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Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:45 AM

It's not the Internet: The real reason the post office is struggling



http://current.com/groups/news-blog/93753691_its-not-the-internet-the-real-reason-the-post-office-is-struggling.htm

While the postal service may be facing challenges due to the Internet, it's not the only reason the agency is feeling squeezed. In 2006 Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which requires that the Postal Service pre-fund 100 percent of its health benefits for 75 years. Not just that, but the USPS was given only 10 years to accomplish the task. That's something no other organization (public or private) is required to do. Prior to the 2006 act, USPS generated a profit; now, with the additional $5.5 billion a year it must pre-fund, it's facing a budget shortfall.

Not surprisingly, the 2006 legislation was favored by industry lobbyists who wanted to privatize the mail industry. Not only did the bill add the burden of pre-funding benefits, it also made it more difficult to make additional funds, prohibiting the USPS from branching out into non-postal services. Previously, the Postal Service had experimented with offering services like online bill pay, but abandoned those efforts under pressure from Congress. Private companies like FedEx have poured money into lobbying Washington, giving them influence over rules affecting the USPS as well as netting them government contracts.

The argument goes, however, that in the age of email the postal service is a relic, unused and losing money. But the communities hit hardest by closures are rural, where residents may live miles from the nearest town and rely on the postal service for deliveries. In addition, Reuters found that many of those who would be affected by closure live in areas with limited or no broadband Internet connectivity, something the Postal Service did not take into account when reviewing which offices to shutter.

Facing a budget gap, it's easy to understand why the Postal Service is putting the closure of post offices on the table. But the agency is facing a burden unmatched by private competitors. The move fits in with the GOP ideal of privatization but it could also leave millions of Americans with decreased access to mail service. The Senate may have bought some time on post office closures, but it's crucial that people speak out in support of this service that many Americans depend on.



Whether it's the post office, prisons, the military, water or mandates on "health" insurance, the privitization effort all boils down to a deliberate strategy of funneling the peoples' money to the most wealthy and powerful, a new Guilded Age when monopolies and trusts ruled with an iron hand.







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Reply It's not the Internet: The real reason the post office is struggling (Original post)
Uncle Joe Apr 2012 OP
marmar Apr 2012 #1
live love laugh Apr 2012 #49
Brickbat Apr 2012 #2
xchrom Apr 2012 #3
dkf Apr 2012 #4
108vcd Apr 2012 #5
earthside Apr 2012 #6
oldhippydude Apr 2012 #10
seleff Apr 2012 #52
Egalitarian Thug Apr 2012 #7
obxhead Apr 2012 #8
Snake Alchemist Apr 2012 #9
Uncle Joe Apr 2012 #12
Snake Alchemist Apr 2012 #14
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2012 #17
Snake Alchemist Apr 2012 #20
cstanleytech Apr 2012 #27
druidity33 Apr 2012 #34
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2012 #44
yodermon Apr 2012 #24
Snake Alchemist Apr 2012 #26
hay rick Apr 2012 #38
RufusTFirefly Apr 2012 #29
Mister Ed Apr 2012 #40
G_j Apr 2012 #11
malaise Apr 2012 #13
Bigredhunk Apr 2012 #15
sudopod Apr 2012 #16
yurbud Apr 2012 #19
Uncle Joe Apr 2012 #21
summerintx Apr 2012 #50
SalviaBlue Apr 2012 #18
KansDem Apr 2012 #22
hay rick Apr 2012 #39
RainDog Apr 2012 #23
Starry Messenger Apr 2012 #25
RufusTFirefly Apr 2012 #28
Samantha Apr 2012 #30
Uncle Joe Apr 2012 #31
Vehl Apr 2012 #32
zappaman Apr 2012 #33
Zorra Apr 2012 #35
BobbyBoring Apr 2012 #36
sendero Apr 2012 #37
MannyGoldstein Apr 2012 #43
Selatius Apr 2012 #55
Curmudgeoness Apr 2012 #41
senseandsensibility Apr 2012 #42
grahamhgreen Apr 2012 #45
Bozita Apr 2012 #46
Orrex Apr 2012 #47
hay rick Apr 2012 #48
LASlibinSC Apr 2012 #51
Iwillnevergiveup Apr 2012 #53
harmonicon Apr 2012 #54
Uncle Joe Apr 2012 #58
harmonicon Apr 2012 #59
libinnyandia Apr 2012 #56
tooeyeten Apr 2012 #57

Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:46 AM

1. k/r

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Response to marmar (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:44 PM

49. The post office is the largest company in America next to Walmart--and it's a UNIONIZED gov't agency

The UNION is the reason they want to tear it down more than anything. Three unions, NALC, APWU and NPMHU all permeate the agency of more than 500,000 employees.

All of the media hype about the Post office being in trouble is manufactured...Boosh created the trouble. He used postal funds to pay for Iraq which should be illegal.

The Post Office, if left alone is completely self supporting, solvent and does not depend on any tax dollars from the gov't. The gov't. is taking money from the Postal Service to make it fail.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:47 AM

2. K&R for the goddamn truth.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:48 AM

3. Thanks for the thread, Uncle Joe. Nt

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:53 AM

4. And they put the pre-paid funds into the general treasury where it is spent like everything else.

 

That is half the reason they won't get rid of it, less revenue for the government and a larger deficit.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:53 AM

5. messed up

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:58 AM

6. Voter Suppression.

I also think there is another intermediate reason the reactionaries and Repuglicans want to diminish the U.S. Postal Service.

More and more localities and states have moved to mail ballots to reduce costs and, frankly, it improves the efficiency and availability of voting.

Reducing pick-up and delivery, increasing the cost of postage, making the service more unreliable, etc., will all have the effect of making voting more difficult for marginal voters, groups that tend to vote Democratic and/or progressive.

Furthermore, mail ballots provide a paper trail ... something internet voting -- if it ever comes -- will probably not be able to do (and obviously computer voting will mean those with computers and web access will be advantaged).

I want to see Pres. Obama and the Democrats in Congress make a full-throated defense of the Post Office.

Once the Post Office is gone or severely diminished, we'll see just how important this "old technology" actually was ... we lose it at our own peril.

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Response to earthside (Reply #6)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:19 PM

10. actually

while that voting stuff may be true... i think the real motive is much simpler.. the Republican party of today, never saw a government enterprise that they didn't want to privatize.. its sort of a holy grail to them..

likewise the post office is unionized.. the conservative mantra, bust the unions and privatize, much like the have done with the prison system, and are in the process of doing to the schools.. the real truth of the matter is that, even with computers the postal service still is the least expensive and most dependable way to ship in many instances..

the right wingers would love to shift that revenue stream into private hands, with non union labor

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Response to oldhippydude (Reply #10)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 01:40 AM

52. Will the deal include the pre-funded health plan

I can just see a privatization deal coming WITH the pre-funded health plan which the buyers will BAIN-ize, sucking out the cash to pay executive bonuses

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:59 AM

7. Thank you. +1. This is another part of the greatest robbery in history. K&R. n/t

 

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:07 PM

8. Exactly!

Abolish the bullshit 2006 law and you "fix" the USPS.

This entire war is about one thing, bringing the largest union in the US to an end.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:08 PM

9. So the USPS just began losing money in 2006? nt

 

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Response to Snake Alchemist (Reply #9)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:22 PM

12. Personally I don't believe it makes a difference whether they were making a profit or not,

business doesn't have the same fiduciary responsibility as government.

One thing is for certain, paying out the additional 5.5 billion every year doesn't help their profit margin.

I believe there are critical services that government aka; "We the people" should have dominant if not sole domain over, no doubt there are some people that disagree believing that profit should rule all.





