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Thu Feb 7, 2013, 05:36 AM

Why We Must Rescue the U.S. Postal Service From the Brink of Death

http://www.alternet.org/economy/why-we-must-rescue-us-postal-service-brink-death



***SNIP

Stage 1: Post Office Has a Broad Public Mandate

The first stage began in 1792 when President George Washington signed legislation making the United States Post Office a cabinet-level department. It was a public institution with a clear mandate: to enable universal low-cost access to information. In its early years this led it to initiate free and low-cost delivery of newspapers, and eventually, to offer a special rate for periodicals and books.

***SNIP

Stage 2: Post Office Becomes a Public-Private Institution

But after World War II, the post office’s inability to borrow money and invest long-term coupled with the dramatic increase in the volume of mail put an increasing strain on its system. In 1966 the mail system in Chicago literally collapsed under an avalanche of mail, leading LBJ to appoint a commission to study the future of the post office. The commission’s chairman, retired CEO Frederick R. Kappel, envisioned a more corporatized post office. Indeed, in testimony before Congress Kappel revealed his ultimate goal: “If I could, I’d make (the post office) a private enterprise…and the country would be better off financially. But I can’t get from here to there.”

***SNIP


Stage 3: The Dismantling of the Post Office

The third and current part of the life of the post office began in 2006 with the passage of the misleadingly titled Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.


***SNIP


Where Do We Go From Here?

So here we are, at the end game. Few any longer are even talking about saving the post office as is. Fewer still are talking about resurrecting the post office as an institution with a broad public mission. The debate now focuses on how many parts of the post office we can lop off.

19 replies, 1306 views

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why We Must Rescue the U.S. Postal Service From the Brink of Death (Original post)
xchrom Feb 2013 OP
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #1
xchrom Feb 2013 #2
customerserviceguy Feb 2013 #3
Travis_0004 Feb 2013 #4
phantom power Feb 2013 #8
nadinbrzezinski Feb 2013 #10
abelenkpe Feb 2013 #5
el_bryanto Feb 2013 #6
badtoworse Feb 2013 #7
Dyedinthewoolliberal Feb 2013 #9
FarCenter Feb 2013 #11
nadinbrzezinski Feb 2013 #12
FarCenter Feb 2013 #13
nadinbrzezinski Feb 2013 #14
FarCenter Feb 2013 #16
nadinbrzezinski Feb 2013 #17
FarCenter Feb 2013 #18
nadinbrzezinski Feb 2013 #19
Johonny Feb 2013 #15

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 05:38 AM

1. that's a very informative article.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 05:39 AM

2. i thought so, too. nt

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 07:23 AM

3. Why is it

that when I mention my solution of doubling the price of sending junk mail, all I hear afterwards are crickets?

The USPS has become primarily a distributor of trash, and low prices for shipping forest-raped materials has put the organization where it is today. The first-class stuff is a much lower proportion than it's ever been.

Why not have the advertisers who scattergun litter across the land pay the freight for keeping this dying enterprise alive? They're the prime beneficiaries of its continued existence.

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 07:26 AM

4. I think the post office needs junk mail

The post office has very high fixed cost, and relatively low marginal cost. If they were to double the price of junk mail, the volume would go way down. The marginal cost would go down a bit, but the fixed cost wouldn't change at all, and I think the post office would find themselves deeper in the red then they were before.

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 10:08 AM

8. how much of an increase would be needed to make up the $15 billion shortfall?

I bet you wouldn't need to double it, or even close. But I don't know. And why not raise the price of first class stamp to fifty cents? That's still cheap:





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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 10:31 AM

10. Cause you see Congress has to authorize that

The post office, by law, cannot set postal rates for any mail.

So take that to Congress, who has repeatedly refused to raise any postal rates for mail.

The crickets you hear come straight from the halls of congress.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 08:34 AM

5. K&R nt

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 08:36 AM

6. "a clear mandate: to enable universal low-cost access to information"

In the 21st century isn't the Post Office terrible at this? Why not focus on increasing wi-fi access and internet access in rural and impoverished areas? Wouldn't that do more to help out, if that is the mandate?

Bryant

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 08:39 AM

7. Paper is becoming obsolete as a way to communicate information

That is inevitable and the Post Office will need to adapt.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 10:29 AM

9. the real reason the PO is in financial trouble

has to do with the law passed a few years ago that requires putting money in to future health care/pension funds at an exorbitant rate. No other entity has to do that. Why and how this law got passed is beyond me. Here's a link to that issue:

http://federaldaily.com/articles/2012/06/26/ig-report-says-usps-overpaid-billions-into-pension-funds.aspx

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Response to Dyedinthewoolliberal (Reply #9)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 10:35 AM

11. If they don't prefund the retirees benefits, the retirees won't get them

Since the USPS is gradually shrinking and going out of business as media goes digital, there won't be any future business to pay future benefits.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #11)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:04 AM

12. Tell me, do you need to pay your thirty year fixed

In two years? What other businesses or institutions in the private or public sector have to do this? It was meant to bankrupt the USPS. Just as you having to pay your thirty year fixed in two would destroy you.

Without it, they'd be in the black right now. Are there any other republican talking points, coming in some cases from the office of Daryll Issa, who's gotten a lot of quid from UPS, do you want to repeat?

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #12)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:09 AM

13. If you are not going to have income 15 to 30 years out, you can't get a 30 year fixed mortgage.

So either the employees' future benefits have to be an unfunded liability of the taxpayers or the USPS has to create a fund large enough to pay them. The legislation gave them 10 years to do this by contributing about 5.5 billion per year over a decade where there was still a chance that they could make enough money to do it.

Going forward their situation is going to be progressively worse.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #13)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:20 AM

14. But you are swallowing the RNC talking points whole.




They will, this might come as a shock to you, but the USPS has a growing concern, we call it packages...hmmm who else handles packages at three to five times the rate the USPS charges? Ups and FedEx...coincidence?

And what else do those two want? Mail service, which by law they can't touch.

Of course, there's this pesky constitution

And they would be at the 1.5 B in the black in 2012 if they did not have to prefund this.

Oh and they are forced to prefund for 2006 levels. This might come as a shock to you, but staff level is lower. Just one example, locally, at the plant, we are down from 600 to 400 in just one union. This is a fact nation wide.

So once again, what other GOP sponsored talking points will you use?

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #14)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:57 AM

16. If USPS is charging 1/3 to 1/5 what FedEx and UPS charge, why don't they raise their rates?

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #16)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:58 AM

17. Cause, this might come as another shock to you

Congress needs to authorize those rate raises...

By the way, the mail service controls only the price of packages...they make up the difference in cost in...volume. They are extremely competitive. UPS and FedEx were not happy.

Anyhoo, let's go back to this factoid, no pre funding, they'd be in the black.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #17)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 12:21 PM

18. I checked the rates, and all three came out about the same price

I checked price for 10 and 25 lb packages to a destination about 300 miles away.

The higher prices for UPS and FedEx are for the overnight and other expedited services. Regular service costs are within a couple of dollars, and USPS is not the cheapest.

This is consistent with getting things from online merchants, who use the three services about equally unless you ask for rapid shipment.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #18)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 12:25 PM

19. Yup, why I consistently use USPS since it's cheaper.

It fits, it ships.

Have a good day.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:23 AM

15. The part you know they want is the large 50 billion dollar fund they forced the post office to make

I doubt they seriously every think long term to if a universal working package or mail service is left after they ruin the existing system. They are always in it for short term gain.

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