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The Financial Future Of The USPS  
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19724 posts, RR: 58
Posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 2224 times:

So the Constitution says that Congress has the power to establish a post office and post roads. It does not mandate that the system be self-supporting or profitable.

What I'm wondering is: at what point does having a post office make it worthy of public funding? I think that post offices are very important. The fact that most information has gone electronic has really hurt the volume and the USPS is having trouble keeping up with the change.

Yet it provides an important service. I get a lot of important mail, and I sent a lot of important mail. There are some things that just don't work well electronically. The other thing is that everyone really should have an address. That means that the USPS needs to deliver to some pretty rural communities and, unlike UPS or FedEx, they can't simply not deliver to such locations because it's not profitable.

Times are changing and I think it's unreasonable to expect the USPS to continue to be profitable because it operates on a substantially different mission than the package companies. I think the USPS is going to have to go on the federal budget. Do you?



[Edited 2012-02-18 13:51:19]

59 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineIMissPiedmont From United States of America, joined May 2001, 6294 posts, RR: 33
Reply 1, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 2208 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
unlike UPS or FedEx, they can't simply not deliver to such locations because it's not profitable.

I can't speak for FedEx but UPS delivers to every address in the US. Remote Alaska is done through a contract carrier.

I see one simple solution for the USPS, quit 6 day per week deliveries, close the post office counters on Tuesday and Thursday and change there work rules to more closely match the rest of us.

I just had a lovely argument with a friend of mine who works there and she is still convinced that the USPS is not a government entity despite the buildings and vehicles being federal property, the jobs civil service and the many paid holidays non governmentsal employees don't get.

All in all I think the USPS is a terribly bloated institution that needs to quit whining.



Damn, this website is getting worse daily.
User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8507 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 2186 times:

The USPS needs to cut salaries and benefits, especially the overly generous ones promised to retirees.

User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8544 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 2179 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
I think the USPS is going to have to go on the federal budget. Do you?

I don't think the USPS is insolvent because of any lack of funds. Any given company can't overstaff, overbuild and maintain a middle class lifestyle for everybody from cradle to grave. That's the unreasonable expectation placed on our USPS. I only expect them to deliver mail, not deliver a certain lifestyle and job security to its many workers. Or post offices where they are plainly not needed. Government offices tend to open freely, but rarely close, even when their original purpose is gone. So, they could work on that. It won't permanently cure USPS problems but it might push them back 50 years. We all have similar aspirations and shortfalls.... not just the USPS.

[Edited 2012-02-18 14:38:10]

User currently offlinetrav110 From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 536 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 2160 times:

Quoting IMissPiedmont (Reply 1):
All in all I think the USPS is a terribly bloated institution that needs to quit whining

To be fair, as of 2006 the main reason the USPS is struggling is because it has been required to pre-fund 75% of their healthcare benefits for future retirees, which is a 75 year liability, in the next 10 years. No other agency or corporation is required to do this. It is a truly massive expense for them to pay down, and it threatens the Post Office's future in general. They have every right to "whine".

[Edited 2012-02-18 15:12:01]

User currently offlinephotopilot From Canada, joined Jul 2002, 2744 posts, RR: 18
Reply 5, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2126 times:

Here in Canada, The Canadian Post office (Canada Post) has turned a profit for the last 17 years and our country is even bigger and less populated than the USA. It means Canada Post is modernizing under a program called Postal Transformation. We'll have less people, electronically sorted and sequenced mail so lettercarriers spend more time on-street delivering and less time simply sorting mail. Yes they've only ever had 5-day per week delivery but Canadians have never seemed to find that a problem. Canada Post is "owned" by the Canadian Gov't who is their only stockholder, but in actual fact Canada Post operates as a fully independent company. Canada Post actually RETURNS several hundred million dollars per year in profits to the Canadian Government as their dividend.

Quoting IMissPiedmont (Reply 1):
I can't speak for FedEx but UPS delivers to every address in the US. Remote Alaska is done through a contract carrier.

That's pretty funny actually because the "contract carrier" for the final part of the journey is actually the USPS. Up here in Canada, Canada Post is actually the delivery agent for UPS and even FedEx for the last part of the trip to more remote destinations. How's that for irony?

Quoting Flighty (Reply 3):
I only expect them to deliver mail, not deliver a certain lifestyle and job security to its many workers.

So what are you saying? That anybody that works for the Post Office shouldn't have any expectation of a decent life? Shouldn't be able to raise a family or afford a home? What do you want... a company that only employees poor people with jobs designed to see that they never can survive or get ahead? What an odd concept.

It's really got nothing to do with how much a worker is paid. It's the productivity of that worker, the amount of revenue per employee that is produced and the amount of value derived from that work.
Sure, mail volumes (letters, bills, etc) are falling due to the internet and electronic communications, but where there is loss there is also opportunity. The internet has brough us on-line shopping and a HUGE increase in parcel delivery. The USPS has to fight to capture their share of that market segment at a price/productivity point that makes them competitive with the likes of FedEx, UPS, etc. It's working smarter and creating more value that makes a company survive and be profitable.

