise. We have experienced a drop in first class mail, but 2nd, 3rd and parcels have filled the gap in my location. The PMG has no authority to amend the constitution, it takes an act of Congress and we all know they forgot how to do that the last couple of years. The NLRCA has petitioned to have the PMG resign immediately and has, get this, bi-partisan support. As for the comments about rudeness, we at times are so focused on our jobs we may seem rude, when I think I may be guilty I will apologize to the customer when I have time. A lame duck congress in 2006 is the primary culprit of our economic woes. I have seen 100's of new carriers come in and quit in a day or two, saying it is not what they thought it was. To those of you that think we are worthless, try to get invited to an office for a week and most of you won't measure up.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 5:29 PM, pingjockey1 wrote:

    The reality is mail service for all is much like education. You cannot mandate based on profit. Certain things we have a social contract to provide ALL citizens despite their location. Granted public unions have exacerbated this problem but privatization is a nightmare that has absolutely no solution.

    I live in Chicago and we have privatized many services that cripple our city but King Dick 2 still grabs all sorts of perks from the companies he gave all these contracts to. Yes there is a responsibility to manage these businesses (USPS) properly but the idea that because you live in the toolies you do not deserve to get mail (or any other social contract service) is shortsighted and eventually you will pay. For instance cable services in the contract dense city. There is absolutely no break for running cable to forty people in a single building vs forty people in individual houses. Now try getting a cable company to be "responsible" and do the right thing for the public. Good Luck

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 5:32 PM, CluckChicken wrote:

    I appreciate your dilemma, but there is a price to pay for a government job. Yes, I know, the "Post Office" isn't a government entity. That means, it has to balance its books each year and fund its pension obligations.

    As I said, "Welcome to the real world." - Darwood11

    Sadly the USPS doesn't operate with the same requirements that the "real world" does. If in your business you find that a building is no longer cost effective or large enough or is no longer needed, you can move out, sell it or update as you would see fit. The USPS needs an act of Congress to leave a site.

    USPS does an amazing job given all the stuff that Congress throws at them that the private sector doesn't have to deal with.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 5:37 PM, lmrohde wrote:

    It's a pleasure to read an intelligent well thought out article. Unfortunately, most of the commentary doesn't meet the same standards. Little was mentioned of the third class mail. I receive many more catalogs and other "discounted" mail than first class, measured by pieces. Measured by weight, I would estimate that my third class outweighs first by 20:1. I presume that congress is controlling third class rates and getting enormous pressure from the business community. I have also concluded that catalogs and various types of mailers have been found to be more effective than expecting people to go to the internet and "thumb through" the pages.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 5:51 PM, Quickwhit22 wrote:

    Great article!

    Even though it should be reformed, the USPS is a necessity for a small business. Keep it running!

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 6:06 PM, Mega wrote:

    My biggest problem with the postal service is junk mail. It strikes me as extremely inappropriate that a quasi-government agency is charging below-market rates to their buddies in the junk mail business, to ram unwanted advertising down the public's throat.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 6:24 PM, Chontichajim wrote:

    Most of this article is true, but it does not mention the subsidization urban areas are providing for rural areas. Privatization with regulations that preserve this subsidy will probably be less popular than the current system.

    I wonder how happy rural people will be with higher prices and hefty premiums for weekend delivery or delivery beyond a local PO box. Just having the work done by slender smiling workers is not much consolation if the costs make paper deliveries unaffordable.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 6:55 PM, goldman1000 wrote:

    I'm from Australia, recently in US quite a lot, and used the US Postal Service quite a lot.

    One parcel was quoted at $300 to post back to Australia by private contractor, and US Postal Service cost was just over $100.

    So I love the US Post Office. I found the staff friendly and helpful.

    However, compared to Australia I was amazed to find that, similar to the British postal service, they hadn't changed in 20 years.

    This article explains why. In Australia now a postage stamp is 65 cents. Also you walk into a post office and it's like a department store. You can buy toys, gifts, computer accessories, even telescopes, mobile phones, and so on.

    Now I understand. What a pity the US Postal Service is being ruined by the government, when it could be a vibrant, profitable organisation.

    It's time the US government stopped listening to lobbyists and acted in a way that benefits the country (eg an efficient and profitable, viable postal service) to the benefit of all.