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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #12)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:25 PM

14. Yes, but it's a littly silly to suggest that the pension is the main reason the USPS is losing money

 

For example, there was no pension pre-funding from 06/2011 - 11/2011 and the USPS still lost 100's of millions of dollars during that time period.

I agree with your other points.

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Response to Snake Alchemist (Reply #14)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:32 PM

17. 2011 is after 2006

At least in the calendar I still use.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #17)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:33 PM

20. And your point is? nt

 

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Response to Snake Alchemist (Reply #20)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:22 PM

27. there is one key thing both of you seem to be overlooking for what might also be part of the loss.

Gas prices.
What were the differences in prices in 2006 compared to say 2011 also those same gas price increases caused everything to go up in price so what were the differences in prices that the USPS had to pay for things like maintenance on their vehicles as well as repairs to varies facilities and other basic things like office supplies?
If most of those went up after 2006 then ya its gonna cost them more money to keep running.
Anyway I disagree with the OP in that I do believe the Internet has had a negative impact on the USPS however I dont think the answer as some have advocated of taxing emails is a workable solution at all for a number of reasons both privacy related and because it imo would be impossible to enforce especially because there are 3rd party overseas web based mail services.
Solution? To be honest its a tough call, they could raise prices but they can only raise them so much before they start to cut their own throats and people move to other services like fedex, ups, dhl. They could also switch it entirely to just doing letters and farm out the transportation and delivery of packages to the other delivery companies though that would depend of course on if they are losing money or making money in that area.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #27)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 04:22 PM

34. FedEx, UPS and DHL

already farm out their delivery service to the USPS. Most of my packages sent UPS come to me via the USPS. (If they're big, they get left at the Post Office). Without the USPS and the "last mile" delivery scam, FedEx and UPS would lose money in rural areas.



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Response to druidity33 (Reply #34)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 09:43 PM

44. And urban too

Somehow downtown Philly and dwn town San Diego are last mile too.

No, not kidding.

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Response to Snake Alchemist (Reply #14)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:18 PM

24. they didn't pre-fund the pensions from June to November of last year? How did they get around that?

I wasn't aware of this, do you have a link?

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Response to Snake Alchemist (Reply #14)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 06:21 PM

38. You are confusing pension issues with healthcare pre-funding issues.

Pensions are not and never were the cause of the Postal Service's financial predicament. Downthread you cite a Politico article on USPS suspending pension payments. You omitted mentioning the reason for that suspension- a large existing surplus in those accounts. From the article:

"The USPS announced Wednesday that it has informed the federal Office of Personnel Management Wednesday that it will stop contributing its share $115 million every other week for its nearly 563,000 employees to the Federal Employees Retirement System. The service estimated it will save about $800 million for the current fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

The service said it currently has a $6.9 billion surplus in its federal retirement system account."

This is an accounting issue between USPS and various other agencies and Congress.

Unlike most pensions, postal pensions are fully funded (and probably over-funded- the issue being by how much). But the pensions are not supposed to be pre-funded. The pre-funding mandate refers to the pre-funding of healthcare benefits established by the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.




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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #12)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:50 PM

29. Excellent point. Infrastructure rarely makes a profit directly. Nor should it.

And yet its contribution to our overall quality of life is priceless.

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Response to Snake Alchemist (Reply #9)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 07:05 PM

40. According to Thom Hartmann, yes

Driving home this afternoon, I heard Thom on the radio explaining that in the two years prior to 2006, the USPS was so profitable that their biggest challenge was figuring out what to do with the money. He said they'd made plans to use it to convert most of their delivery fleet to electric vehicles. An investment like that might have paid off well in fuel savings over time.