Knee-jerk reactions from the uninformed who immediately think of cutting wages and slashing benefits and pensions is nothing more than a person who simply doesn't know how to change and adapt as the market changes. They only know how to cut and not BUILD value and honest wages for their employees. Hell, take a look at the German Post Office... you know, that company called Deutsche Post DHL. They took one country's post office and created a courier company as well and now that's DHL, even larger than FedEx. Of course as mail volumes fell, they could have just cut salaries and benefits and watched their company slowly fade away. Just like Survivor, a company today needs to Outwit, Outplay and Outlast their competition to succeed.

Now.... the only real question is, Can the USPS do this?


User currently offlineltbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13115 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 2073 times:

They just raised basic rates, to $.45 for a standard 1st Class letter and the USPS is looking for $ .50 probably sometime next year. Even at $ .50, that would still be a lot cheaper than postal services of many countries. For some places and point-to-point deliveries, that might be well over enough, but for some isolated areas, it may be more like $4.50 to make that single letter delivery. Perhaps if one is sending a letter to/from an isolated community, they they ought to charge a lot more like $1.00 or $1.50 each.

Quoting trav110 (Reply 4):
To be fair, as of 2006 the main reason the USPS is struggling is because it has been required to pre-fund 75% of their healthcare benefits for future retirees, which is a 75 year liability, in the next 10 years. No other agency or corporation is required to do this. It is a truly massive expense for them to pay down, and it threatens the Post Office's future in general. They have every right to "whine".

And if the politicians were to re-estructure it, it would mean less expected revenue to the government and higher deficits which is totally opposed by many of them.

Many rural and isolated deliver locations are vital as in many of those areas, they do not have high-speed Internet access for residents there or it might cost $100's/month to be able to offer it. In some areas 6 day/week delivery may be vital for medicine, parts for vehicles, or just to pay bills or do banking. In most rural areas, contract workers are used to actually deliver the mail. Some government subsidies may be suitable to allow those families and businesses in them to be able to stay there and not be forced to move.

One proposal by the USPS is to shut down a lot of offices where others are close by, especially in older suburban areas like where I live in Bergen County, NJ. That is very reasonably, they could consolidate several small size towns USPS offices to one in a strip mall, with plenty of parking, more staff, larger facilities, access to public transit and so on.

Perhaps in some small and isolated communities, or even in some urban/suburban areas, the 'village' agent system where the office would be operated by a local agent in a store (like in the old 'general stores' as done until the 1980's) or in a municipal or county building with some regular hours of service when the store or government office is open. Offer package holding services, so if not home when a package comes, it will be secured at the local USPS office and you go to it when you can. Currently that is a weakness for UPS and FedEx, if you are not home, then you may have to go to the 'hub' which can be many miles away or otherwise very inconvenient.

Some other ideas used in some countries: Operate passenger bus service that would deliver passengers along with the mail. Expand offering basic banking services from ATM's to basic checking and savings, pre-paid debit card accounts, check cashing services for a moderate fee to certain amounts and wiring money, as done in some grocery stores, Walmart and other stores. The USPS already offer some banking services, like postal money orders that are a valuable and reasonable priced service for those without bank accounts or don't want to pay the fees for them.

Clearly though, some adjustments as to compensation and benefits must be made. Make all USPS direct employees be in with Social Security and Medicare and pay for it. Shift to 401(k) like retirement savings plans to get the USPS out of the pension business. Contract out more work done in house, move to more part time workers, reduce the number of supervisors and managers.


User currently offlinedfwrevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 977 posts, RR: 51
Reply 7, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 2062 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
So the Constitution says that Congress has the power to establish a post office and post roads. It does not mandate that the system be self-supporting or profitable.

Or that we have to have a post office at all.

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
What I'm wondering is: at what point does having a post office make it worthy of public funding?

We passed that point in early 1990s. The problem is, we are a change-adverse society and it is damn near impossible for some people to envision a future that doesn't include everything that exists today.

Quoting trav110 (Reply 4):
To be fair, as of 2006 the main reason the USPS is struggling is because it has been required to pre-fund 75% of their healthcare benefits for future retirees, which is a 75 year liability, in the next 10 years. No other agency or corporation is required to do this. It is a truly massive expense for them to pay down, and it threatens the Post Office's future in general. They have every right to "whine".

Then they should have no problem being privatized and getting out from under the thumb of Congress entirely.

The company where I work is a case-study in how an organization can turn-around if they are cut lose from a neglectful owner and allowed to have self-determination. We had about 20 years of flat revenues and no growth. We brought in a new leadership team after being split-off in 2004 and have since doubled in revenues. We will double again by 2015. The USPS has enormous advantages they could leverage, but they will never be able to do so as a government enterprise. It would be a win for both sides of the political spectrum if they were privatized and able to make use of those advantages.