    I used to have friendly jibe at the staff there, saying how much better we were in Australia, but I take the remarks back, now i understand the organisation is forced to work with both hands tied behind its back!!!

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 7:06 PM, eldetorre wrote:

    I am completely amazed yet not surprised by the abject stupidity embodied in many of the comments here. The post office is not subsidized, and hasn't been for years. Yes they get money from the government, mostly in postage processing fees. At what point do you people let the facts speak to you instead of your political dogma?

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 7:13 PM, starfish36 wrote:

    If you have sent mail from abroad, especially first class mail, you know that the USPS rates are a tremendous bargain. You can see from the article that the package rates are also a very good deal compared to UPS or FedEx. There is obviously room to increase the price and still be very competitive. That ought to be done, and US citizens ought to be shown the facts as to European, Canadian and other postal rates, as well as those of FedEx and UPS for packages. The USPS rates are a tremendous bargain that ought not be lost -- by privatization or otherwise. Of course the restraints on the USPS's bidding, some of its pricing and its pension investments should be removed. All of the rants and complaints about the author or his leaning don't matter.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 7:16 PM, Thordog03 wrote:

    Republican Mail Fraud!

    Very informative article. Thank you MFools.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 7:31 PM, frozenfour wrote:

    I was in agreement with your article until I got to your recommendations. You mention two juicy "plums": busting the unions and raiding the pension fund. Talk about middle fingering the people who actually toil for a living, something you in the financial sector know little about. Well, right back at ya.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 7:55 PM, TMFRoyal wrote:

    Hi, frozenfour,

    Those are not my "recommendations". Read closer and it should be clear that I'm not advocating that the unions should be busted and the pension fund raided. I'm saying what I think the private industry would like to do if it had its way.

    Foolish best,

    Jim

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 8:58 PM, bigcg98 wrote:

    Small business owners complain that they don't have the same benefits as Postal workers. Big business execs claim that, as usual, everything should be about profit in their pocket, and to hell with the rest. Average private workers who are being underpaid and offered no benefits complain about the "outrageous pensions" and benefits of Postal employees, because misery loves company, I guess. (even though I know, as a USPS employee for 20 yrs, that our packages are not much different than the modest benefits given to other large private company employees). Former temp workers at the USPS are now bloviating about their expertise concerning the operations of the USPS, when they weren't there long enough to even know how the operation flows and couldn't throw a tray of mail as fast as I could throw 5 trays. Former USPS employees who have, in most cases, been "voluntarily retired" for one reason or another, now return to plunge the knife into the back of the organization whose reputation that they helped to destroy with their behavior ( the only people i know of that would say people at the USPS were drunk, sleeping 8 hrs, cheating the time clock, ect.. are the ones who were doing those things. The rest of us were taking up your slack processing billions of pieces of mail daily until Postal standards tightened and got rid of you.)

    Everyone seems to have a beef. Whats the bottom line? This article cuts through all the BS being spouted by alot of loud-mouthed internet addicts who comment on boards such as these just to hear themselves talk. The problems are enumerated well, and the solutions also. And yet, the general public still thinks that the USPS should be competing with private companies when it is indeed a SERVICE that is mandated to BREAK EVEN, not turn a profit. Remove the requirement for the USPS to function as a cash cow for washington, and we would be pretty close to being there.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 9:06 PM, ynotc wrote:

    Wow! look at all of the feedback on this.

    One question that I have not seen addressed; Where does all of this pre-payment money go and why did congress mandate it?

    Don't count on the fact that it is in a "lockbox". this is just a way for the greed government to get more money quicker.

    Make no mistake, if the governement defaults the government employees including postal workers will not recieve thier pensions let alone those who have not been hired yet.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 9:17 PM, tricktrack wrote:

    @ Chontichajim, I wonder how happy urban people would be if their mass transit systems were funded solely by ridership fees, rather than from gasoline and other taxes paid in part by us rural bumpkins. That's just one example, so please don't act like you urban folk are doing nothing but giving and doing no taking.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 9:47 PM, PlainJane41 wrote:

    This is a great article- very enlightening. I thought I was pretty cognizant of the issues, particularly about pre-funding the pension fund, but I didn't realize that the pre-funding was for FUTURE workers. Thinking that UPS or FedEx or a company not yet in existence could take over that fund and do whatever they wanted with it (fund a CEO's zillion dollar Golden Parachute perchance?) is frightening, but even worse to contemplate is having the federal government take it over! Then, not only would the money be lost, but the taxpayers would still be on the hook for the pensions.