It shouldn't strain anyone's credulity that a mandate to fund employee health benefits seventy-five years in advance would crush the profitability out of any organization or business. Imagine the impact such a legal requirement would have on a large employer like IBM or GE.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:21 PM

11. K&R

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:22 PM

13. One more thing Uncle Joe

This bill was passed during a lame duck session

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:26 PM

15. K&R

Of course truths actually matter very little for the faux news rw bubble crowd. They only know whatever "truths" they're told by the rw talking heads. In this case, the p.o. is having $$ trouble because of overpaid, lazy federal workers who unfairly make more $$ than you.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:27 PM

16. True story.

Also, i never realized that Rockefeller looked like Dale Earnhardt. :3

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Response to sudopod (Reply #16)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:32 PM

19. that's one of the most accurate picture of the relationship between business and government ever

except the politicians should be a little smaller.

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Response to yurbud (Reply #19)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:43 PM

21. That's what Grover Norquist truly means

when he says "Shrink government down to the size that it can be drowned in a bathtub," in effect he's saying to drown "We the People."

?w=604&h=522

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #21)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 12:31 AM

50. Is Grover Norquist part of a sleeper cell?

Norquist's pledge scam has resulted in undermining the financial resources needed to properly fund the activities of our government, leading to financial instability. In particular, defunding education is directly targeting our future innovation and our prosperity which depends on innovation and scientific advances. Maybe Norquist isn't an enemy agent, but the policies he has gotten Republicans to pledge allegiance to are having the same impact as if he is.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:32 PM

18. K&R - Truth

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:49 PM

22. So let me see if I understand this...

In 2006 Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which requires that the Postal Service pre-fund 100 percent of its health benefits for 75 years. Not just that, but the USPS was given only 10 years to accomplish the task. That's something no other organization (public or private) is required to do.

So the UPS is forced into bankruptcy whereby its services are taken up by private companies that will provide little or no health benefits for their employees?

Ironic....

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Response to KansDem (Reply #22)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 06:31 PM

39. Defunding is much, much cheaper than prefunding.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:57 PM

23. Thanks for the post, Uncle Joe

always a pleasure to see you here

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:20 PM

25. k&r

Thank you Uncle Joe.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:39 PM

28. Enthusiastic K and R!!

The lies about the Post Office remind me of the oft-repeated lies about the so-called benefits of the XL pipeline. (There are no long-term benefits. At least not for the U.S. or the planet.)

The echo chamber is just too powerful. People just keep repeating the same talking points over and over without ever questioning their foundation.

And that's just the way that Grover Norquist and his gang of marauding privatizers like it.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:53 PM

30. Thanks for the thread, Uncle Joe

I love the post office and agree special interests have gone that extra mile to turn over the post office to private interests. Slowly but surely, everything in this Country seems for sale now. Verizon even discontinued the WE 61212 and the TI 42525 (weather and time) telephone services which I and thousands of others have accessed for years to quickly learn the weather and time for our areas. The information of course is available on the cable version of the weather station, but only after one wades through the forecasts for surrounding areas. It takes so much longer and of course, with the cable bill, one pays for the information. This was such a small thing to provide these two services, it is unbelievable to me the services after decades would be suspended. And of course, for those living in rural areas who cannot afford cable, what do they do now?

It is time for everyone to take a stand against these takeovers. The economic hit men are now among US, and we need to stop them.

Sam

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 04:14 PM

31. Thanks to everyone that read, posted, recced,

contemplated, meditated, or self-medicated over this thread.

Peace to y'all and have a good weekend.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 04:17 PM

32. Wow! I didnt know about this

Thank you for the thread UncleJoe.

Private corporations are the only ones that stand to gain from the loss of the USPS. The public stands to lose. There is absolutely no way the Private companies will provide the same service for less, compared to the USPS.

K&R

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 04:21 PM

33. And it's the internet. n/t

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 04:26 PM

35. Thanks, Uncle Joe.

I love my little Post Office. The folks who work there are so friendly, helpful and awesome.