User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2047 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
The other thing is that everyone really should have an address. That means that the USPS needs to deliver to some pretty rural communities and, unlike UPS or FedEx, they can't simply not deliver to such locations because it's not profitable.

People would have addresses with or without the USPS. I can't speak for everywhere but at least here in WA addresses are given to you by the County or City Engineering department.

Quoting IMissPiedmont (Reply 1):
I can't speak for FedEx but UPS delivers to every address in the US. Remote Alaska is done through a contract carrier.

To add to that, my mother lives in a very rural part of Alaska. No one gets home delivery, everyone has a PO Box.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlinenws2002 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 897 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2045 times:

I know in my area there are many contract postal units. Not sure exactly how the financial arrangement works, but it makes more sense to me to combine post office functions with tag agencies and banks. The USPS can do the delivery work, but let the counter work be done in mailbox stores and other contract places.

User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8544 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2030 times:

Quoting photopilot (Reply 5):
So what are you saying? That anybody that works for the Post Office shouldn't have any expectation of a decent life? Shouldn't be able to raise a family or afford a home?

Our topic in this thread is not how people should be able afford their favorite lifestyle. The topic is how a sustainable postal system might work. Many people on a.net have participated in reorganizations of large transportation firms. Some of them quite successful. I think it wouldn't be considered an uninformed or inexperienced group here.


User currently offlineKen777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 8278 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2022 times:

Quoting trav110 (Reply 4):
It is a truly massive expense for them to pay down, and it threatens the Post Office's future in general. They have every right to "whine".

There were obviously some politicians who dislike the Post Office, or have contributors who dislike them. The point is pretty simple to me - there are many who want the government to shrink as much as possible, regardless of the costs, and the Post Office is simply one area where jobs can be drastically cut. Regardless of the increases in unemployment (and related government unemployments payments) and regardless of the other costs that we can face.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 3):
I only expect them to deliver mail, not deliver a certain lifestyle and job security to its many workers.

Here we go again - hatred of decent, middle class compensation. Some believe it is far better to return to serf level existence for others so THEY can supposedly have a "richer" life. Reality is simple, the more we diminish the middle class the more we diminish the country.

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 7):
Or that we have to have a post office at all.

While you may believe the US to be some "with it" society, but there is a massive level of demand for postal services in this country. Look at legal documents that have to me physically delivered and certified by the US Government as being delivered. Look at distant (rural) locations that don't have the ease of internet or commercial deliveries.

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 7):
The problem is, we are a change-adverse society and it is damn near impossible for some people to envision a future that doesn't include everything that exists today.

The US is actually pretty aggressive when it comes to change, especially in the area of technology. We have also gone through massive changes moving from rural to urban and suburban shifts.

If you want a real picture of change just look at the iPhone. Huge changes since its introduction, both in the use of smart phones by consumers and also huge changes in competitive products trying to match the iPhone's design.

Then look at how mobile this country is. People move around far more than a change-adverse society would. That's why companies like U-Haul are in business. Looking at the last Directory from our high school reunion there are graduates living all over the country, from New England to Texas to California. And overseas also, Africa to Hong Kong.

What we need to address now is the rip off by the politicians, stripping the Post Office of the ability to operate on a sound financial basis. We need to recognize that the Post Office is part of the US Government. And we need to look at reasonable cost reductions. Dropping Saturday deliveries for normal mail works for me, but shutting offices around the country, especially sorting centers, doesn't make sense. Most importantly, we don't need to cut the Post Office so private delivery companies can make greater profits.


User currently offlinezippyjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 5478 posts, RR: 12
Reply 12, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2020 times:

One of the ways the inefficient USPS is trying to earn money is an exponential increase in resource wasting junk mail. I wish there was a do not send junk mail opt out list. I'd be on this list in a NY. minute! If the USPS eliminates Saturday delivery what will happen whern there is one of those government paid Monday holidays? Will we just have to go from Friday to the following Tuesday to receive those rip off credit card offers and Geico car insurance trash can fillers?

Amazingly back in the day (probably before 1967 or 1968) there was mail delivery twice a day! Even beforer the ascention of UPS, Fed X and the Internet what caused the USPS to become the butt of jokes and tales of going postal?



I'm Zippyjet & I approve of this message!
User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8544 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2003 times:

Quoting zippyjet (Reply 12):
If the USPS eliminates Saturday delivery what will happen whern there is one of those government paid Monday holidays?

Oh, you didn't expect them to work President's day, did you?

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 11):
Here we go again - hatred of decent, middle class compensation. Some believe it is far better to return to serf level existence for others so THEY can supposedly have a "richer" life.

People who actually can keep a sharp budget and run organizations that thrive are the whole reason we're not all hunter gatherers currently. I think sharp business thinking has been good for the middle class, more often than not.