    How would I go about forwarding this article, or at least a link to it, to other people that might be interested in it as well as John McCain and Jeff Flake? When it comes to the Internet, I'm semi-literate at best, so help would be appreciated.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 9:52 PM, rkarim wrote:

    Great article!

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 9:55 PM, bobbodro wrote:

    If they are going to stop one of the days delivery why not Monday?

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 9:59 PM, rdub76 wrote:

    I really wish TMF would stay out of the political game. At least overtly political articles. If a government action or regulation affects a company that they are writing about that is worth mentioning in an article. I come here for sound commentary on companies and stock picks. I have a whole bookmark folder for inane political arguments. That being said I like the convenience of USPS service however I believe in free markets, the real free market, not one where private companies run to congress for favors. I honestly believe that if the postal system were shut down and components and properties sold off at auction and private businesses were allowed to compete in a truly free market we could see similar convenience and cost effective efficiency without arguing about whether a government system is viable and whether or not it is or isn't taxpayer funded.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 10:20 PM, svenghali wrote:

    Someone needs to mention the fact that USPS is shifting towards a temporary workforce. I'm in the carrier craft as a temp and they are looking at a 15% share of temps in the field. I am a temp who receives less pay, no benefits, and no guaranteed work hours. Aside from that I love my job but can you all stop saying, "Where is your uniform? Are you new? Wow must be nice! Pension, benefits, etc." No ma'am/sir I'm just filling in for the regular who called out "sick" enjoying their game of golf today! That's where poor customer service comes into play :)

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 10:59 PM, TMFRoyal wrote:

    Hi, rdub76,

    If one wants to be cynical about this (and there's reason to be), you could well consider this article a stock tip. In other words, I'm telling you that whoever gets the post office's assets (or part of them) is going to get a great deal because "that's how things work" when public assets get privatized. In this sense it's a purely objective point: that's how the system has been shifted to function. So while you may see this as a political article, I think it's of the utmost importance that people see what's actually happening and make a conscious decision to support (or not) the privatization of public assets and services that are provided to them AND not simply be beholden to a suspect "pro-market at all costs" ideology. Part of that process is that the public will pay more and some investors will make a lot of money.

    Foolish best,

    Jim

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2013, at 2:02 AM, edallan wrote:

    Thanks to Mr. Royal for this article. It is sadly ironic that the people most likely to be hurt by the loss of the U.S. Postal Service are the ones who keep electing to Congress sociopaths who have their hearts set on destroying it.

    As noted, how readily could UPS or FedEx or DHL compete -- or ANY company compete -- if it had to set aside now retirement benefits for employees not yet born? And what would happen if insurance companies had to do the same for holders of life insurance or annuity policies?

    Whether consumers actually want them is a different matter. But great numbers of both national businesses and local small businesses consider printed circulars important. On a "charge what the traffic will bear" basis, how much would a private sector delivery service charge to get a supermarket's weekly circulars or a local retailer's seasonal circular to a suburban customer?

    And what would delivery costs be for a magazine subscription to a family living on a farm?

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2013, at 2:46 AM, ibuildthings wrote:

    Thanks for the story. I can't address the personal pressures of employees, or how "bad" the unions are, or the issues with the pension fund. I can say that despite those issues, I find it hard to quarrel when I pay a guy less than a dollar to carry my letter 3000 miles across the country. Dirt cheap.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2013, at 5:18 AM, Holcombe71 wrote:

    Holcombe 71

    I live in the UK, and find it fascinating to watch implementation of your governments polices, Our labour government carved up our postal services, it seem to me that TNT are now the major beneficiaries in the UK.

    Twelve years of Socialist polices have left us virtually bankrupt, its alarming that your president seems to be embracing policies that have failed the UK and Europe.

    Every UK household now contributes $ 2,000 towards state employee pensions, the list is endless.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2013, at 6:14 AM, AyeMu wrote:

    There are commonly known expenses incurred by the USPS that few discussions include. The USPS has been exposed to own some high end homes used to reassign their personnel. The USPS contracts with IBM to monitor their efficiency through a huge network of citizens who do mailings and track daily reporting of mail received.. Both of these programs are examples of additional expense that run counter to their mission and the current dire state of termination of Saturday service.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2013, at 7:50 AM, Davemuse wrote:

    Hi rdub76

    I understand your angst about Mr. Royal's article having a political/ideological tone to it, but the reality is that the USPS is truly caught up in a political/ ideological mess -- much as our nation is terribly polarized on these kinds of issues.