At some point we're probably going to have to figure out how to save the PO from privatization by the 1%.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 04:29 PM

36. Here's another little know fact

http://www.uspsoig.gov/foia_files/FF-AR-09-211.pdf

The USPS is sitting on millions of dollars worth of real estate it purchased through it's employee relocation program. I read somewhere that it owns more than a couple $1,000,000.00+ homes through out the U S of A. Like all other home owners, they're screwed on that as well~

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 04:34 PM

37. Ok so why haven't Democrats done..

... anything about this?

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Response to sendero (Reply #37)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 09:31 PM

43. Because it wouldn't be triangulation nt

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Response to sendero (Reply #37)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 05:25 AM

55. When the Democrats took over control of the House and Senate in 2007, they had other priorities.

The war in Iraq was the big one. Also, there wasn't enough votes in the Senate to overcome a certain Republican filibuster of a bill to formally repeal the law.

If the Democrats had actually forced the Republicans to filibuster the bill, they would've at least gotten them on record as being on the dole of special business interests.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 07:40 PM

41. I keep arguing this same point

with all the naysayers who want the post office to fail. I really wish that the Dems would counter this and all other lies more vocally and get the truth out to the masses.

Thanks for the post.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 08:09 PM

42. I have a question for those of you with the stomach to still watch

corporate media. Has this privatization/ prefunding retirement angle been mentioned at all? I heard a report from a kind of funky, semi-liberal commentator on a local radio station today and he was just presenting as fact that the post office is in debt because of mismanagement on its part, and no mention about these other issues.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 10:59 PM

45. The post office should offer email & broadband, w/ privacy protections

All internet activity private without a warrant.

T-mobile was on the chopping block for a mere 20b.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:01 PM

46. Bigtime K&R!

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:09 PM

47. That can't be right

Every single news story I've heard about it begins and ends with the assertion that online bill payment is responsible for the decline in postal revenues.

Surely you're not suggesting that the media have it wrong?!?

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Response to Orrex (Reply #47)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:32 PM

48. Not for nothing but...

advertising matter (bulk mail) accounts for a huge portion of the Postal Service's remaining revenue. If the Postal Service were to fail, those advertising dollars would go someplace else...

Hmm...

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 12:51 AM

51. Gaah!

I feel like an idiot! I had no clue about this 2006 prefunding mandate. My stars what did Congress(?) think was going to happen? Why do I feel like crying?

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 03:26 AM

53. I pay a couple of bills online monthly

but mostly write checks, lick a stamp and stick them in the mail. I especially enjoy sending checks to companies who print on their return envelopes: "Make this your last stamp - pay online!" Phooey! Who doesn't like to get a good old-fashioned letter or birthday card in the mail? Also make it a point to say a kind word to my wonderful letter carriers.

But direct deposit is good.

Great thread - K&R

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 04:27 AM

54. Is this seriously new news to people?

This was a calculation made to destroy the post office. The worst part about it is the selling of the lie that the post office should somehow make a profit or be revenue neutral - this just helps to sell that lie. It's a fucking public service!! We don't expect for roads to make money.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #54)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 01:19 PM

58. How can exposing the calculation to destroy the post office further the lie that

profit should be made, what part of the OP does that?

I would also direct you to my post #12.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #58)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 02:07 PM

59. Sorry - I should have been more clear.

I didn't mean to address your OP, but the change to their accounting as something to sell the idea that profit should be involved. We're certainly in agreement about all of this.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 08:40 AM

56. One of the ironic things about this is the fact that the rural areas, at least in my state, which

would be impacted the most, are overwhelmingly Republican.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 11:06 AM

57. Yell it from the mountain tops!

Maybe the media will hear and report!

the privitization effort all boils down to a deliberate strategy of funneling the peoples' money to the most wealthy and powerful, a new Guilded Age when monopolies and trusts ruled with an iron hand.



So true, the "industrialists" known as "robber barons" amassed their wealth by eliminating all competition. Same story, different day.


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