Certainly we are a democracy. Once we convert that into an argument that we should all be guaranteed a level of comfort, in our favorite manner of working, I don't think that is a middle class demand. That's privilege. It involves a rich daddy to pay for somebody's dreams. In any event, the free market depends on a threat of destitution. WIthout that, I'm not sure I would check in at the office very often. Maybe a 2 day workweek...  


User currently offlinePyrex From Portugal, joined Aug 2005, 4022 posts, RR: 28
Reply 14, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 1998 times:

Ah, my favorite topic, the Post Office. If there is one thing I really, really, really, really hate to do is having to even get close to one. Will go without paying my bills if it somehow involves having to go to a post office.

Quoting trav110 (Reply 4):
To be fair, as of 2006 the main reason the USPS is struggling is because it has been required to pre-fund 75% of their healthcare benefits for future retirees, which is a 75 year liability, in the next 10 years.

Which is what every corporation and government agency (not to mention Social Security) should do - not 75% but 100%. You employed someone for a year, you need to put up cash not only for that person's salary but also for the present value of what it costs you to pay that person the promises you made to them in lieu of a higher salary. Not doing so is just kicking the can down the road and creating a GM - way too much room for fudging the numbers. Don't like the discount rate? Tell your buddy Bernanke to stop his war on savers.

Quoting trav110 (Reply 4):
No other agency or corporation is required to do this

Corporations in Brazil are required to have their pension funds 100% funded all the time - I guess the U.S. still has a lot to learn from other countries.

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 6):
For some places and point-to-point deliveries, that might be well over enough, but for some isolated areas, it may be more like $4.50 to make that single letter delivery. Perhaps if one is sending a letter to/from an isolated community, they they ought to charge a lot more like $1.00 or $1.50 each.

That is why you get the problem of adverse selection (which the USPS actually tries to encourage with their stupid "Flat Rate" commercials). There are areas of the country where the mail needs to be delivered by helicopter, and yet a shipment there costs the same than sending a Christmas gift to your neighbor. No wonder there are some areas of the country where it actually pays to have the USPS deliver groceries / etc.

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 6):
In some areas 6 day/week delivery may be vital for medicine, parts for vehicles, or just to pay bills or do banking

It is the same discussion every time the topic of EAS comes up... you want to live in the middle of nowhere? Fine, but don't expect me to pay for it. I have to live in a dirty, crowded city with over-priced real estate that is eating away at my soul to be able to have all the comforts within a few blocks. You want that as well, be prepared to pay $1,000 / sq ft for an apartment and have aggressive jerk-offs as neighbors.

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 7):
The problem is, we are a change-adverse society and it is damn near impossible for some people to envision a future that doesn't include everything that exists today.

Ironically enough, more often than not those people like to call themselves "progressives" (aka, the type of people who would be protesting in front of Henry Ford's factories complaining about the destruction of good, local, organic buggy-whip manufacturing jobs in only they lived in the early 20th century).

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 11):
Here we go again - hatred of decent, middle class compensation

If it is so decent then why does everytime I go to the Postal Office I get the rudest, laziest people I have ever met? Not enough money and benefits, need some more?

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 11):
We need to recognize that the Post Office is part of the US Government. And we need to look at reasonable cost reductions.

Wait, what? Since when can the words "part of the US Government" and "reasonable cost reductions" be uttered together?



Read this very carefully, I shall write this only once!
User currently offlineAirstud From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2670 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 1988 times:

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 14):
If it is so decent then why does everytime I go to the Postal Office I get the rudest, laziest people I have ever met? Not enough money and benefits, need some more?

Because you're going to the wrong Postal Offices.

I've always gotten excellent service...at Back Bay Annex in Boston, at the main downtown Minneapolis PO, at the Rincon Finance Station in San Francisco, that one on Mission Street in Coral Gables (y'all know the one, only I can't think of its Official name).

The only time I've gotten anything approaching rudeitude was at that contract post office in the basement concourse of Two Wachovia Center in Charlotte. Which, as a "contract post office" I guess isn't staffed by actual USPS employees, or what? I do not know how that works. And at all events, the guy wasn't actually rude, he was just groggy. It was between 7am and 8 (I only remember that because I was rushing, I had to meet my co-workers in the lobby of the Hilton by 8am and I got there at like 7:58. Score!   )



Pancakes are delicious.
User currently offlinecabso1 From Canada, joined May 2005, 502 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 7 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 1924 times:

Quoting photopilot (Reply 5):
Here in Canada, The Canadian Post office (Canada Post) has turned a profit for the last 17 years and our country is even bigger and less populated than the USA. It means Canada Post is modernizing under a program called Postal Transformation. We'll have less people, electronically sorted and sequenced mail so lettercarriers spend more time on-street delivering and less time simply sorting mail. Yes they've only ever had 5-day per week delivery but Canadians have never seemed to find that a problem. Canada Post is "owned" by the Canadian Gov't who is their only stockholder, but in actual fact Canada Post operates as a fully independent company. Canada Post actually RETURNS several hundred million dollars per year in profits to the Canadian Government as their dividend.