    This article seemed to me the most lucid assessment of the USPS, and where it is headed, that I have read in years. It did, as some readers pointed out, skirt some issues about productivity, but many of those have been lessened by greater use of technology in sorting mail.

    But I really wanted to respond to your plea that we really need to unleash free enterprise and make it work. The problem is that such a concept is most often ABSENT in the world we live in -- save for some small businesses who are in riveting competition where the weak organizations go out of existence. What dominates America today are very large organizations whose main goal is to dominate a market, and thus dictate prices that the rest of us must pay. Mail and package delivery is, as most of the comments certify, is one arena where domination is the goal (maybe to be shared two large giants) along with the ability to charge what the market will bear, and where CEO compensation and stock evaluations benefit immensely. The success of free enterprise appears to end up as monopoly or oligopoly because that's how corporations can maximize profits. And if they have to use government to achieve that goal, well, that is just the price of doing business. As citizens, we just have to live with the result, I guess.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2013, at 8:48 AM, ziq wrote:

    "If one wants to be cynical about this (and there's reason to be)..."

    Really? I'm shocked!

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2013, at 9:53 AM, super1337 wrote:

    "But USPS has continued to compete well as a business despite being run ragged by a Congress backed by big money."

    You must not understand how the USPS works... they don't compete. They have a monopoly status on first class mail granted by the Private Express Statutes.

    "That 75-year pre-funding mandate adds substantially to the post office's losses. This is a requirement that no other government agency, let alone a private company, must face. "

    Yes how ridiculous that a government agency fund actually a promise it is making! It is much more fun to run a ponzi scheme, pretend like everything is rosy, and then decades later come clean and ask for a bailout.

    The reality is that the USPS is declining and will continue to decline -- mail volumes are rapidly falling. New hires will decline and their workforce is relatively elderly and living longer. The ratio of workers to retirees will be completely out of wack soon -- there won't be enough workers paying into the pension and healthcare benefit plans to cover all of the retirees.

    You also mentioned that the USPS operates without government subsidies -- that is disingenuine. The USPS borrows 16 Billions from the US treasury at an interest rate that is unrelated to their risk. Additionally, when this money is not repaid (USPS has already missed payments) the taxpayer will be stuck with a loss.

    What is the difference between a 16 billion dollar taxpayer bailout or a 16 billion dollar loan that never gets repaid? Nothing.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2013, at 10:30 AM, jvgfool wrote:

    My son goes to college in Colorado. I found that FedEx was more expensive and inconvenient than using my local post office. I love the public option. By the way, doesn't FedEx and UPS contract out to the post office for remote small town locations? I read where the post office loses money helping these other companies access these remote locations. This was not mentioned in your article. Very good article though. Thanks.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2013, at 11:33 AM, hbofbyu wrote:

    The only thing besides junk that I have received in by mail in the past 15 years is wedding invitations and Christmas cards. I don't think the general public really cares about the Postal Service as a means for communication anymore.

    I do take advantage of them when I can - it's cheaper to mail my taxes than to file online.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2013, at 12:27 PM, rmarks1 wrote:

    My company ships about 100 parcels a day via USPS from eBay and Amazon sales. Fast, economical, reliable. Friendly, hard working, concerned people at the sub-station where I drop off. From comments, processing centers appear different

    Base rates for FedEx are lower than USPS for our typical 2 pound parcel, but FedEx tacks on about $2 residential fee and another $3 rural delivery fee (many internet orders are for out of the way - rural - places). This makes FedEx more expensive. This emphasizes that the post office exists to connect a country. Very important. Very good reason for government to subsidize.

    Many responders have commented on low international postal rates. Very true, but rates are established by an international commission, not by US. The US portion is based on existing domestic delivery charges to the international sort centers.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2013, at 12:53 PM, Twake4d wrote:

    As long as corp. money flows unchecked to own Congress, this is what happens.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2013, at 2:07 PM, zgriner wrote:

    Aside from the obvious political machinations of being forced to pre-pay their theoretical pension obligations, the USPS needs to be allowed to run as a break-even POSTAL service. Not a one-stop office services organization. That is not it's legal mission. The postal service comes from the Constitution, which was wisely written to enumerate those functions that a national government should undertake.

    Congress treats the USPS like another welfare organization and tells it how to run. There is nothing wrong with the USPS deciding how often to deliver the mail. It's not it's mission to be a Meals on Wheels and visit the homebound. There's no reason for the USPS to have post offices that don't break even. It's not a work project nor is it a senior center. Years ago, when the USPS sold stamps in supermarkets, before e-mail, I took full advantage of it as a convenience.

    And, finally, is there really a need for the USPS in it's current form? No. The USPS has always been about INTER-STATE, universal connectivity, which, 200 years ago, was a postal service. Nowdays, with PDF files, and e-mail, and the Internet, and scanners, and printers, there's no need to physically move paper. Banks have stopped moving checks, real estate companies have stopped moving forms. I'm sure there are many, many other examples. The USPS should be morphed into a last-resort organization, providing that physical connection between people and organizations, when you absolutely, positively need to make sure a physical package can get to a specific spot in the US.

  • Report this Comment On March 08, 2013, at 9:29 AM, ziq wrote:

    One investment consideration is for those who still hold Netflix. They still have many more titles available for shipping via USPS than for streaming. I still get them myself.

  • Report this Comment On March 08, 2013, at 12:58 PM, Lar55 wrote:

    I cannot wait to hear all the screaming when FEDEX or UPS tells you it charges $15 to send a letter if they even deliver to that address.. As of now they are both dependent upon the postal service to deliver millions of pieces. Not to rural areas only but to destinations in major cities like New York. The cost of delivering medications would probably soar.

  • Report this Comment On March 08, 2013, at 1:25 PM, rgperrin wrote:

    Talk about an eye-opening article. . . . This--the situation described--is just plain sad. I never imagined I would feel sorry for the American postal system, but now I do.

  • Report this Comment On March 08, 2013, at 2:08 PM, texac wrote:

    All we really need for Home Delivery is M-W-F; especially in light of $3.50 - $4.00 gasoline. Additionally, about 90% of my mail is 4th class advertizements and catalogs which go into the recycle bin. If the USPS is losing money, why do we subsidize 4th class ?

  • Report this Comment On March 08, 2013, at 3:47 PM, acre222 wrote:

    Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution, known as the Postal Clause or the Postal Power, empowers Congress "To establish Post Offices and post Roads".

    The "Founding Fathers" sure didn't know what they were doing...right?

  • Report this Comment On March 08, 2013, at 5:48 PM, asdfk123 wrote:

    This is such a great article.

  • Report this Comment On March 08, 2013, at 6:02 PM, stevec5792 wrote:

    Great article, Jim!

    @ziq, you have the DHL/Deutsche Post (DP) combination backwards. Deutsche Post is the former German Post Office. They were privatized in the 1990's and given a monopoly on German mail delivery for a specific number of years (10?), which I believe was extended. DP bought DHL to handle international package delivery, then bought Airborne Express to compete in the US and placed it under the DHL umbrella. They also bought other delivery companies of various types and placed them in the DHL business. Today, there is some competition for mail service in Germany, but DP still delivers the lion's share of that mail. They are publicly traded in Germany, ticker DPW.DE. (I am a former employee of DHL US).

    DHL US employees got a very nice discount for shipping for awhile. $5 for a "letter pack" (basically a first-class mailer) or $10 for a "standard size box". This was to any address in the lower 48 states. Notice the "letter pack" was $5? USPS did that for under $4 for everyone. And, you could still use USPS for a single standard box for less, too. The "deal" was $10 for all of your boxes, so if you had 2 or more boxes, it was cheaper for an employee to use DHL. This employee pricing didn't last long, though.

    Many comments about home delivery. Here, we are assigned a mailbox in a gang mail drop location a few blocks from our house. We don't collect it every day, so if it were every 2 days as some have suggested, that would be fine with me.

    If FexEx and UPS could do it better and cheaper, then why does Amazon use USPS for packages? So does NetFlix and many other large shippers. USPS is still the best value for shipping in the world.