CanadaPost charges an arm and a leg for the most basic of services, hikes its rates up every six months and takes longer (and is more expensive) to deliver letters from Vancouver to Toronto than a similar service by the USPS. (4 business days for national letters as opposed to two for the USPS).

If the USPS was to offer a stripped down bare bones service and charge more for it, I'm sure it could turn a profit too.


User currently offlineKen777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 8278 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (2 years 7 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1913 times:

Quoting zippyjet (Reply 12):

One of the ways the inefficient USPS is trying to earn money is an exponential increase in resource wasting junk mail.

Funny thing about junk mail - it makes money for those who send it out. Other wise they wouldn't continue spending the money to mail it. That means we have this unexciting flow of business for the Post Office. But it's business and it helps pay the bills.

Quoting zippyjet (Reply 12):
If the USPS eliminates Saturday delivery what will happen whern there is one of those government paid Monday holidays? Will we just have to go from Friday to the following Tuesday

So you miss mail for 3 days. The more the politicians cut various sorting and distribution centers the longer mail will take to arrive anyway, so that 3 days becomes pretty unimportant.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 13):
People who actually can keep a sharp budget and run organizations that thrive are the whole reason we're not all hunter gatherers currently.

Sharp budgets are a pretty queer thing at times. It can mean cutting spending in the short term to make this quarter's numbers, or this years bonus, without regards to long term health of the organization.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 13):
I think sharp business thinking has been good for the middle class, more often than not.

I believe that good business thinking addresses the medium and long term health of the company. Sharp business thinking means moving towards where the customers' needs will be in the future and being ready for them. Apple (my favorite example of a sharp company) has achieved outstanding success by focusing on what the consumer will want to buy in the future. No consumer research needed as consumers don't know what they will want in 2 or 5 years.

then we have the competition who run around trying to catch up with Apple.

Note that I am focused on products and services, not an approach of being obsessive about cutting costs.

Delta was the classic example of obsessive cost cutting. They over cut spending on customer service and got bitch slapped all over the place by their customers - especially the frequent flyer customers. Ended up having to public apologize to the customers as they urgently added personnel and infrastructure to get their standards back up.

So, IMO, "sharp" can many times be the last thing we need in business. My preference is that companies take the medium to long view, take care of customers and grow with a solid workforce that doesn't qualify for government subsidies.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 13):
Once we convert that into an argument that we should all be guaranteed a level of comfort, in our favorite manner of working, I don't think that is a middle class demand.

Where the argument needs to be is on the minimum wage. As long as we allow that minimum wage then we will be spending taxpayer dollars providing government benefits. Food Stamps, Medicaid. You name it and we will be paying it. All because we are bowing down to companies that want to pay out poverty wages. It is corporate welfare and it costs this country a lot.

We really do have a queer setup in some areas. We praise overpriced employer nanny care for some, and praise welfare qualifying wages for others. And we call that "sharp"?

Quoting Flighty (Reply 13):
That's privilege.

The Privilege Class is a bit different than you think. And they are paying out big money to Super Pacs to ensure they keep their privileges.

As for the middle class, that group is shrinking and their buying power if their labors is shrinking. That's the way it will continue until the pendulum swings back at some point in the future.

When you get down to Americans working for the Poast Ofice, the upper class in the US wants to diminish their positions, both in numbers and in compensation, because the Upper Class believes

Quoting Flighty (Reply 13):
It involves a rich daddy to pay for somebody's dreams.

Sorry, but the rich sugar daddy is funding politicians who will cut their taxes, regardless of the costs to the nation.

Just look at the campaigning for this years election. Super Pacs proving that we are moving to a government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.

Big Daddy spending today and making a list of demands for after the election.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 13):
In any event, the free market depends on a threat of destitution

That is exactly the opposite of what a private market depends on. (Free markets don't exist, unless you are talking about the illegal drug market, which operates without government regulations.)

The private markets depend on the optimism of the customer to continually be a customer. Doesn't matter if the customer is a middle class worker or a large corporation the actions of the customer determine the economy's health.

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 14):
Which is what every corporation and government agency (not to mention Social Security) should do - not 75% but 100%

Companies today are not going to pay out their future benefits with today's money. First, the companies can look at governments when determining that it isn't that important. Secondly, corporations have moved pretty far from the concept of giving value to employees. Our obsession with quarterly results and other symptoms of MBAitis have diminished the concept of loyalty to employees (and having that loyalty returned) in Corporate America today.

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 14):
You employed someone for a year, you need to put up cash not only for that person's salary but also for the present value of what it costs you to pay that person the promises you made to them in lieu of a higher salary.

The best this country will be able to do is called Social Security. Employees match employer contributions via FICA payments for both Social Security and Medicare. The financial sector has been drooling for years when they think about taking that money and conservatives are happily supporting the privatizing of that very successful program.

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 14):
I guess the U.S. still has a lot to learn from other countries.

We used to have reputable companies with pension funds, but then the executive levels realized that they could dump those plans and increase their own bonuses. Why fund a program that could cost them on profit related bonuses. So the billions go to the top executives and the working serfs get the shaft.


User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 31
Reply 18, posted (2 years 7 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1896 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
at what point does having a post office make it worthy of public funding?

The ability to provide mail service to every address in the country, every day.

Quoting IMissPiedmont (Reply 1):
I can't speak for FedEx but UPS delivers to every address in the US. Remote Alaska is done through a contract carrier.

Back in the rural reaches of Arkansas, I've seen both FedEx and UPS packages delivered by the US Postal Service. When the volume for an area was very low and the package was not overnight.

But the key item is that while UPS advertises package delivery to every US address, it does not do so, and provide mail pickup every single day. Only on demand.

UPS trucks don't drive the full rural postal carrier routes.

While the USPS definitely has some organizational issues and still needs to trim some fat, I cannot help but believe as long as the USPS is mandated to provide mail service to every address - the deficits will continue.

Daily delivery of bills, letters, etc - is low profit to no profit. While folks want to talk about FedEx and UPS taking the high profit business, a real loss of income for the USPS is advertising material - junk mail. Because of the internet.

I see six post offices in my home county back in Arkansas which cannot be doing $20,000 business yearly with all six combined. Yet they serve about 2,000 addresses every day, with mail carriers driving almost 1,000 miles per day to provide that service.

Consolidating them into one post office in the county seat might save about six salaries. Like that county needs another six people out of work, already running near 20% unemployment. They don't have an illegal immigrant problem because there are no jobs.

Multiply that county by probably some 50 others in Arkansas, 200 in Texas, - say 2,500 across the entire US - you can easily see a billion dollar negative business model.

Do we say the United States is too poor, too backwater a nation to provide mail service to its citizens?

I hope not.


User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8544 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (2 years 7 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 1875 times:

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 18):
While the USPS definitely has some organizational issues and still needs to trim some fat, I cannot help but believe as long as the USPS is mandated to provide mail service to every address - the deficits will continue.

That requirement is nothing new. Why is it suddenly a useful excuse for a handout.. I agree with the above - privatize the USPS. Our govt does not operate the phone companies or the airlines. Postal service is not necessarily a government competency. Anything the government runs will certainly require big infusions of cash, from China, to be paid by my unborn kids. Enough! We ought to slash what the government does by half. Even then, it would be massively bloated, but that would be a start.


User currently offlinemercure1 From French Polynesia, joined Jul 2008, 1489 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (2 years 7 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 1835 times:

Its seems to be the US mail needs to get with the times and do things much of the rest of the world has found was needed.

I'm rather surprised actually that America - the nation of innovation, strong business culture, and desire to do things as efficiently as possible is stuck with a postal service designed for the 1900s still.


Some good comments made above, and I would say the following:
1) Automate to the maximum and reduce need to staff
2) Remaining staff need benefits matching private industry. Postal service should not be a social security work program by the government. In same light employees should not be guaranteed jobs with poor performance. Like private industry, employees need to earn their jobs on daily basis.
3) Eliminate concept that mail is delivered to every door. Instead deliver to centralized call boxes. This can be done in both dense cities where each block might have a large box, but most importantly rural areas where a central box might serve spread out community over many kilometers.
4) Eliminate need for physical offices in many communities. No need to have post office with low usage. Enter into partnerships with private companies to sell things like stamps, or serve as drop off point.
5) Consider post office enter into other fields. For example in many nations post offices now also have successful banking business. Somehow diversify revenue.


As I said before, I am really amazed by the apparent poor state of US postal service. Reminds me of 3rd world nations in Africa or South Asia for example looking at condition of facilities, staff and service.


User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 31
Reply 21, posted (2 years 7 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 1820 times:

Quoting mercure1 (Reply 20):
Enter into partnerships with private companies to sell things like stamps, or serve as drop off point.

In some small communities, like my home town, the post office is the LAST business left in town.

I guess the post office could partner with the school, though the county is trying to consolidate those and shut the one in my home town down.

Quoting mercure1 (Reply 20):
but most importantly rural areas where a central box might serve spread out community over many kilometers.

Please, we are trying to keep my father and most other late eighties and 90 year olds from driving. He scares me when he gets in his car to check his mail at the post office when the weather is not good enough for walking.


User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15745 posts, RR: 27
Reply 22, posted (2 years 7 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 1809 times:

To me the short term solution would be outsource, outsource, outsource. The Postal Service already does so with flights and rail, and there are more than enough decent trucking companies in the country that the USPS doesn't need their own trucks.

And I think they should contract out everything as much as possible: long haul trucks, local deliveries, operating local post offices. Put it all out for open bids and the lowest bidder gets the contract to operate a post office location in a given area, deliver mail in a certain area, etc. Obviously there would need to be accountability mechanisms and if no bids are less than the Postal Service could do the job for themselves they would have to retain the service. But honestly, is there really a need for a given subdivision to have trucks from FedEx, UPS, DHL, and USPS rolling through every day? (All the current delivery companies and new entrants should be eligible) Any reason why there needs to be a UPS Store, FedEx Kinko's, and a post office in the neighborhood?

And I think a lot of post offices should probably be closed too and replaced with a combination of internet services, curbside mailboxes, and possibly contract operated locations. That wouldn't be just rural, a lot of the cuts should be in cities. There isn't any reason why suburban dwellers can't go ten miles instead of five if they really must visit an actual, physical post office that badly.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlinecmf From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (2 years 7 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 1795 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 22):

To me the short term solution would be outsource, outsource, outsource. The Postal Service already does so with flights and rail, and there are more than enough decent trucking companies in the country that the USPS doesn't need their own trucks.

Outsourcing core business is giving away profit. The core of the post is to move things between places. They have more volume than anyone else and thus should be able to do it cheaper (per item) than everyone else. They should be ruthless in optimizing their routes and sorting. Other companies should be outsourcing to them.

If they can't justify operating their own trucks who can? Why they don't operate their own airplanes??? Trains is the only thing that makes sense to outsource and it makes a lot of sense to use it.

I know a lot of people will have problems to accept this but the next step is to remove the offices. There is very little added value in them. Contract with Walgreens, 7-eleven and a few other chains for those few things.


User currently offlinegeezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (2 years 7 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 1764 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 22):
And I think they should contract out everything as much as possible: long haul trucks, local deliveries, operating local post offices. Put it all out for open bids and the lowest bidder gets the contract to operate a post office location in a given area, deliver mail in a certain area, etc. Obviously there would need to be accountability mechanisms and if no bids are less than the Postal Service could do the job for themselves they would have to retain the service. But honestly, is there really a need for a given subdivision to have trucks from FedEx, UPS, DHL, and USPS rolling through every day? (All the current delivery companies and new entrants should be eligible) Any reason why there needs to be a UPS Store, FedEx Kinko's, and a post office in the neighborhood?

I don't know where you live at, but where I live, the Post Office is already contracting out all of it's long haul stuff; has been for many years;

Unlike almost everyone on this thread, I don't know what the answer is, but I think from just reading this thread, if the USPS had anyone with any sense running it, I think they could make enough changes to make it work.
As for "too many Post Offices".......I live in a small village, maybe a couple hundred people; our Post Office has been told that it will likely close sometime this summer; recently, they had a "meeting", where concerned residents could "ask questions"; the woman that the USPS sent out to "conduct" the meeting..........if she's representative of the USPS management, then all I can say is.........goodbye Post Office ! The "person" (calling her a "woman" would be a diservice to women everywhere) anyway, she was A. all wrinkled up; looked like she had spent the night in a back seat, doing what we used to do in back seats when I was "younger", (which has been a while) Also, she was rude, used terrible grammar, and had exactly ONE standard answer for every question asked, which was "I have no answer for that" ! Finally, one old guy stood up, and said, "then just what in the hell did we all waste our time and gas money coming down here for, to hear some wrinkled up floozie tell us every time someone asks a question, that you don't have any answer ? At which point everyone present chuckled ! I think TV Channel 10 in Terre Haute really missed out by not having a camera crew come out to cover that meeting; it would would have been the highest rated news show of the year.

So, I suppose I will be driving to Rosedale (7 miles down the road) about once a week to pick up the "important stuff"; did I mention, we ALSO have daily delivery, 6 days a week, to our box out front on our dirt road, which comes out of Rosedale. Not to mention, Fedex and UPS are on our road EVERY day. And the USPS wonders why it's going broke?
I can tell you one thing.............anyone employing "Miss Wrinkle-Pants" DESERVES to go broke!

In all honesty, I suppose I'm partly to blame for the USPS's problems. We buy more stuff on-line anymore than we do when we go to town; and about 75 % of the time, either Fed Ex or "Buster Brown" delivers it. I have two "front porch dogs.......a half border collie, half coyote mix, and a big old 100 lb black Lab; When the UPS guy stops, it's the highlight of their day.......he always gives them each a big dog biscuit; ( I'm surprised he wastes his dog biscuits on our guys though, because he knows by now that they just love him. )

At the end of the day, the USPS is just like a million other "businesses" that have fallen, or are about to fall by the wayside, because they just can't compete; you can argue all day long about the USPS isn't part of the Government; but it's a joke; not very funny at that; all my life, the Post Office has been "THE PLACE TO WORK"........great security, more paid holidays than anyone (except for members of Congress) Great pay,........hey. who wouldn't want to work there? The problem is, it's all made them a "target"; everyone else is jealous ! When I started driving for union trucking companies in 1956, there were THOUSANDS of union freight companies; last I looked, there are about a dozen left. I always have said, you just can't have two "groups" doing the same thing, and one group making twice as much as the other group; sooner or later something going to give; It looks to me like it is now "later".

Charley



Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
25 Ken777 : The Post Office is doing a reasonable job with product development. My son does a bit of selling on ebay and only uses the Post Office. First the pri
26 PPVRA : Most of what they deliver is sh!t anyways. Subsidized junkmail. Getting rid of the USPS would be an economic and environmental plus. At a minimum, com
27 Post contains links canoecarrier : I don't see a reason why a physical post office location has to be open 6 days a week. I've always thought that in areas where two POs are reasonably
28 mercure1 : It seems to me, that the concept that every address is served by the USPS need to be modified. If people are too isolated, or live in too rural settin
29 Ken777 : The USPS has rural delivery, but they don't drive up to every home. It's not uncommon to see multiple mailboxes at one location, covering those famil
30 Flighty : All government agencies should fully account for their costs on a yearly basis. If it is too expensive, costs should be cut. The government will be a
31 mercure1 : Well if revenue is not the issue then lets focus on the operating cost. For instance, per story I read, over 80% of cost of USPS is employee cost. Hi
32 Ken777 : The political reality is that politicians might require the USPS to pay billions of dollars into funds (basically taking operating revenues from the
33 Post contains links cmf : From where did you get 83k average? Per http://www.fedsdatacenter.com/UspsPayRates/averages_by_state shows it is nowhere close.
34 Post contains links mercure1 : I see. You prefer to take post office, and bury it inside as part of general government service. But to me it seems this will only make financial qui
35 cmf : How do you explain the big discrepancy between this and the public information?
36 PPVRA : Lies, damn lies, and statistics is very likely the source of the difference. I remember the lies of the UAW about how little their workers made back
37 rfields5421 : This is kind of the key question. To most folks on this thread - the US Postal Service should be a business. In competition with others like FedEx an
38 PPVRA : But it's also insane to bury it inside general government services. If you think the USPS financial situation is bad, it would have been magnitudes w
39 mercure1 : I am not sure that politicians voting to change things at post office will be punished. Some voters as seen on this website would welcome change, and
40 Ken777 : Can there be promotion from within? No doubt about that. But you local mailman will not be transferred to a position in the IT Department where he wi
41 cmf : I wish it could explain the number you presented but not even that is enough to bring it to your astronomical number.
42 mercure1 : Well consider average personal income is $27,334 for your American citizen per your census webpage, having mail workers earn average $83,000 or even
43 Ken777 : All that amount shows is that the quality of life in the US is falling. I see no reason working hard to push more Americans down to that level. As I
44 keagkid101 : This is what needs to happen: 1. Cut down benefits for retirees-- make it decent but not extravagant and elegant. This includes cutting down insurance
45 mercure1 : No hatred. They are human like all. However I question wisdom in overpaying for a service provided by low skill/education profession. With US having
46 BMI727 : But they aren't because the costs are too far out of control. The point of the post office is to make sure that mail can get to every address in the
47 Post contains links and images zippyjet : Meet the new and improved USPS where to earn back their solvency they feature "Going Postal weekend/re-enactment retreats!"
48 PPVRA : Oh, but the UAW-GM numbers were off by what, 100%?
49 Ken777 : Retiree benefits have been earned in the area of monthly retirement checks. I have no problem, however, with eliminating the private health insurance
50 Flighty : I suppose we should outlaw low wage jobs in this country... so only affluent people can work?
51 photopilot : Duh.... take a look at the rates. A 1/20 lb envelope from New York to Los Angeles.... The absolute cheapest FedEx rate is $11.87 and that's for a 4 d
52 Post contains images Ken777 : What we should outlaw is the corporate welfare. Set a minimum wage that is above the poverty line, which means that people working don't need food st
53 PPVRA : Give us an example of a country with a minimum wage so high, they don't need safety nets. It doesn't exist, because your argument is completely illog
54 Ken777 : You are talking about two different things. The first is a minimum wage so low that those working a normal work week fail to make a living where safe
55 BMI727 : Welfare is irrelevant. What is relevant is that if minimum wage results in me paying $15 for a meal that used to cost $10 or businesses giving 2/3 of
56 Flighty : Occasionally you hear rhetoric from this or that bargaining unit to the effect of "how can I raise my family and sent my 4 children to college on thi
57 Ken777 : The corporate welfare the taxpayers get stuck with is relevant. Remember that $10 meal was served to you by someone making $2.50 an hour plus the hop
58 PPVRA : Increasing the minimum wage will not reduce welfare - it will increase unemployment, and with it, welfare. In no way are food stamps and the like a f
59 mercure1 : I am quite surprised, that you would happily pay $15 for a $10 meal. Most people (consumers) look to try to get things as discount as possible, not w
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