  • Report this Comment On March 08, 2013, at 7:19 PM, thedneill wrote:

    There are a lot of Idiots with no clue making comments on here about the article and about the postal service. About half of the comments are constructive and worthwhile while the other half are total BS. Just because you read it, doesn't make it true. This is a comprehensive article. Sure, the postal service has its problems and challenges just like any other entity , but he politicians are stacking the deck against it. You will all be sorry if the post office goes away. Case in point: I sent a 3 oz. letter to Canada via the post office. Cost $16.75. FedEx wanted $48.25. Get ready to pay.

  • Report this Comment On March 08, 2013, at 9:50 PM, tbyrd58 wrote:

    I lived in DC for 6 years and was very close to several postal employees - both field and headquarters. It was always my observations that almost all of the USPS problems is they had a giant committee of 535 idiots running the show. Yes I do mean congress. What private company operates under the rule that they are not allowed to close an office just because it loses money. We live in a fairly rural county and have at least 10 post offices. Neither UPS or Federal Express have even one. This county could easily run on one post office but every time they talk about shutting one down, someone calls their congressman in a fit. Congress appoints a postal rate commission to regulate how much stamp prices can increase which is why stamps go up 1 or 2 cents at a time instead of a sensible 5 cents less often.

  • Report this Comment On March 08, 2013, at 11:46 PM, ChrisBern wrote:

    My question is why are government and quasi-governmental agencies (like the USPS) still paying pensions? I'm 40 years old and have worked in the private sector since I was 15, yet I've never had anyone offer me a pension.

    What's wrong with governmental agencies having defined-contribution retirement plans like almost all private employers have?

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2013, at 7:24 AM, davidatreid wrote:

    I live in Britain and have seen the attacks on the british Post Office which have reduced its profitability and enabled the rise of more expensive commercial operations allowed to cream off more profitable areas.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2013, at 7:27 AM, davidatreid wrote:

    thing seems to be happening in the USA.

    There are many points but I will restrict them to two points :_

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2013, at 7:34 AM, davidatreid wrote:

    The cost of post office services is less than that of commercial services.

    The advantage possessed by the Post office in Parcel Delivery is a local office at which an undelivered parcel ( eg. customer not at home) can be left to be collected.

    Defend your Post Office!

    DavidATReid

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2013, at 6:17 AM, TodaysSpecials wrote:

    To the Author: Why don't you put this info up on Change.org as a petition? Let's get it fixed. Many would sign your petition (I would).

    thanks for the info

  • Report this Comment On March 12, 2013, at 12:40 AM, Teako3 wrote:

    I have read many of the comments here tonight and I am really amazed at the number of tin hat idiots posting things that are total bovine excrement. some are simply anti-union, others anti-postal service, many are anti-government anything, and a number of other such idiots. fortunately, for the rational amongst us there have been some comments demonstrating an actual understanding for what has been happening to the post office. Just because you can just say something that is unsupported certainly doesn't it true. It is very hard to deny that there have been some extraordinarily draconian measures applied to the post office with the only intent being to destroy it. I was raised on a farm in the middle of corn fields in Iowa. The local post office was the a very important connection to the rest of the world for many of my educational activities. The last I heard, there will soon be no post office in town and my 89 year old mother will need to drive on icy roads for over 10 miles next winter. I can personally thank the idiots that seem to be populating this board for this.

  • Report this Comment On March 12, 2013, at 1:00 PM, PondRipples wrote:

    Follow the money - - Just as the Congress gutted Social Security Fund they will eventually cast their greedy eyes to the Post Office Fund - - Our Government is NOT our friend - - It hates the middle class and is out to drive us out of existance one little cut at a time - - Keep an eye on your 401K and IRA's - - If they can get their fingers into that pie they will

  • Report this Comment On March 12, 2013, at 3:57 PM, oshuneer wrote:

    Just as with healthcare, the US (Congress) is simply too stupid or too stubborn to look outside our borders for better ideas. Supposedly "socialist" Europe tackled the Post Office issue years ago by either full or semi-privitazation. Other countries allowed their Post Offices to become more versatile by offering fax, printing, money transfer, basic office supply (boxes and tape) and similar utilitarian services. Our supposedly "capitalist" Congress couldn't get out of its own way and persisted in meddling and turf protection (rural offices and processing centers) and then has the audacity to blame Post Office management.

  • Report this Comment On March 19, 2013, at 10:18 PM, protectiveinclus wrote:

    Choose wisely; your security will be altered; your backup communication ability, in catastrophic moments, will be undeniably afflicted; and resourced to those who don't give a damn about you or your needs...privatize away! Or you could ask your congressperson to make a long overdue decision on making the usps, a continued secure option for all, in this great nation.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2013, at 3:22 PM, hellopaducah wrote:

    There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding about the unions of postal employees. There isn't one monolithic Postal Union. There are actually four postal unions, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, and the American Postal Workers Union. NALC represents urban letter carriers, the NRLC represents rural carriers, the Mail Handlers represent people who handle mail in transit, and the APWU represents clerks, mechanics, and building plant maintenance employees.

    It's also important to note that the Postal Service is an open shop nationwide, even outside the "right to work" states. That means that no postal employee is forced to join the union or pay dues. In fact, the entire federal government is an open shop, and absolutely no federal employee is forced to join a union or pay union dues.

    And a friendly reminder: the Postal Service is funded entirely by its own revenues, with no funding from tax revenue. If you don't want to pay for the USPS, all you have to do is not mail or ship anything with them.

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2013, at 10:01 AM, Bimmer325 wrote:

    I don't understand all the hate. Each individual made the choice to go to work for the PO like any other individual chooses his/her occupation. If things turned out well for them why the hate? Isn't that a good thing" Isn't that what each of you wishes for yourself? The issue isn't what they receive rather it's that YOU want MORE. So go get it and leave them out of the loop.

    Another astounding thing about the hate: For many, many years the Postal Service workforce was made up almost entirely of military veterans. Even today they still represent a significant portion of the whole.

    So let me get this straight: You can't heap enough praise and thanks upon these people much less tell the world how great they are when they stand in the way of danger (and for less money) nor can you let them know how much you despise them when you perceive them as being overpaid and lazy.

    Wow.

  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2013, at 10:07 AM, 3ni278aosdj8hebj wrote:

    When it comes to expensive government subsidized companies, I'll take the post office over the defense industry any day.

    I don't like paying to support someone else's lifestyle, but I know that my postman's paycheck is ending up largely right back in my community. This is preferable to traveling to the other side of the planet to rebuild some third world dustbin, whose people don't appreciate our help anyway.

    So when it comes to griping about the expenditure of tax money - I think it's appropriate to start with KBR/Halliburton.

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 2:09 PM, bigfig94 wrote:

    I am late to the party here and am amazed at the misconceptions being posted. Firstly, not EVERYTHING has to be evaluated as a profit making enterprise. Why does the USPS need to make a profit? Who are the shareholders? How many government agencies need to make a profit? The answers are; it doesn't, there are none and no other agency. Facts are the USPS is a service provided to the American people and businesses as well. The Postal Service provides uniform service at a uniform price throughout the country.

    Lets start from a business perspective. The USPS is one of the best marketing mediums. Companies large and small rely on the mail to carry their marketing messages to existing and potential customers. Many major companies would be in serious financial trouble with direct mail advertising as it is a marketing workhorse.

    From an economic perspective the USPS is the hub of the direct mail industry which employs over 7 million private sector employees and generates over a trillion dollars yearly to the US economy.

    Finally as this article states, the Postal Service is being attacked through legislature to put it in this financial situation. The USPS had not used a dime of taxpayer funding since the Postal Reorganization Act signed by Nixon in 1971. Fact is the Postal Service is a victim of phantom accounting and nothing else. They have cut employee benefits, drove down employee salaries and hired nothing but part time employees paid half the salary and no benefits.

    USPS has overpaid 50-75B into the CSRS pension plan and 6-10B into the FERS pension plan yet cannot get the money refunded by Congress. Without all this legislative interference the USPS would have made 700M last year.

    One final note, whenever the USPS has been profitable Congress has appropriated the profits yet they do not want to assist when times are not so profitable. Lets not forget there are 500,000 families relying on getting a salary for their labors as well. So lets stop with the incessant "business thinking" when it comes to government, they are totally different animals.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2014, at 7:35 PM, ikeyPikey wrote:

    Odd zip codes get delivery Mon-Wed-Fri.

    Even zip codes get delivery Tue-Thu-Sat.

    And be sure to join:

    http://www.postcrossing.com/

    Cheers,

    /s/ ikeyPikey

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2014, at 5:40 PM, HeyThere77 wrote:
Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2292153, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/21/2014 4:10:52 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement