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GAO: Postal Service business 'not viable'

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Updated 2:55 p.m. ET
Happy Monday! The U.S. Postal Service's current business model "is not viable" and the mail agency should make deeper job and wage cuts, hire more part-time staff and consider outsourcing operations, according to a draft of a government audit acquired by The Federal Eye.

Auditors also urge Congress to remove restrictions on the Postal Service's ability to cut Saturday mail delivery and close post offices, according to the report, which offers recommendations similar to the USPS's own proposed 10-year business plan.

Lawmakers requested the Government Accountability Office report, set for a Monday release, as they prepare to consider the USPS plan, which was introduced last month. The proposals call for an end to six-day delivery and ask Congress to give the mail agency the ability to raise prices beyond the rate of inflation and close post offices if necessary. (The full report is out -- read it here.)

The report's conclusions pleased top postal officials who are gathered this week in Nashville for the annual National Postal Forum, a convention for the mail agency's largest customers.

Postmaster General John E. Potter said Sunday he was pleased with the GAO's general conclusions, but concerned with suggestions in the report that further study of the issue is required.

"We've studied this significantly, the time for study is over, now's the time for action," he said.

Potter and his colleagues estimate the Postal Service will lose a record $7 billion in the fiscal year that ends in September and could lose at least $238 billion in the next decade if Congress fails to act.

Auditors appeared to push beyond the USPS proposal. "If no action is taken, risks of larger USPS losses, rate increases and taxpayer subsides will increase," GAO said.

The Postal Service should provide more lucrative incentive packages to potential retirees to try to accelerate attrition, auditors said. They also recommended USPS consider outsourcing more delivery routes and mail services to contractors and seek concessions on wage and benefits from its labor unions during negotiations later this year.

Lawmakers also should consider establishing a panel similar to the Base Realignment and Closure Commission to independently recommend changes, the report said. Auditors suggested that more details are needed about potential delivery cuts and post office closures.

Most lawmakers and regulators have reacted tepidly to proposed changes. Potter's meetings in Nashville will be mostly with customers who could suffer from proposed cuts and price increases.

GAO concluded that the recession served as the "tipping point" that accelerated a shift away from traditional snail mail for most of the Postal Service's biggest customers, including insurance and banking companies.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who will lead postal reform efforts in the Senate, said that if GAO's conclusions are correct, "it is imperative that Congress, postal management, postal employees, customers and other stakeholders give up on old fights and biases and work together to cut the Postal Service's costs and adjust its operations to meet a changing environment."

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Cabinet and Staff News: President Obama violates longtime press tradition. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Roberts Gates appear together on "Face," "Meet" and "This Week." Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger canceled anti-assassination orders to Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Federal auto safety official set to retire amid Toyoa probe. Dawn Johnsen withdraws her name from consideration to lead the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
Fort Hood suspect to be kept isolated in jail: Maj. Nidal Hasan was airlifted from a San Antonio military hospital to the Bell County Jail on Friday.

As families gather at Dover, efforts to ease pain: The military has embarked on a building surge at this main entry point for the nation’s war dead.

GOVERNMENT WORK/LIFE/OPERATIONS:
Agencies urged to hire more grad students noncompetitively:
A group of public administration schools has proposed largely scrapping the competitive federal hiring process for graduate students in favor of a revitalized internship and apprenticeship program.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:
Federal judge orders release of Guantanamo Bay detainee: U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson ruled the Mauritanian must be released from custody because the government was unable to prove that at the time of his capture he was part of al-Qaeda.

NATIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY ADMINISTRATION:
As U.S. attempted to remove nuclear material from Chile, earthquake struck: While the disaster unfolded, the Energy Department team had packed 39.6 pounds of highly enriched uranium into a shipping container, ready for a secret evacuation by road to a port and then by sea to the United States.

VETERANS AFFAIRS:
Study: Cause of Gulf War syndrome may never be found: As many as 250,000 veterans of the Persian Gulf War "have persistent unexplained medical symptoms" whose cause may never be found, but genetic testing and functional brain imaging may eventually shed some light on the problem.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | April 12, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Oversight  | Tags:  Congress, Government, Gulf War, John E. Potter, Persian Gulf War, Postal Service, Tom Carper, United States, United States Congress, United States Postal Service  
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Comments

What's wrong with subsidies to USPS? Its supposed to be a government service, not a business. Does the Defense Department turn a profit? The state department? Why should the USPS turn a profit? Return it to its original form.

Posted by: fudador | April 12, 2010 6:31 AM | Report abuse

Just outsource the entire postal operation already. The USPS is outdated and 90% of what they deliver goes straight into the trash. This dinosaur should be allowed to go extinct.

Posted by: johnfchick1 | April 12, 2010 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Reasonably fair assessment. What you'll get if they downsize is this: spotty rural delivery. More expensive services to rural customers. Stuff like once-a-week delivery, unless you pay UPS or FedEx.

That won't go over well, and Congress knows that.

Posted by: steveboyington | April 12, 2010 6:38 AM | Report abuse

United Parcel Service got the packages that the post offices used to deliver and for a variety of reasons. They could just as well deliver all the first class mail and do a much better job, I think. Let the postal service keep delivering their mountains of junk mail, they wanted, and gave special discounts too via their bulk rate mailing system.

Posted by: popslinc | April 12, 2010 6:46 AM | Report abuse

The GAO proposals are workable: I would be opposed to outsourcing of USPS work - we have learned that such contracting of other govt work to private companies generally cost's the agency 2 or 3 times as much as with the original company; the cost of contracted work during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has made millions of dollars for the companies with shoddy work, abuse, and less productive results overall. One thing that is badly needed is the buyout or forced retirements of many 'elderly' or long time postal employees who are well past their retirement dates but are hanging on. There should also be a freeze on their benefits if not also wages as both are well above what many professionals or those with higher ranks make. Also delete the Sat service. I would be against hiring of p/t workers - that would only put more unemployed workers on the streets and have p/t workers not receiving any benefits at all. The USPS is not a perfect system, but it is fixable and more effective than often given credit for.

Posted by: davidmswyahoocom | April 12, 2010 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Wait -- is the postal service still in operation? Who knew!?!

But: why?

Posted by: thebump | April 12, 2010 7:01 AM | Report abuse

if sen jim demint and his "free market" loving fellow senators would stop forcing usps to subsidize junk mail with first class revenue and to allow uneeded post offices to be closed the usps would be fine. ups, fed ex, etc. do not want first class if they have to subsidize junk mail. they want to cherry pick like insurance companies want only young healthy adults.

Posted by: george32 | April 12, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

FedEx actually uses the Postal Service to deliver non-overnight packages to the final destination in small towns and rural areas. Apparently they think Postal Service is pretty reliable.

If private companies were require to fund retiree benefits in the same way Postal Service is, they'd be broke too. Without that burden Postal Service makes a small profit.

Posted by: billj1 | April 12, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

The last time I looked the USPS was a government entity - oops, excuse me, a quasi-government entity because sometime back Congress decided it should be "a business". Where in the Constitution does it say that?
Let's go back to letting the USPS do what it was supposed to do under the Constitution and not worry about profits. It is has to be subsidized, so be it. Additionally, if the USPS would stop the bulk mailing subsidies maybe it could make a few bucks anyway and that would be a bene.
As a rural customer, I like getting my mail delivered to my door (literally) and being able to tell my mail carrier that I'm going to away for a few days and to please deliver my mail to Mrs. J. down the road for safekeeping. Can't do that with Fedex or UPS who both, by the way in this location, deliver non-urgent stuff to the PO for final delivery.

Posted by: sandynh | April 12, 2010 7:16 AM | Report abuse

FedEx and UPS use the postal service for delivery of small packages in rural areas because it is more cost effective. It has nothing to do with reliability.

And davidmswyahoocom, a lot of the smaller post offices are already being outsourced and run by contractors, much of the long haul trucking aspects are run by private contractors, not Postal employees. Your assumption that "we have learned that such contracting of other govt work to private companies generally cost's the agency 2 or 3 times as much as with the original company" is also erroneous. The government does NOTHING more efficiently or cost effectively than private companies. Private companies do not get subsidies from the taxpayer when they go, say $8 billion over budget every year to keep their operation going. If they don't make a profit, they go out of business. Economics 101.


The solution for the outrageous deficits the postal service runs is simple and can be summed up in two words:

Privatize it.

Posted by: kavalair | April 12, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Outsourcing operations: Interesting concept. Perhaps a Chinese government or PLA-owned company could pick up the operations, since they increasingly own other businesses in the US. I shudder to think of the consequences. Odd worry? Britain recently had the concern that Germany was handling its own ancient postal service. At least Germany is a democracy.

Posted by: biofuelwatcher | April 12, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

And these are the guys that will be running your health care.

Posted by: dbeins | April 12, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone here REALLY want to tick off a postal worker???

Posted by: glazer68 | April 12, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Next up to fail Health care.

Posted by: Imarkex | April 12, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Why don't they just deliver three days a week? MWF or TThS. They could phase it in with attrition and have the remaining letter carriers cover two routes. If businesses need mail everyday, they could pay for a special delivery service.

Posted by: DGSPAMMAIL | April 12, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Please don't let the USPS hire part-time workers. Every time my local Post Office uses a carrier other than my regular carrier, my mail delivery is screwed up in some way. They deliver my mail to the wrong address or they don't deliver it at all. Same reason for not outsourcing or contracting. Outsourcing also costs more than using government employees. Third, as as least one other reader commented, the USPS is a government service and should not be expected to turn a profit, and should be funded by taxes just as other government agencies are.

Posted by: foofoofoo | April 12, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Look at Postal services around the globe that have turned themselves around. Australia and France are two. Profitable, efficient

Posted by: atidwell | April 12, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

The Department of War, oops, I mean the Department of Defense (of corporate interests) is allowed to operate with stratospheric and unquestioned deficits, but the Postal Service, a government agency that is actually useful to the people, is scrutinized and required to run at a profit.

It is obviously an easy matter to convince Americans to argue and vote against their own interests.

Posted by: geezjan | April 12, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Why not acolumn telling us the salaries of the higher-ups in the USPS? The Postmaster General, for instance? Will his salary be cut or is it the postal worker who sorts the mail, the postal worker who delivers the mail and the other employees who do the behind-the-scenes work?

Perhaps if the service were better (it can take up to 16 days for a package to get to me from a city that is a 4 hour drive away), they would have more business. I don't order plants through the mail now as it takes so long to get them that the plants are dead or half-dead.

Go back to the days of service where we could depend on delivery in a decent length of time.

Posted by: Utahreb | April 12, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

I had to pay thousands to my congressman to keep our post office off the closure list.

Posted by: blasmaic | April 12, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Canada Post (at least in Ontario) seems to run a lot of their operations as kiosk/ retail outlets inside the largest drug store chain there (Shoppers Drug). These are usually minimally staffed, are conveniently located, and, I would assume, much cheaper to run than a large post office. Perhaps that should be the model here, still keeping some regular POs and delivery service.

Posted by: kvs09 | April 12, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

First step is dump the Union. Second is revamp the retirement system. No business can run with the kind of outlays the Post Office has for retirement.

Posted by: bobbo2 | April 12, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

I dont like this because it will screw up my Netflix deliveries.

Posted by: jondercik1 | April 12, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Easy fix (but no political stones to do it) ... lay off one-third of employees, cut mail delivery to 5 days a week, and raise the price of postage a cent or two. How many employees does the USPS have ... 800,000. Are you kidding.

Posted by: RB1019 | April 12, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Congress should let USPS go into the equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy to shed its pension and health care benefits to the retirees and to reset the union contracts with the post office. Then, USPS should hire part-time contract employees with a big reduction in the management ranks. The local post office in urban areas ranks behind the motor vehicle office in terms of efficiency in serving customers waiting in line. Without major reform, we should just pass legislation letting private firms bid on the delivery routes and operation of far fewer post offices.

Posted by: dropusaline | April 12, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Congress should let USPS go into the equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy to shed its pension and health care benefits to the retirees and to reset the union contracts with the post office. Then, USPS should hire part-time contract employees with a big reduction in the management ranks. The local post office in urban areas ranks behind the motor vehicle office in terms of efficiency in serving customers waiting in line. Without major reform, we should just pass legislation letting private firms bid on the delivery routes and operation of far fewer post offices.

Posted by: dropusaline | April 12, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

The post office is a harbinger of Obamacare. Can you imagine nurses going postal?

Posted by: cpameetingbook | April 12, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

I run a small home based business and use the USPS to deliver all my orders. I have never had a problem and have found that it's way cheaper and faster to use priority mail than UPS. I also live in a rural area and have very limited access to UPS.

UPS and FedX have been able to pick and choose where they deliver. USPS does not have that ability. They deliver to everyone.

As to length of delivery? We still have baby chicks, bees, etc. delivered via USPS with no problems. And I've had no problem with plants either.

I'd much rather see my tax money go the postal service than the military-industrial-congressional complex.

Posted by: calico2 | April 12, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

kavalair wrote, "The government does NOTHING more efficiently or cost effectively than private companies." You have obviously never been involved with government contracting. Go read some GAO and IG reports and watch how much contractors have fleeced the public for their actions. Once the contracts have been eliminated and taken over by government workers, the costs of the various programs are reduced.

Forced outsourcing does not work. Targeted outsourcing does. Businesses do that, why can't the government. What the USPS needs is for congress to remove the shakles to allow it to make better business decisions and then hire a turnaround specialist--someone like "Chainsaw" Al Dunlap but without the accounting scandals!

Posted by: Scott76 | April 12, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

A blind man could see what's wrong with USPS if he could see the junk "business" advertisement mail that goes straight into the circular file -- all subsidized through higher rates for legitimate mail.

Posted by: Judelbug | April 12, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

This idea that the U.S. Postal Service is supposed to make a profit is nonsense.

Here's a clue for the increasingly clueless: The U.S. Government is not a corporation. It is not SUPPOSED to be a profit-making entity, in whole or in part. Our mail service is SUPPOSED to be subsidized out of the general fund, and affordable for mailing and receiving PERSONAL mail, with such personal mail, not corporate junk, the priority.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | April 12, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Excellent idea but let's get rid of other government services that don't turn a profit.

Did you ever wonder how anyone in their right mind (right as a political tendency) could stomach the non profitable use of tax dollars to build roads and bridges that people use for free? And what about so-called public sidewalks? The worst thing about all this is that folks who don't pay taxes use these services. I've seen those cars with Maryland license plates here in the Commonhwealth driving on our streets. Or shudder cars with those Diplomatic license plates. Foreigners driving on our streets, walking on our sidewalks. For free. That just can't be right. Can it?

And those public schools and public libraries? Which also don't turn a profit. If you want to read, teach yourself and write your own damm book.

And don't get me started on free police and fire services. Why do I have to pay for your carelessness with matches or your failure to have your firearm at hand to repel criminals?

And the Department of Defense. If you want a war, call up your own well regulated militia, buy your own airplane tickets and invade. And why is someone imposing their decision about who to attack on me?? And making me pay for it? What if I think Canada or Maryland is a greater danger than Iran? I haven't seen any Iranian cars on our precious roads here in the Commonwwealth. But I've seen many Marylanders here.

I don't want some pointy headed federal bureaucrat in Washington imposing his or her pet war ideas on me. I want freed om of choice. War Vouchers. So I can vote with my feet if I don't like their idea of war. Our country was built on freedom of choice. Back when this great nation was founded, each locality chose whether it wanted to participate in a war. That's the original intent of the Founders.

Posted by: R49Thomas | April 12, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

CAN'T WAIT FOR OBAMACARE TO KICK IN WITH ALL IT'S SAVINGS, RIGHT DEMOCRATS?

THE POST OFFICE MODEL SURE BODES WELL FOR OBAMACARE BANKRUPTING AMERICA.

OBAMA.....YOU JUST CAN'T POLISH A T-U-R-D.

Posted by: charlietuna6661 | April 12, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

"They also recommended USPS consider outsourcing more delivery routes and mail services to contractors" -- The fairfax county outsourced contractors to remove the snow last winter. The snow was not removed for days, the bus routes and drive ways were blocked with snow. Outsourcing of the USPS is a very BAD idea!!!

Posted by: elhaver | April 12, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

What a surprise! USPS is just another bloated Gov't organization controlled by the unions. Bet you can't name one Gov't enterprise that runs a surplus!!!!

Posted by: Jimbo77 | April 12, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

"United Parcel Service got the packages that the post offices used to deliver and for a variety of reasons. They could just as well deliver all the first class mail and do a much better job, I think"

Thinks again. For all of the talk, you can bet that UPS and FedEx really don't want first class, especially if the price is regulated.

While email has become more reliable, it isn't an end all. There are certain documents I wouldn't want sent via email. Though probably rare, email is susceptible to interception, non-delivery, and fraud.

The other side of the equation is jobs. With the economy just coming out of the toilet, we want to dump thousands of good paying jobs?

Posted by: BEEPEE | April 12, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

I prefer to use FedEx. They are three times slower and five times more expensive than the USPS.

Posted by: Maddogg | April 12, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Cut the deadwood, like rural delivery.

@Jimbo: Since when are all gov't services supposed to be run for profit? When did you change the law?

You want to abolish the DEA and FBI if they don't turn a profit?

PS: THe IRS collects more in taxes than it receives from Congress.

There you are, buddy.

Posted by: Garak | April 12, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Whaddya expect?! For years, the postal service has given deep discounts to junk mail mailers, while sticking the average Joe with paying full freight. So our mailboxes get stuffed full of useless crap, our first class mail gets delayed because of all the congestion caused by the junk, and the postal service grows and grows, sucking even more money out of the treasury. This is what happens when the government in bed with business. What an e_f_fing mess!

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | April 12, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Job cuts??? arent we constantly told that due to the evil unions that postal workers can never be fired??

Posted by: gonville1 | April 12, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Potter seems to be the problem at USPS. He should be booted.

Posted by: truth1 | April 12, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

There is just no need to privatize the postal service. The Post Office deserves direct subsidy because it provides direct service. Doing things to diminish the postal service is just a thinly veiled ploy to provide government assistance to private services including UPS and FEDEX. Remember how those private companies just jumped to it when the Feds asked them to screen suspicious packages voluntarily, to thwart terrorist plots, and no such packages were ever found. Imagine private businesses thinking they were assisting the FBI and CIA, without even waiting to be asked. I once had a package I was sending to Montreal delayed for two weeks while one of those companies investigated it, I think because my uniquely american name sounded foreign to someone. Who can one complain to about something like that, a private company secretly violating ones right to privacy. It would be like expecting the internet service providers to safeguard freedom of speech by implementing internal company policies. We'll have our mail service being outsourced to company divisions in other countries, maybe for sorting. We can pay for mail service, just like we pay for the health care of the senate and congress and president. Some things are worth the money, and other things are not, right.

Posted by: drray | April 12, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse


Gee I now feel so good that the Government will be deciding what is ‘fair’ and ‘proper’ Health Care for me and my family (that I will be forced to purchase from some private Insurance Company).


Oh well, I guess those evil rich people are an unlimited source of money that can pay for the wonderful Obama Zoo that we are all being forced to live in.


Zoo live, plantation life, what can be better! Thank you Mr. President and your Democratic lackeys.

Posted by: bcarte1 | April 12, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Article I Section 8. We have to have some form of post office. However, the advent of the internet and UPS and FedEx is killing the post office. All that junk mail we used to complain about was what kept the postal service viable.

Posted by: John1263 | April 12, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

But hey, Congress can run the health care industry, right? No worries. Health care is NO WAY NEAR as complex as moving a letter from point A to point B. Right? Sorry, I'm trying to "think" like a "progressive," but it just keeps not making sense to me. Maybe "think" isn't the correct word.

Posted by: srpatterso | April 12, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

The revenue problems of the postal service are due to many factors, primarily unrelated to its efficiency.

As to government "running" your health care. Get a grip. The health law just passed creates RULES under which PRIVATE insurers provide coverage. NOT a government program, which would be far more efficient.

Posted by: John1263 | April 12, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

To all your right wing, anti-environmental, anti-lower health care, pro-global warming Sarah Palin loving ret@rds who keep trying to compare the USPS to health care - here's a novel idea - shut the helll up. You b#tch and moan about government this and goverment that. So are you complaining about our Armed Forces? Didnt think so. And guess what - they are a completely subsidized government agency that works just fine. So stick it up where Rush Limbaughs sun dont shine you republican m@rons.

Posted by: KevinDunne | April 12, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Closing small offices and reducing delivery days are a delaying tactic that should be taken but ultimately the USPS is an anachronism that is running out of reasons to exist.

In fact, if they ceased operations today, it would take me just a few keyboard strokes to adjust to their demise.

Posted by: hit4cycle | April 12, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Change the rate schedule on JUNK mail by raising up to, if not higher than first class. Then, put the whole doggone operation out to bid. Halliburton or Evergreen Airlines will probably snap it up. /couldn't resist the humor

Posted by: gnothead | April 12, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

The Postal Service and Obama's health monstrosity are both not viable.

However, the sickly health bill is even worse off than postal service.


Posted by: Jerzy | April 12, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Let's contract out the GAO services too. Why are they on the federal dole? Any research group could do their studies for a lot less money.

Posted by: rcvinson64 | April 12, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Typical government beuracracy, what else is new?

This will be the head line in a few years for the new health care "reform" department.

Posted by: maphound | April 12, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Its a national service and always has been! I agree its not a business as fruitcakes since the 80's suggested. It used to be a way good honest hard working people could support themselves that couldn't make it in business or manufacturing or that worked a family farm. Never has been work for exec wages, bonuses, or retirements.

Posted by: okiedokietoday | April 12, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Funny how I recall all the leftists use the Postal Service as a defense for Government Run healthcare and it has been contained in many Obama speeches.

Posted by: dencal26 | April 12, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I'd be happy to have 3 days of USPS delivery per week, either M-W-F or T-TH-S. Just ease into it as people retire. at each location, as the staff drops in size, drop a day of delivery until you're getting mail every-other day. If someone really needs daily delivery, they can get a PO Box or sign up for everyday service with a special fee. Solutions that will satisfy 70% of us at the political center are simple. Yet because of all the bickering at the fringes, nothing gets done until there is a "crisis".

Posted by: scottehredt | April 12, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

The post office still plays a vital role in commerce as people buy stuff on line and mail order ! To say its replaced by email is rediculous !

Posted by: okiedokietoday | April 12, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

No surprise since just a week ago Obama signed a bill that makes the mailing of tobacco products illegal through the USPS, FedEx and UPS.
Appears they were not collecting all the tax money the government wanted for the big
SCHIP'S bill Obama passed to pay for children's health care.

In signing the bill Obama also broke a Treaty with the Indians.

Let's see he has just put more people out of work to pay for a health care bill that was suppose to be paid for by taxing cigarettes, that are bad for you, but wait he needs smokers in order to pay for the SCHIP's bill.

To be accurate they can still ship tobacco but must collect taxes for each state, and those delivering the package have to check ID. The bill is so murky that the companies are closing up so there goes the revenue.

I guess this is one of those unintended problems that occurs with most of the legislation they have been passing.

Next we will be moving on to over weight people because evil tobacco will no longer be a large source of revenue.

Not to mention the bill was fully supported by the big tobacco companies. See to many people starting rolling there own and that angered big tobacco. They did not expect people to by pass them. The Democrats also pulled in a pretty penny in contributions from big tobacco for this bill.

Round and Round we go. Sponsors of the bill are the usual Democrats, Shummer, Dodd etc.

And I just read that Congress, Reid, Pelosi etc are considering not even making out a budget by April 15th, appears they do not want to be bogged down in November explaining how to pay for the mess they have created.

After all everything is suppose to look sunny for November.

Unfortunately the voter is not that stupid.
See you in November at the voting booth.


Posted by: jace1 | April 12, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Looks like the GAO should analyze congressional salaries and lifetime benefits for part time work that has gotten us into this mess!

They should recommend :
Term limits
One subject per bill ie health ins reform
Lost confidence vote by citizens for all Js

They should evaluate how well the Congress has managed the Ss surplus of 1980 !

Posted by: okiedokietoday | April 12, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Hi,

Here is what the GAO and the USPS aren't going to tell you.

1. By contracting out the services, I guarantee the first thing those companies do is send lobbist$ to DC " " "to (so-called) even the playing field" " " by [asking]???? [of course we all know how it really works] Congress to grant Tax Breaks. That's $ that won't go into the Federal Treasury.

2. Eliminating Saturday service sounds great, BUT, be one day late on your credit card, mortgage, car payment, and see if your creditors give a scream in Hell about 5 day delivery.

3. Does anyone really think that contracted companies are going to bid on mail that gets delivered to crime ridden projects, or high crime areas, or rural areas???

4. How long do you think it will take for top postal mgmt. to "collect their retirement, and go straight to work with the bidding companies".

Note: For disclosure, this writer is a chief union steward.

Nuff Said...Dennis

Posted by: dgiansante | April 12, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

United Parcel Service got the packages that the post offices used to deliver and for a variety of reasons. They could just as well deliver all the first class mail and do a much better job, I think.

Posted by: popslinc
UPS Mail Innovations (UPS MI) has been a National Account of the United States Postal Service (USPS) business partner segment since 1997. Through this work-share partnership, we provide global mail services.

The program works like this:
UPS MI picks up the mail, processes (sorts) and transports your mail to the USPS.

Then:
The USPS accepts your mail piece and makes the final delivery to your mailing address.

http://www.ups-mi.net/packageID/

I drop my NetFlix DVDs in my rural mailbox before noon, or drop it off at the PO around the corner before 4:00 pm and NetFlix sends me an e-mail at 4:30 am, the next day that they received the DVD.

What do you expect UPS to do?

Posted by: James10 | April 12, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Last I read AMTRACK LOSES $68 per person who rides it. And you think I trust a government run health system to care for me and mine? Hell NO! I and all I know have got our TEA PARTY on for this coming November!

De-fund and Destroy OBummerCare!

Posted by: harpotoo | April 12, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

How does outsourcing save money? Usually it means poorer service and loss of control. Look private prisons and the contractors in the Forever War. In fact, going way back, that is how H. Ross Perot first made a bundle, by ripping off the government as a contractor!

And what about service? If the goal is universal service to rural areas, which we important to the fabric of society, then that needs to be subsidized just as much as big agribusiness does for growing too much sugar, cotton, etc.

Posted by: roscoegorts | April 12, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

There's nothing wrong with the postal service. It's the most efficiently run government entity.

I suppose the the republicans would like it privatized so instead of paying 44 cents to mail a letter it was cost $7.00.

.

Posted by: blarsen1 | April 12, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Having been a postal clerk from 1979 to 2004, and a union officer most of that time, I agree that ceasing Saturday delivery is the best option for cutting costs with minimal effects on service. Not many businesses are even open on Saturdays, and most people can go a day without bills and junk mail.

However, some services should continue on Saturdays. At least one window within a ten mile radius in cities and twenty in rural areas should be open for at least six hours. Some delivery is not only necessary to the USPS’s designated function, but would be good for business in general and theirs in particular.

The private delivery services either don’t deliver packages and expedited pieces on the weekend or charge an exorbitant add on fee. Businesses and customers have a valid interest in weekend delivery, and the postal service exists essentially to do those jobs private services can’t or won’t.

Syracuse NY has over two hundred delivery routes. Twelve part-time flexible-hours subs could deliver all of those four categories of mail on both weekend days without costing much. The attraction of “We deliver packages 365 days a year” would be a major marketing tool for the USPS.

The post office already charges enough for Registered and Express to cover the minimal cost of seven day delivery. Remember that delivery isn’t even attempted on businesses known to be closed on Saturdays. That makes Priority and Parcel Post fairly cheap to deliver along with the other two classes. Extra revenue could be generated by adding a Seven Day Delivery Confirmation service – at, say $1.25 retail versus the standard 70-80¢, or 40¢ electronic versus 19¢ – to Priority and Parcel Post to cover the rest of the cost.

Fedex Saturday delivery for fifteen bucks extra or USPS for $1.25? That and some more mailer friendly amenities could put the USPS back as a major player in package delivery, doing what the private services can‘t or won’t, and add substantially to its bottom line.

Posted by: Clarkpark | April 12, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Our postal delivery person routinely is paid OVERTIME to delivery the daily route. Rountinely the truck is observed parked as the postal person conducts conversations with those on the route. This activity has been reported to the local Postmaster. Action taken NOTHING! Can't fix it outsource it.

Posted by: whocares666 | April 12, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Does the USPS actually do anything of value? Every day, the USPS brings me a bunch of stuff I don't want. I bring it in to my house. It piles up on my table. When the pile gets too big, I shift it into either the recycling bin or the garbage can. I can't remember the last time the USPS brought me something I wanted or needed. It certainly seems to me that there are better ways to make an investment in our communication infrastructure than subsidizing the Postal Service. I agree with those who support privatization - not because I don't think the government can run social programs, but because a federal postal service has become burdensome on the tax payer and competely passe.

Posted by: kuato | April 12, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

try this!
carry only first class mail, no junk or bulk.
fire everyone not needed to deal with first class mail.

it may lose money but not as much and you can fire 90% of the postal workers as 90% of what they carry is junk!

Posted by: infantry11b4faus | April 12, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

1. Close tiny post offices ---We travel thru many small towns where the post office is either the only operation or one of a very few businesses
2. Stop door - to -door delivery--- set up locations with multiple boxes to save delivery time
3. Stop the bonuses to management--Let them break even before rewarding losiing money.
4. set postal salaries more in line with local business salaries.
5. See what these changes do before major reorganizations

Posted by: johnbell404 | April 12, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Postal services is something that a modern nation provides; it is essential and should never have been "privatized" in the first place.

When you consider that, for 44 cents, the USPS delivers faster and as reliably as Fedex does for $18.00 and change (look it up, I did), you may realize that some government subsidy is involved, but it is not excessive.

As for remarks about so-called "junk mail", if it were not an effective marketing mechanism, it would have disappeared long ago. Advertising is private sector activity, and must turn a profit to endure. That it provides the base of overhead for the USPS is a bonus for those of us who appreciate cheaper regular mailing rates.

Meanwhile, if the USPS needs to raise first class to 50 cents or more, so be it, as long as the current service level is maintained or improved.

Some may also complain about lines at USPS facilities, but from another viewpoint, those lines represent DEMAND, so it is not as if the USPS has no customers.

Posted by: OldUncleTom | April 12, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

The article BEGS THE QUESTION OF... WHAT FEDERAL RUN OPERATION "is" VIABLE?? Our bloated, ever larger, more intrusive federal gov't has yet to shrink even as our wallets, home budgets and jobs potential shrink. Why is it only the Congress and Federal work force see increases??

Posted by: NeoConVeteran | April 12, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Outsource??? USPS already outsources its Customer Service calls to sweatshop call centers known as Convergys Corporation.

If you're wondering why you get cutoff by the agent while you're talking and receiving generally crappy service, its because Convergys agents are pressured to allow only 120 seconds for you to fully state your problems with USPS and then get you off from the call. If the agent's average for calls approaches 200 seconds they're written up and threatened with termination.

Either USPS is failing to properly monitor how Convergys Corp. handles inbound calls, or USPS condones poor customer service! No surprise Convergys' USPS account has a very high employee turnover rate.

Posted by: DeeBeppy | April 12, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Cut the deadwood, like rural delivery.
@Jimbo: Since when are all gov't services supposed to be run for profit? When did you change the law?
You want to abolish the DEA and FBI if they don't turn a profit?
PS: THe IRS collects more in taxes than it receives from Congress.
There you are, buddy.
Posted by: Garak | April 12, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse
Well then I guess we should follow your plan. Just keep operating in the red. There’s no need to make any changes. Try thinking once and a while…

Posted by: askgees | April 12, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I have had neighbors and relatives that have worked for USPS. They finish their routes in five hours, and sit at home for 3(while still on the clock). Privatize it.

Posted by: sombreropoint38 | April 12, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

The post office is fine. Interstate highway construction and maintenance costs a fortune in lining up qualified state and federal government contractors willing to build safe bridges and roads. Let's just privatize that sector of federal funding. If we do, I'll stand by a bridge with a stopwatch and see how long it takes for a cut-corners bridge to waver and fall.

Posted by: Meepo | April 12, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Outsourcing and part-time workers are fine as long as its within the US. We should stop Saturday delivery mail service and do what ever necessary to stop subsidies. Because they can generate revenue this should be run like a business. Employees must be treated fair and services should be efficient. This should not have taken this long to change course. People have stop using stamps at the same level before the internet. It is very poor management that we have not made the necessary change in the USPS. Let's catch up the USPS with 21st century usage, change.

Posted by: Vonnie932 | April 12, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

i love that comment its a goverment operation why should it show a profit. that comment alone shows why we are a bankrupt country!
now for the postal service 7 billion loss. why democrats and obama spend that much in less than 10 mins every day. whats wrong with the post office is like what goes wrong in the auto industry and and every business the unions are involved! when a fork lift operator at a auto plant makes almost 30HR something has to give! it did just look at detroit. the only people living high off the hog are the union bosses while everyone else is on welfare! their at a miami resort smoking stogies.
the post office is as old as we are. it is a institution of history that needs a major make over. first remove the unions then out source to private contractors which are cheaper and must produce or your replaced. we dont have that now at the post office or in our goverment! we need a major overhaul on both fronts or our country is toast by 2020 when the baby boomers flood the system!

Posted by: carl6352 | April 12, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately more privitization of what used to be a public service, not a for-private enterprise that served the rich. The benefit of a public government-run program was that it provided services to everybody not just those it could afford to serve. Our Country was built on a government that served the needs of the public interest not based on a private, corporate model that sought to make money and focused on the few who could pay.

Posted by: TabLUnoLCSWfromUtah | April 12, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Our postal delivery person routinely is paid OVERTIME to delivery the daily route. Rountinely the truck is observed parked as the postal person conducts conversations with those on the route. This activity has been reported to the local Postmaster. Action taken NOTHING! Can't fix it outsource it.
Posted by: whocares666 | April 12, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

WOW so a postal delivery person taking a few seconds to be polite and neighborly and you complain. Shut the F$%K up and go get back on Facebook loser. It’s obvious you have no social skills and live in a box. I’m also sure the only action they took was wiping your mail across their @zz before placing it in your mailbox. It’s weenies like this that drag America down.

Posted by: askgees | April 12, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Watching the "Sixty Minutes" show a year ago showed pictures of beautiful mansions rented by the postal service for mid-management employees, and held empty until they could arrive. This was "customary".
Watching TV shows I noted that one entertainment (NOT business) show was sponsored by the U.S. Post office as one producer of several. Its in showbiz?
The Postal Service behaves unlike any government agency, being managed by a group of playboys who want to be CEOs at Goldman,Sachs. It's problems could probably be remedied but the powers that be don't want to work at it.

Posted by: drzimmern1 | April 12, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

to sweatshop call centers known as Convergys Corporation.

What the heck does this mean?

Posted by: sombreropoint38 | April 12, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Does the USPS actually do anything of value? Every day, the USPS brings me a bunch of stuff I don't want. .........

Posted by: kuato

Isn't it pretty obvious that the sender thinks it's of value? The USPS delivers mail that someone pays them to deliver.

If the stuff you receive is stuff is not stuff you want, blame the private business that paid to have it sent to you.

If the stuff you send is stuff the receiver doesn't want blame yourself.

Posted by: James10 | April 12, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Postal Service not viable? ...DUH!!

Posted by: GarrisonLiberty | April 12, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Hey Netflix users, get up off your lazy butts and instead of staying glued to the TV, take the kids to the Zoo, go fishing, go to a state park, how about a picnic with family or friends. Is one day without a movie going to kill you? Saturday is a good day to drop service as many businesses are closed any way and don't process their mail until Monday even though it may be delivered. Your right about junk mail. Most isn't read and why should it be cheaper. It takes just as much work and time to deliver as the regular stuff. As for UPS or FEDX, they are great for larger or heavier packages but the difference in cost is big. A five pound package cost between $6.50 and $12 to send depending on distance. UPS would be $18 and take a week across country. Also try sending something by UPS out of country. I needed to sent a package to Australia that weighed around 35 pound. USPS was $55 and UPS was $400 plus. We need to work to keep the system but just refine it someway. It's still the cheapest and fastest of any country.

Posted by: larry58 | April 12, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

The Constitution gives the federal government the power to "establish post offices and post roads," but it does not mandate such. The post office should be abolished and the delivery of mail should be privatized. The competition created would provide jobs and would probably result in rate reductions and better service. I mean, Federal Express, UPS, DHL, and the like do pretty good job.

Posted by: drawlr | April 12, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

The post office services are going (has already gone?) the way of pay telephones and quaint hand written stamped letters now that everyone has cell phones and internet email. UPS and other package shippers make a large profit and provide high paid jobs without any tax payer's subsidy. It is as out of date as the old telegraph lines along railway tracks with messages being sent by Morse Code. No need to outsource postal services, they already are. Except for the greeting card business and people who still have not discovered electronic banking, there is little(anything)for the current postal service to offer consumers. Simply abolish it and I guarantee no one will miss it any more than the manual typewriter, 8-track players or IBM punch cards. Use the billions saved to help create new, permanent and relevant jobs in alternative energy and local sustainable agriculture.

Peace

Bob Schledwitz
Newburyport, MA

Posted by: Yeat2009 | April 12, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Why does mail have to be delivered to a home or business? That's why they have post offices. I live rural and I don't have a mail box at my house. Too easy for mail to be stolen and most of it is junk mail. It would take maybe 3 buildings housing thousands of mail boxes to support a small town. I pay $65.00 a year for the P.O. box and I get my mail whenever I want. This would save on the cost of post office vehicles, gas, maintenance, less workers needed.

Posted by: jayesouthworth | April 12, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

The Fed should subsidize the USPS. If they can pay multiplied billions of $s to companies so that those companies can pay their execs multi-million $ bonuses then why not subsidize a business that everyone in America actually uses? Postal jokes aside, most postal workers are dedicated, career employees who do a good job under not the best working conditions. Contracting out will get you inconsistent, badly trained, badly paid, transient employees showing up on your porch on a daily basis. If you live in a rural (low-profit) area - what company will take you at all? Cutting Sat. deliveries will not make a significant impact. Let's keep the USPS the way it is, profitability be damned. It was never designed to be a profit making agency anyway.

Posted by: yellerdog | April 12, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Get rid of the JUNK MAIL SUBSIDIES.

I rarely use the post office, pay all my bills online, e-mail not snail mail, and STILL EVERYDAY my mailbox is full of junk. TOTAL JUNK.

What if we could OPT out of junk mail like we do with the no call lists and such.

SAVE tons of wasted trees, labor, and disposal costs.

Posted by: racerdoc | April 12, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Nothing in the Constitution says the Post Office must or even should be profitable. The Feds should be doing (probably 90+%) less than the "business" they currently do and focus on national and border security, maintaining interstate highways, running the post office and damn little else; that's what states and municipalities are for -- they're the people we CAN hold accountable when they do to us what the Feds do to us with impunity.

Posted by: jnsesq | April 12, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The Postal Service doesn't operate in a vacuum. At this point in the economic recovery; Saturday Mail Delivery is essential! While most purchases are initiated online; many of them are delivered by the post office on a Saturday.
Cutting out Saturday delivery is like telling the recovering economy to take a day off!!?? It is better to sunsidize the billions needed to keep Saturday Delivery; rather than risk a trillion on a failed economic recovery!!

Posted by: SDIMASTER | April 12, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Of course the USPS is not fiscaly viable. It was designed by politicians deliberately so. We buy first class stamps, part of the price is used to subsidise the newsleters and campaign mailings of those selfsame politicians, whom also milk the federal tax dollars for the same purpose. And for this we Pay them $174,000.00 each per year. Last year they gave themselves a $4,700.00 Salary increase. Free office space, and many high priced staff and congressional aides.
In addition, what we pay for postage subsidizes all the other junk mail, that fills our recycling bins, UNREAD. We have all received the ple for funding a home fro runaway children, from a pedophile priest, wanting us to subsidize their sex life, as wall as their postage.

Posted by: laurelphoto | April 12, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Well, my postal employee can't be bothered to shut the cover on my mailbox, is arrogant, lazy and rude. Downsize, once a week delivery is fine with me.

Posted by: ed580B | April 12, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

steveboyington wrote:

Reasonably fair assessment. What you'll get if they downsize is this: spotty rural delivery. More expensive services to rural customers. Stuff like once-a-week delivery, unless you pay UPS or FedEx.

Couldn't express it any better. rural service might stop all together. And just in case you think you're in an area that wouldn't be affected by the change. My father was a mail carrier and he once told me that a large portion of suburban areas are considered rural routes

Posted by: Sanglant25 | April 12, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Are the postal workers unionized? I thought so. Having said that, who in the hell would want to work in a cold, barren, unfriendly workplace like a post office? But than again we are very close to being a third world country as it is. We are being buried by government laws, rules and regulations. Constitution? What constitution?

Posted by: rchaa27aa | April 12, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Privatize them. Fed Ex and UPS puts them to shame.

Posted by: sumn | April 12, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

The republicans would like to see you pay $7.00 to mail a letter instead of 44 cents. Do they actually think you pay less with a private corporation. It will be like paying Blackwater soldiers $10,000 a month instead of $3000 to a G.I. only worse. The republicans won't be happy until they drain all the income from the middle and lower class.

Posted by: blarsen1 | April 12, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Netflix: they allready sold out to the movie studios, holding new releases for 28 day after the original release date. By that time those who didn't want to wait passed around the ones they purchased, or went straight to pay per view. Drop it from my waiting list, I allready lower my limit from five to three. How many more are going to follow. Blockbuster drop the ball when Netflix went into business, look like they have a chance to rebound. by the way whens the last time u seen a email that your DVD was shipped on a saturday I never have. So who working on saturday

Posted by: evanrodriguez | April 12, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

How about this: Let's go back to the old Post Office Department the way it used to be, return stamps to their long-time postage of three cents for a first-class letter and subsidize the rest through higher-cost commercial mailings for things like magazines and junk mail, and subsidize any shortfall out of the general fund, the way our founders intended.

The Post Office was never intended to be a profit-making enterprise but was instead always designed to be a service provided by the government at minimal cost to the users of that service. It was not supposed to be run like a business.

What if we tried to run national defense as a business, or our legal system, or the census? These things are government SERVICES, not commercial enterprises.

I have a pretty strong whiff of pressure being brought to bear, by the thinly-disguised bribery we call "campaign contributions," by the corporations with whom the Postal Service competes, FedEx, UPS, etc. Those of you who, like parrots, repeat the nonsense that government is always less efficient than private industry, ought to consider the question of when was the last time that FedEx or UPS delivered anything, anywhere for 44 cents?

Posted by: FergusonFoont | April 12, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

The postal system needs to eliminate some of the advertising that it allows to use bulk rate mailing or they must raise the bulk rates to make that class of mail pay its way. First class mail prices rise regularly and my mailbox is still cluttered with pizza flyers and ads for satellite TV or insurance. Unsolicited credit card applications abound in envelopes marked with bulk rate paid printed in the place of a postage stamp. Enough. Make my letter carrier more efficient by removing junk mail from her delivery truck. Doing so would allow her to deliver to more customers in less time, thereby achieving the cost reductions.

The advertisers who still want you to get their pizza flyers can hire some of the unemployed to get out and carry the word to houses one at a time.

Posted by: ronjeske | April 12, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

at $7 and up, of course UPS and Fed Ex can claim to be better! Plus, they only deliver what is sent to specific households - they don't stop at every house.

Get rid of junk mail, and cut the service to 3 days a week. Put it back as a gov't entity. Adjust the retirement benefits going forward. That would do wonders.

Posted by: Michael_A1 | April 12, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

The world hs changed, primarily due to email. Let's reduce the postal staff, close offices, cut out Sat deliveries. They need to improve efficiencies or close. We can't support huge losses in the postal service anymore.

Posted by: donaldrh | April 12, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse


I don't see anything radical changing in the way the P.O. does business under this union friendly administration.

Entrenched interests maintain a grip on how things are done and they are always done to their benefit.

"But this is the way we've always done things".

Duh. Thats the problem!

Posted by: jrealty | April 12, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Postal service is an essential service and has been supported by governments since the 1600's. And it is just too expensive as it is now. Making it a business was a grave error and a great disservice to the population. It is one of the government services that anyone can use, and it benefits everyone. The service should never have been expected to break even, and with the cost of oil zooming, it is going to be even more in the red.

Lawmakers need to rethink this business model. I think the mail should be very cheap, never expected to break even, and should be wholly supported by the government.

Do the National Parks, etc. have to make make a profit? All roads and highways?

We're spending too much on armaments (and have been for 60 years). Redo the budget and make things right.

Posted by: msd811 | April 12, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I will bring this up for the upteenth time. When, if ever, are all of you technologiacally savvy people who can also afford every newest gizmo to come along going to realize that millions of your fellow citizens cannot afford and/or lack the knowledge to rely on hi-tech to do their communicating? Or , in the case of far too many, some type disability prevents their use of tech for a myriad of reasons. It is past time to look beyond your own noses to how the abolishment or diminishment of the post off will affect them Due to the ongoing attitudes as presented here and on other boards, one can only assume that you just basically do not care about that since you have it all figured out for your own selves so that is all that matters. Oh - I get it - only those who can afford to communicate hi tech are supposed to have the privilege of doing so - is that it? Those of you who fit this description absolutely disgust me. Same as with health care - you have yours covered so the heck with everyone else for whom you prefer not to pay.

Posted by: nana1ellen | April 12, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

99% of first class mail COULD be sent electronically, and WOULD if the price were not subsidized to preserve union jobs. The remaining 1% could be handled at a profitable market price by UPS and FEDEX.

The overpaid highly pensioned postal worker will eventually be replaced by a communications tower!

Don't fear for their jobs! They can be retrained in a week to administer Obomacare.

Posted by: finagler | April 12, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I like to see the GAO numbers and how efficient they are.
Unbelievable[even to myself], but I think the USPS does a great job, though holidays can be hectic you can't get a better more reliable service for the money. Granted they have there problems, but they should be near the bottom on the list to go out of all the government agencies, I personally do not mind paying taxes for this service. I've worked for large corporations[no longer do] and there are slackers and inefficiency every where. I guess the difference here is the that if they run in the red then they go under.

Posted by: vinko | April 12, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

If only Al Gore had not invented the Internet, we'd have no e-mail, and snail mail would still be a viable form of communication.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | April 12, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: finagler
"Don't fear for their jobs! They can be retrained in a week to administer Obomacare."

I like it, hey Mr postman can you put a band-aid on my boo-boo!!

Posted by: vinko | April 12, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I've got news for you. NO government-run business is "viable."

Funny Obamacare parody: http://www.funnyconservatives.com/?p=747

Posted by: buckrol | April 12, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

If we need to go to 5-day delivery, let's cut out Monday, not Saturday---at least to residences. I get vital mail on Saturday that was posted on Thursday or Friday. On Monday I get nothing but junk mail because nobody posts anything vital on Saturday. It may be a different story for businesses, but let's skip residential delivery on Monday.

Posted by: MrBethesda | April 12, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Times change and businesses must change with them or suffer the inevitable fate. Just ask anyone in the recorded music business just how different it is today because of the internet and electronic delivery and copying of music.

If the USPS is to survive in this new world it must make draconian cuts in service and radically change both the nature of the product it delivers and what it charges for that service.

First, with the increasing migation of so many tasks to electronic transfer via the internet, it is not necessary for so much of our communication and commerce to be carried via the USPS. Daily delivery is no longer critical to the flow of funds between consumers and institutions.

Second, marketing directly to the consumer can now be done via the Internet; junk mail is no longer the only way to reach consumers at home with an interactive sales pitch.

Third, a cut back in days/hours of operation would not only save money but would produce massive savings in energy expended. Fewer delivery vehicles/routes means less gasoline used and carbon emissions.

Will workers be impacted? Sure, just as anyone working in a business where shifts in consumer behavior and technology is impacted. But, better the USPS get about making the necessary changes to emerge a slimmed down and viable business model than continuing to bleed ink and wake up one morning in bandruptcy court.

Congress can delay the invevitable so long. It is time the USPS and those who govern it make the tough but necessary choices at hand.

Posted by: bobfbell | April 12, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Times change and businesses must change with them or suffer the inevitable fate. Just ask anyone in the recorded music business just how different it is today because of the internet and electronic delivery and copying of music.

If the USPS is to survive in this new world it must make draconian cuts in service and radically change both the nature of the product it delivers and what it charges for that service.

First, with the increasing migation of so many tasks to electronic transfer via the internet, it is not necessary for so much of our communication and commerce to be carried via the USPS. Daily delivery is no longer critical to the flow of funds between consumers and institutions.

Second, marketing directly to the consumer can now be done via the Internet; junk mail is no longer the only way to reach consumers at home with an interactive sales pitch.

Third, a cut back in days/hours of operation would not only save money but would produce massive savings in energy expended. Fewer delivery vehicles/routes means less gasoline used and carbon emissions.

Will workers be impacted? Sure, just as anyone working in a business where shifts in consumer behavior and technology is impacted. But, better the USPS get about making the necessary changes to emerge a slimmed down and viable business model than continuing to bleed ink and wake up one morning in bandruptcy court.

Congress can delay the invevitable so long. It is time the USPS and those who govern it make the tough but necessary choices at hand.

Posted by: bobfbell | April 12, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Judging from many of the comments preceding this one, union-bashing and postal worker bashing and service-bashing are the easy things to do. The postal service is really important for those living in rural areas and to the elderly who rely much more on the postal service than those of us skilled in email communications.

Outsourcing is not necessarily the solution to deficits or service. On occasion I've had problems with UPS and FED-EX deliveries. No one's perfect.

To blame the unions because they have negotiated good wages, health insurance and retirement is sort of like saying let's just make it harder to be part of the middle class that provides the bulwark of our society and economy. It's like cutting off our noses to spite our faces. Good wages, health insurance and retirement are what keeps our nation humming. After all, consumerism makes up almost two thirds of our economy.

Cutting Saturday mail delivery, closing some post offices, reducing middle management, reducing post office service hours, setting up kiosks in other retail businesses, raising prices for "junk mail" (your junk mail may not be my junk mail) all seem like reasonable ideas. Hiring part-time employees and firing full-time employees? Sounds to me like trying to undermine the middle class.

But just like all issues where compromise is needed people only want to make cuts to the services of others but "not in my backyard". But let's face it, if we want mail delivery it needs to be equitable and we should be willing to pay for it and all share the pain.

A tax subsidy? Why not? Our tax dollars subsidize lots of private businesses that don't necessarily benefit every person in America. In that context subsidizing one that does wouldn't sound unreasonable.

Posted by: cpflast | April 12, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Let's fast forward to the year 2020.
------------------------------------------
The ObamaCare's current business model "is not viable" and the health agency should make deeper job and wage cuts, hire more part-time staff and consider outsourcing operations, according to a draft of a government audit acquired by The Federal Eye.

Auditors also urge Congress to remove restrictions on the ObamaCare's ability to cut costly medical procedures and medication for the elderly, according to the report, which offers recommendations similar to the ObamaCare's own proposed 10-year business plan.
---------------------------------------
Deja vu all over again.

Posted by: tulsadave | April 12, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Congress should force the military to turn a profit.
we should make money anytime we have to invade some country.

Posted by: MarilynManson | April 12, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure most of the points I would make have already been made but I feel I must say that at the age of 73 I have a great fondness for the post office and though some of it may be sentimental for the most part I believe it's a fair assessment of why the post office should be subsidized and not changed except to attend to the infra-structure problems that could be dealt with equitably. I am sure that if this very vital service is privatized the companies that take it over would send their rates zooming through the roof.

Posted by: shrdlu1 | April 12, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Will Congress just mail it in?

Posted by: jpmn | April 12, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

IF the USPS monopoly on first-class mail delivery were ended, THEN I wouldn't have a problem with having the one-and-only post office in my small town being closed -- as long as the competition were providing similar services without me having to travel out-of-town to access them. Short of that, I have major problems with lifting the restriction requiring a minimum of 1 post office in each ZIP code.
Ditching Saturday deliveries, on the other hand, wouldn't bother me nearly as much. I'd miss getting mail on Saturdays, but I could live with that. (I especially could live with that if there were competition for 1st class mail delivery, and if at least 1 of those competitors chose to offer Saturday delivery as a selling point!)

Posted by: CatherineMcClarey | April 12, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

@askgees: "Just keep operating in the red. There’s no need to make any changes. Try thinking once and [sic] a while…"

Yes, let's try thinking. Gov't programs are not meant to turn a profit. They operate in the red. Follow your plan and Blackwater would replace the Dep't of Defense. Pfizer would run the DEA. Lehman Bros. would run the IRS. Citi would run the Fed.

Yes, maybe you should try thinking once in a while.

Posted by: Garak | April 12, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

If the American public thinks like the majority who write these comments here, we are kaput as a nation.


It is not only junk mail that we won't get if the post office is "outsourced".

We won't get more employments but more unemployment. And those losing their jobs won't get any decent unemployment benefits, maybe nothing since our government is saying there is not enough money. With unemployment comes homelessness, crime, depression.

You people are so idiotic.

Posted by: coqui44 | April 12, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Just wait until the health care "business" tries to get off the ground.

So sad that people can't see the fiscal irresponsibility continues when we have news like this.

Sad days

Posted by: FormerDemNowIndy | April 12, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

What's so important in the mail that home delivery can't be three days a week: M,W,F? Businesses can continue to receive five days a week, but for the rest of us, three days are plenty. That'll save lots of money along with reducing payroll.

Posted by: crumppie | April 12, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

If we need to go to 5-day delivery, let's cut out Monday, not Saturday---at least to residences. I get vital mail on Saturday that was posted on Thursday or Friday. On Monday I get nothing but junk mail because nobody posts anything vital on Saturday. It may be a different story for businesses, but let's skip residential delivery on Monday.

Posted by: MrBethesda | April 12, 2010 10:50 AM
=========================================
This is a joke, right? If USPS canceled Monday delivery, you'd still get the same amount of junk mail, you know. You'd just get it on Tues. (This is just like the people who try to debunk global warming by blaming rising temps on extended daylight savings time--more daylight means higher temps, right?)

Posted by: Dan4 | April 12, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

While were at it let's privatize the Department of Defense (oh yea, I guess we do that already with Booz Allen and BlackWater), the utilities (Enron worked so well for the citizens of California), and the Environmental Protection Agency (I am sure some logging companies and oil companies would love to run it).

Posted by: kschur1 | April 12, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

FeEx and UPS are profitable because they skim the cream of the delivery business. There is no profit to be made from keeping a post office in East Podunk Kentucky but the law requires the Post Office to do it. If you live in a rural area, UPS will charge you through the nose to deliver a package but the Post Office has to do it for the same price that it charges for urban service. Enough of the carping about the Post Office. IF YOU WANT SERVICE, YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR IT.

Posted by: mshaw1 | April 12, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Does everybody here understand that subsidies are really our tax money. So every time you say "subsidy", you are saying, "deduct it from my pay." The more we subsidize, the larger our taxes, the smaller our paychecks.

Posted by: forgetthis | April 12, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone else remember when Pelosi types didn't have jets or fly their families around using the US military and our dole?

Does anyone remember our National Parks free to us, because we didn't have the money set aside for them being 'shell gamed' off, ( for retirement plans for thieves to build personal empires with, that were supposed to be servant representing us)?

Does anyone remember why post offices were established?
Communications ( private, and with no big brother reading your business and personal lives)


Posted by: dottydo | April 12, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Everyone doesn't own a computer and UPS and FED EX are way to expensive. They should keep the postal service. They may not serve the public as they used to due to the internet but they are still needed, especially in winter when the snow is a foot deep.

Posted by: safmmail | April 12, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

The USPS was originally intended to be a service of the federal government, and it is provided for in the constitution. I doubt if it was ever intended to make money. Then Republicans got the idea of privatizing it. I doubt if either UPS or FedEx could make money by delivering mail to any home in the US for $.44. UPS and FedEx make money by skimming off the cream of the delivery business and leaving the rest for the post office.

Posted by: GVrooman | April 12, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Did you happen to notice who at the Post Office was happy about the changes Congress is looking at? It's the guys at the top in Washington D.C. who's jobs are secure. One of the biggest problems they will face when it comes to changing the culture of the Post Office is the union itself. Unions are rarely flexible and usually ask for a mile and are always willing to give an inch in return. Most of the recommendations in the report are common sense. Shut down Saturday altogether and renegotiate with the workers unions. The taxpayers do not want to subsidize the postal service for $238 Billion - Yes Billion with a B - over the next decade.

Posted by: jamebkm80 | April 12, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Outsource? As in privatize? Probably a good idea. While they're at it, privatize the Senate dining services, as Senator "I assume the mandate to force Americans to buy health insurance is in the Commerce clause" Feinstein suggested. That way, they won't stampede over to to privately run House dining room for decent food, as they do now.

Posted by: adm454 | April 12, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

GET THIS TAX EATING BUNCH OFF OUR BACKS. CLOSE IT DOWN. LET UPS HANDLE MAIL OR FED EX AND GET ALL THESE UNCLE AND AUNTS OF CONGRESSMEN OFF THE TAXPAYERS DOLE. THEY CAN USE THE EMPLOYEES TO RUN HEALTHCARE. THEY ALREADY KNOW HOW TO LOSE BILLIONS A YEAR SO NO RETRAINING NEEDED.

Posted by: cdorbg | April 12, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Amazing how something unrelated to the healthcare plan gets all the teabagging fools posting, with their paranoia and bluster.

Posted by: LABC | April 12, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

A government postal system may have made sense in 1792 but it is an outmoded monopoly today and gives terrible service at exorbitant cost.
Close the USPS, devote their share of the national budget to deficit reduction and let FEDEX or UPS do the job right.
Ditto the Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, the FCC, the Internal Revenue Service, NASA, OSHA...

Posted by: jbspry1 | April 12, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Running the USPS like Fedex or UPS simply is not an option. After all, many profitable functions of the USPS were privatized by the GOP.

Maybe the problem with the USPS is not with it's business model but with it's management. After 30 years, I suspect it has been stacked with GOP incompetents. The same with the GAO.

Before making any decisions or making changes to the core of essential governmental functions, we should get some adults to take a look first. We have to remember, that many of these GOP appointees are not there based on professional qualifications but membership at Voyeur's Gentlemen's Club in California.

Posted by: Reesh | April 12, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Okay...I got it! Finally!

NOT ECONOMICALLY VIABLE

* The USPS isn't economically viable!

* Social security isn't economically-viable.

* Medicare isn't economically-viable.

* The government healthcare option isn't economically-viable.

* Environmental protection and/or clean-up isn't economically-viable.

* In many places in the U.S., schools and education aren't economically-viable.

ECONOMICALLY-VIABLE

* Building and operating prisons.

* Fighting wars in other lands.

* Money for police.

* Increasing taxes to give cash bonuses to Wall Street executives, even though they are "very sorry" for their misfeasance and misrepresentation of the material facts.

AND REMEMBER:

Our enemies hate us because we have freedom.

Posted by: Vunderlutz | April 12, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

To LABC:
"Amazing how something unrelated to the healthcare plan gets all the teabagging fools posting, with their paranoia and bluster."

Yeah, it's almost like we are consistent in our beliefs. Weird!!!

PS: here's a little more "paranoid bluster" for ya:

"That government governs best which governs least" -Thomas Jefferson-

"I'm the one who's got to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to" -Jimi Hendrix-

Posted by: jbspry1 | April 12, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Great! Let's cut services and jobs so that we can continue to subsidize the non-working. That makes as much sense as anything else this administration has done.

Posted by: cathyjs | April 12, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

The USPS could save a whole lot of money by minting one stamp per denomination, not 20 or more. They need to decide what their core business is - is it sending mail, or catering to collectors? It costs a bundle for every new stamp design from start to finish.

And to the point others have made: the Postal system is one of few powers legitimately given to the federal government under Section 8 of the Constitution. But in order to afford it, they would have to stop spending money on all the unconstitutional stuff they do (like bailing out banks and businesses, funding pork projects, an so on, and on, and on.)

Posted by: SpeaknUp | April 12, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

It seems the postal employee union employees are out in force commenting here. Since when are the Defense and State departments supposed to be run as businesses? Since when do they have competitors? Since when are their operations "subsidized"? It's all sophistry, folks. Face it: the USPS is becoming a dinosaur, overburdened by high labor and pension costs, just as California's public-sector agencies are. Lower wages, cutting pensions, reducing make-work profjects for workers hired for political reasons, all would be a start.


As for the constitutional provision for a postal service: I thought liberals regarded the Constitution as a living, breathing document subject to continual reinterpretation, yadda yadda. If so, let's interpret it to reflect modernity and say good-bye to the entire union-deformed monstrosity it's become.

Posted by: jelink | April 12, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

The USPS could save a whole lot of money by minting one stamp per denomination, not 20 or more. They need to decide what their core business is - is it sending mail, or catering to collectors? It costs a bundle for every new stamp design from start to finish.

And to the point others have made: the Postal system is one of few powers legitimately given to the federal government under Section 8 of the Constitution. But in order to afford it, they would have to stop spending money on all the unconstitutional stuff they do (like bailing out banks and businesses, funding pork projects, an so on, and on, and on.)

Posted by: SpeaknUp | April 12, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

The USPS could save a whole lot of money by minting one stamp per denomination, not 20 or more. They need to decide what their core business is - is it sending mail, or catering to collectors? It costs a bundle for every new stamp design from start to finish.

And to the point others have made: the Postal system is one of few powers legitimately given to the federal government under Section 8 of the Constitution. But in order to afford it, they would have to stop spending money on all the unconstitutional stuff they do (like bailing out banks and businesses, funding pork projects, an so on, and on, and on.)

Posted by: SpeaknUp | April 12, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

We all grouse about the U.S. Post Office, but, they actually do a pretty good job - for cheap. Just checked the domestic rates of some other countries, and it's no wonder our own postal service is having trouble. In Canada, a domestic First-Class letter costs $.57. In Germany (EU), the same service costs $.74. The cost of sending a First-Class letter in G. Britain is going up to 41p, or about $.62.

Thing is, it would seem the U.S. Post Office should either get away from its ambivalent description - either it's a business, and a for-profit entity. Or, it's totally subsidized by the U.S. government. Can't have both.

Posted by: dennisf878 | April 12, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

The greedy capitalists at UPS and FedEx are skimming the cream from the delivery business, endangering the viability of USPS. We need the government to take over these pariahs!

Consolidation would save a fortune. One truck past my rural home every day instead of three! Reduce emissions-save the environment.

One huge Union. The potential political contributions shoukld make a Statist salivate.

Posted by: finagler | April 12, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

The biggest problem the USPS has is their backward business model. Imagine if UPS or FedEx charged for you to pick up your package at their hub, but would bring it to your house for free.

Posted by: libertarianinMA | April 12, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Just sell it. The government is not competent to run it anymore than they are: AMTRAK, GM, Social Security, Medicare; and now, God help us, welfare-healthcare. It is getting hard to believe they are on our side.

Posted by: dchapman | April 12, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

It's a shame for workers and the system. But lack of good supervision and quality control has left these mostly lazy folks feeling an entitlment vs customer service.

Posted by: crrobin | April 12, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I see many comments regarding "outsourcing" the mail service- You have no idea what that would entail? UPS and FEDEX combined could not handle the breadth and scope of the USPS. That's for starters. Look we all have our favorite, "I was at the Post Office for X many minutes/hours because the clerks were..." stories. Most of us not in the Postal Service- and I do not include the carriers who actually deliver the mail- because I think that group is phenomenal. It's the P.O. in-house, the perpetual look of those with iron-poor blood, who have no clue what the word "hustle" means or have the centrism to understand that the customer's time is valuable. They don't have to worry about that because they are union and they are the only game in town. Then, there is a Post Office in every berg-small and smaller throughout the country. You can drive through six towns in, say, New Jersey in a small geographic space- and there is a Post Office in EACH one. A bulk mailer will tell you that they hope and pray that they do not have to send mass mailings through certain zip codes, because these fall into the units where the union leadership is housed and they don't work the mail- they just "lead". The Post Office takes the worst from the Union movement of the 60's and blends into it the worst aspects of the proverbial government bureaucrat. They could be efficient and on their way to profitability, if they were actually run like a for-profit business, but they are not and there are certain restrictions placed on them. It's another thing that our Congresspersons and Senators are doing nothing about- and haven't for a long time-so don't blame Obama at all for this, or the current Congress completely. The way our government "works for us" is that they always build a new highway when the old one is 15 years past its use, or has been swallowed by a sink hole.

Posted by: poppysue85 | April 12, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

The real problem is the universal service requirement. As long as it exists, the USPS will require taxpayer bailouts.

The universal service requirement is a subsidy to isolated and underpopulated parts of the country and it should be eliminated. Door-to-door postal service is not a basic human need. If you want to live out in the boonies, you should be required to pay the true costs of the services you receive.

Get rid of the universal service requirement and the first-class monopoly, and let the USPS wither away like the outmoded institution that it is. Postal services should be delivered the same way pizza, blue jeans, and plasma TVs are: via the free market.

Posted by: member8 | April 12, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Have any of you actually ever been inside a postal distribution center? Seen the machines that read and sort the most of the mail, all the way to delivery sequence.
Think UPS or Fedex have that equipment?

As far as part time employees, USPS has thousands, hundreds of thousands of part time employees. And most of them work a full 40 hour week, if not more. Because it takes that kind of people-power to deliver your mail.

Oh, but you don't want your mail, at least not the so-called junk mail. You don't want your pizza coupons or grocery ads, so you won't go get pizza or stock up when the store's having a sale. Then the pizza dude gets his hours cut, as does the checker at the local market. Oh and wait, lets not forget about the printers who made up that ad. More people out of work, just what we need.

Yes, there's a lot wrong with USPS, but I guarantee it's not your carrier's fault, and it's not the window clerk's fault. And every time you chat up your carrier at the mailbox while he or she is TRYING to work, you're wasting their time and USPS's money. They are so micro-managed, down to the minute, every single day. Most of you couldn't last. You think a minimum-waged, part-time employee that doesn't earn benefits would put up with that kind of treatment? They'd go flip burgers.

You people really have no idea what it takes to get a piece of mail across town or across the country. No idea at all.

Posted by: jinxxy3 | April 12, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

The "RAISE RATES and CUT SERVICE" model followed by so many of today's businesses, eg.,Newspapers, Public Utilities, & Banks, has not proved to be best for all.
(1) THINK ADDITIONAL REVENUE, too: Expand the POSTAL Money Order System to allow purchase, transmission of funds, and receipt from any USPS Office to any USPS Office through linked electronic terminals--Compete with Western Union and American Express: STOP their powerful lobby/ monopoly. The USPS could do this for Half the 'monopoly' fees and still make a bundle of revenue. (2) USPS missed the fax communication wave, but they can still install E-MAIL KIOSKS, for travelers, who don't have Blackberrys and households who have no DSL/on-line service. Think: COMMUNICATIONS BUSINESS.
On the cost side: STOP the subsidy from 1st-Class to publications and Bulk/Junk mailers. Handling and transport costs for their products are determined in large part by Weight and Number of pieces. Weight means fuel and space overhead. All pieces require the same handling and sorting AND front door delivery as 1st-Class after their inital entry into the system. Return to a system that shows a date/time that pieces are entered into the USPS system. [I'm tired of companies blaming the USPS for 'slow' delivery by hiding behind their 'print-date' on a bill or invoice]--A Print-Date is not a Mail-Date. Mail-Dates would let both USPS and their customers measure delivery efficiency.

Posted by: sturdivantl1 | April 12, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

There is not one industry in which the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT has a hand, that is not unsustainable and blatantly wasteful.

By all means, let's bestow them further powers.

Posted by: TheFreeMan | April 12, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

the comments here regarding health care are a joke. the government isn't going to run anything under health reform. there is no government takeover, no government plan, no government control, nothing. you just have to buy insurance to cover the cost of your own care, from the same private plans that have been insuring us forever. requiring you to buy car insurance is not government run auto insurance.

Posted by: JoeT1 | April 12, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Just allow private companies to compete with the USPS on equal footing and you'll find that good postal service at reasonable prices is quite possible - just not from the government. Government never delivers services as efficiently as companies with the incentive to economize and compete. Never. That is why when the feds create an enterprise, they either give it special advantages or outlaw competition outright.

Posted by: jdadson | April 12, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I usually use USPS because their 2-day service is usually cheaper than the competition, and more importantly, it's more convenient for me, as there is always a post-office nearby.

Posted by: steve1231 | April 12, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Jinxxy3, good post. You are exactly right.
---
And member 8, you are exactly wrong. Just because you are so sophisticated living in an urban area, you want to deny others' their mail. You are such a clot. I hope you don't eat cheese, eggs, meat, vegetables, drink milk, use items made from cotton or wool, use paper, use electricity, etc......

Posted by: missingwisc | April 12, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Jinxxy3, good post. You are exactly right.
---
And member 8, you are exactly wrong. Just because you are so sophisticated living in an urban area, you want to deny others' their mail. You are such a clot. I hope you don't eat cheese, eggs, meat, vegetables, drink milk, use items made from cotton or wool, use paper, use electricity, etc......

Posted by: missingwisc | April 12, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

The Post Office has been in decline for decades now. The simple fact is that letter delivery in the era of e-mail and online bill delivery/pay is going extinct. USPS needs to contract to fit the volume of mail. Most days I get one or two pieces and most of the time they are junk (opps! "bulk") pieces. Once or twice a week mail delivery looks more like what they should be doing by my experience. If USPS was a private business it would have either made suitable adjustments or folded long ago. Problem it is yet another government enterprise that is not needed but plods along bloated and bleeding tax payer funds that could be put to use elsewhere. Like how about making Social Security solvent?

Posted by: OscarPhone | April 12, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

srpatterso:
"But hey, Congress can run the health care industry, right? No worries. Health care is NO WAY NEAR as complex as moving a letter from point A to point B. Right? Sorry, I'm trying to "think" like a "progressive," but it just keeps not making sense to me. Maybe "think" isn't the correct word."

You're not "thinking" at all because Congress doesn't run the USPS. It's an independent agency that receives no tax money.

Posted by: presto668 | April 12, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Biggest problem with the Postal Service is it's upper management. Very few if any understand what it takes at the Post Office level to get the job done. The question that needs to be asked is; how many executives in operations ever delivered or processed any mail at the Post Office level or managed anyone who has. The executives in Washington and at the Regional level have no clue what it takes to operate efficiently. Unless you get people who are knowledgeable in operations nothing will change. They have reorganized twice since 1986 and gone through major automation and still can't control costs. Possibly the problem is at the top of the organization. Maybe they need a couple of governors with Postal operation knowledge along with some executives and top managers who know what the workroom floor looks like.

Posted by: grumpster2 | April 12, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Back in the 1960s, when the Post Office was a cabinet department and subsidized by the federal government, it provided far better service at far lower rates than today. A postal service is something governments should provide. It's a far better use of our tax money than many of the corporate giveaways and depletion allowances. It's time the Post Office is again able to work on providing service to citizens instead of figuring out how to cut it back.

Posted by: stuck_in_Lodi | April 12, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

My mother recently retired from a Bulk Mail Center, where they hired people who were incapable of doing the very lifting that comprised their entire jobs - USPS got rid of the lifting test because it was unfair to small women. A guy slept in the trucks every single day, yet he could not be fired. Even people who started out with a good work ethic lost it as soon as they saw his behavior being tolerated. Around 20 years ago, workers had to work hard until they got on permanently. Not the case anymore. Also, promotion is not based upon competence -- there's no civil service testing beyond that initial test. (The test isn't as telling as it ought to be, as cheating is rampant.) Instead, current managers prefer those who are less competent than themselves so that they don't have to look in their rearview mirrors. A couple decades or more of that style of promotion has let to amazing incompetence, especially among low-level managers. Add in ridiculous things -- would you believe that if you work on Saturday night and just a couple hours fall into Sunday that THE ENTIRE SHIFT counts as Sunday and you get paid at the higher Sunday rate? There's a lot more of these workers than you imagine; someone has to process the mail for the carriers who go door to door. Lots of huge hidden costs.

Posted by: sheri2names | April 12, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

For those folks that still use the USPS for first class mail, let's have twice monthly deliveries. All businesses would bill either on the 1st of the month, due the 15th, or bill on the 15th due on last day. For personal letters and cards, we get used to 1800's service. But phones are cheap these days.

Posted by: DavidCurrier1 | April 12, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Although the 1800 or so employees of the GAO probably are a dedicated group of bureaucrats they can’t know everything about everything they are tasked to investigate. Every time some ignorant congressman wants to pass the buck they send the problem to the GAO for a cost benefit analysis which most of the time is ignored if it disagrees with their own personal beliefs. The USPS is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution. No where does it state that it has to make a profit. While moderation and technological changes to the services provided by the USPS are needed in the 21st century, the requirement for some form of the agency still exists…………..

Posted by: tonyholst | April 12, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Slash wages and pensions, do massive lay-offs, break the unions -- sounds like the GOP-approved business model we've been following for 25 years that got us to our current prosperity.

Posted by: handle | April 12, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

"Presto688" Sez: ". . . Congress doesn't run the USPS. It's an independent agency that receives no tax money."

Obviously he's the one "not thinking" as a short Google search reveals: ". . . digging a little deeper provides the truth: the USPS is subsidized. One need only refer to the 2005 annual report to get some illustrative numbers. A line item showing as "U.S. government appropriations — received" lists an amount of $503 million. The 2003 annual report shows a similar line item with a similar heading. That line item lists an amount of $762 million." Sounds like a subsidized USPS to me.

Posted by: OscarPhone | April 12, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

None of you get it. The postal service now exists to subsidize the junk mail printers and advertisers. First class mail used to cover that subsidy but it is going away of its own accord thanks to the internet.

Big corporations and unions get what they want from government, taxpayers be damned. There is not one issue you can point to where that is not true. Add to that the millions of current, former and dependents of USPS employees itself and big mail and you know how this will play out.

Posted by: BlueStaeRed | April 12, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Times are changing. I can't remember the last time I mailed a letter before the census.

Posted by: MILLER123 | April 12, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I like my mailman, but I use email. Do we still need a government agency to deliver junk mail?

Posted by: win_harrington | April 12, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't mess with them guys. When they kill they kill at least 3-5 people. Do you know what would happen if we had 50 of them nuts running around without a job.

Posted by: access11 | April 12, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

My post office already uses private contractors half the time. When a real postal employee delivers, I get my mail. When they use a private contractor, I often get my neighbors' mail and they get mine. Twice, new checks from the bank have been delivered to someone else. Those who deliver the mail need to be appropriately trained and expected to do their jobs. Private contractors are not trained and do not care whether mail gets to the correct destination.

Posted by: tharriso | April 12, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I pay for my Internet connection; I have no desire to subsidize big business's onslaught of useless advertising by having it delivered to my Inbox. I despise the junk mail I get in my mailbox, but at least they paid to annoy me, and I enjoy sending their stuff back in their postage paid return envelopes. Let them pay their way.

And, having grown up when the Postmaster General was a cabinet position, and it was expected that the government would subsidize the postal service (anybody remember those lovely 3-cent purple stamps?), I have never understood why it has to "make a profit". I want cheap postal delivery, subsidized transportation (after all, highways are paid for by the government ... why not trains?), and all the other things we grew up with. Back when the top marginal tax rate was 90% on the wealthy ... who just had to work harder to be wealthy!

Posted by: littleoldlady | April 12, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Saturday service should be cut. Fedex and UPS still deliver on Saturday and smaller storefront delivery services are open on saturdays, so you can still get mail. Compensation packages probably should be renegotiated, but the posters who think that compensation and benefits should be eliminated are ridiculous. Everyone is always trying to compare private and public pay/benefits, but you can't. The Capitalist monster is a separate animal altogether and it plays by different rules with thegovernment's blessing. Moreover, there are some government agencies who are under non-appropriated funds (they don't get fully federally subsidized) so that you don't have to pay even higher taxes, esp. considering the fact that postage stamps were a tax in themselves in the first place. So some posters need to think before blurting out insensitive remarks.

Posted by: lidiworks1 | April 12, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

USPS has SEVERAL problems. First - EVERY time that they take a rate increase, the service gets noticeably worse. That gives people TWO reasons to find other choices - higher prices and poor service. Second - USPS has all of the built-in government and union inefficiencies so there is no long-term hope of holding down costs or saving money. Third - retirement costs at this semi-governmental agency, like at all governmental agencies, are out of control and have no connection to what happens in the private sector - so it's like having an anchor for the current employees to lug around without any motivation to do so. Forth - USPS still clings to the idea that clogging their system with tons of junk mail and flyers at rock bottom prices is somehow a good business practice when clearly that kind of approach became unworkable years ago. And Fifth, there are SO MANY different people to please that regardless of what action the USPS takes, it gets criticized or loses more money than it did previously.

The solutions to the variety of problems at USPS are probably a top to bottom re-making of the entire agency, with an end result focusing on service, instead of long lines at each post office while one or two SLOW clerks move ever so slowly behind the counter while other clerks "hide" behind the barrier. The mail carriers who actually deliver the mail appear to work fairly hard. But the "office jockies" and postal service management could certainly use some lessons in customer service and management efficiency.

Posted by: tsm11 | April 12, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Junk mail is not the problem. It is pre-sorted by the direct mailer. The Letter Carriers Union refuses to recognize that the way final sorting of first class mail must be mechanized as well.

Posted by: 12361 | April 12, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

The notion that "outsourcing" anything will save money is ludicrous. DoD outsourced lots of things after 9/11 and show me where it saved a penny. That said, there are plenty of places to save money in the P.O. including eliminating Saturday mail; however, until the CONGRESS changes the law to stop subsidizing junk mail by allowing them to use absurdly low rates, the P.O. will never break even. If the "outsourcers" are hell-bent on doing something, let them outsource junk mail delivery. Good luck on finding any company willing to take that job on for the rates currently being charged.

Posted by: Pearl77 | April 12, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: bobbo2 | April 12, 2010 7:55 AM

"First step is dump the Union. Second is revamp the retirement system. No business can run with the kind of outlays the Post Office has for retirement."

Yeah and that's what you said about unionized mine workers.

Posted by: knjincvc | April 12, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Funny how there's no mention of the messed-up ratio of manager positions to normal postal employees or the 'we'll buy your home if you move' program in the article of flawed business models..

Posted by: ilpalazzo | April 12, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Just like the auto industry the labor unions have priced the hourly wage out of any viable service model for the USPS. Congress is not going to deal with this polically hot union issue in any election cycle.

Posted by: davefl53 | April 12, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I dread going to the post office. They have 2 lines open, except at lunch time and after work when it gets busy. Then they cut it to one while peple standing in line hear laughter and horse-play behind the wall! They go as slow as they can and are totally inefficient in their set up!
I WOULD RATHER CUT OFF MY ARM THAN GO THERE! Aren't they UNIONIZED? That would explain A LOT!!!!

Posted by: alabound | April 12, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the government couldn't even manage a National Postal Service. How can Obama and the DemoRats expect the government to manage the National Health Care ? In term of WASTE and INEFFICIENCY and FRAUD that will come with the government-managed health care, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Posted by: Haha3 | April 12, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

It's very obvious from reading these posts that 99% of you have never worked for the Postal Service. Well, I DO. You're all for three day delivery, privatization, consolidation, etc. UNTIL...the day will come when you have to MAIL an important document or package ASAP and your local post office is closed, there will be no mail pickup that day (or the next!) or you have to drive a long way to the nearest facility. Some posters are correct: not everyone in the country uses e-mail or has a fax machine handy. The Postal Service isn't perfect, but name ONE business that is! It's easy to sit in your easy chairs and criticize postal workers...why don't you come and do my job for one day?! After being on your feet for eight hours, when your sweaty and exhausted from all the hustling you'll do to process the mail on time, then tell me with a straight face how lazy and overpaid I am! If you want to criticize your letter carrier, drive their truck one day and see what it's really like to do their job, then tell them they're overpaid and what a cushy job they've got. You think privatizing the Postal Service is the answer? I read enough complaints on this forum to fill a book. What will these companies pay their workers to, you know, keep costs down? Minimum wage or a little above that? What kind of service do you think you'll get then?? And since private companies are all about $$, do you REALLY believe they'll charge less than the Postal Service for a first class stamp? Better be careful what you wish for...you might get it!!

Posted by: caggro59 | April 12, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I am sure that many of you personally know postal workers as I do. Because of what they have told me about the amount of work that they do in a day I would suggest that they follow the UPS example and put an efficiency expert in their trucks on a regular basis and they would discover that 50% of the time they are not working. The union would never allow it of course as their reps are some of the worst offenders.

Posted by: crlos3 | April 12, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Just jack the stamp to 75cents and get it over with! Heck, move it to a buck and hire more postal workers! Stimulus to the postal service! It's going there anyway!

Posted by: amawoods | April 12, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I don't know how many years it has been since the Post Office decided to raise prices and lower service. Each time, it seems they lose more and more money and the cycle continues.

I believe that the price of commercial and bulk mail and packages, signing services, insurance should be reduced, that 6 day delivery should stay in place, that they should reorganize under chapter 11, to shed their excessive weight, and compete on all packages, even doing customs clearances.

I don't see UPS or FedEx moving anything that is not profitable, and the post office should do the same.

Read: http://theHARVview.blogspot.com

Posted by: HarveyY | April 12, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Where do people get this idea that private companies are better run, more efficient? What possible evidence could you have to reach that conclusion? Look around you, for God's sake.

Posted by: Wallenstein | April 12, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

".... Postal Service will lose a record $7 billion in the..."

SO! That's 13 days in Iraq.

I suggest going to every other day delivery which would not interfere with moving mail within states or sorting operations. Large business usually have a service which picks up mail from the USPS and returns outgoing mail to USPS.

Suggestions to close rural PO's is problematic because of the number of residences who use PO boxes which saves money in the long run by not having mail delivered to each home.

Another time saving suggestion would be to use clustered mailbox locations like many new home developments currently use.

Posted by: knjincvc | April 12, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

The progressive communist rats at the GAO tell the other progressive communist rats in congress that the government businesses are failing utterly. And Just like MAO and STALIN, OBAMA will press the gas pedal to the metal! They never fail to accelerate the failure, because these psychopaths care more about being right than killing millions. We are headed down the very same path right now. The health care is riddled with death panels (Krugman danced in the streets about this cost saving measure after passage) to end lives based on political viewpoint.

OBAMA is the worst most vile rat vermin traitor ever. He is very comfortable presiding over America's decline, he HATES America.

Posted by: mickrussom | April 12, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse


I think eliminating Wednesday delivery and making a 1/6 headcount reduction (fire junior workers and no replacements) is just what ole zippy needs.

Don't give him Saturday. That's what he wants the most.

As far as those who argue eliminating Wednesday is not viable because of business use. Business operates just fine on Presidents Day without ole unionized zippy. We really don't need zippy at all.

Posted by: reagansbutton | April 12, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Stop subsidizing junk mail and catalogs, in fact solicitous mail and catalogs should pay a higher fee. Why does our office need dozens of copies of the same catalogs despite our efforts to get them to stop sending them. I think Saturday delivery is important as it is the one day that many people are home and can actually accept mail that needs to be signed for. Cut out a weekday. And, talk about golden benefits, why should postal employees get better benefits than others?

Posted by: aronmor | April 12, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Nobody is forcing anyone to use USPS. Mail your letters UPS or FedEx if you thinks it's more reliable and cost effective and you'll be supporting corporate America and giving money to the government that you hate so much.

Posted by: blarsen1 | April 12, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I find USPS prices already high, considering their complete lack of any sense of urgency with respect to performing their jobs. When I go pick up a package at my post office, it can take 45 minutes to get through the line...clerks gibbering back and forth unnecessarily with gabby customers. To me, looking at the post office is why government health care won't work.
If the USPS raises rates further, I will likely shift over to UPS/FedEx exclusively. It's much better service when someone appreciates your business instead of treating you like you never had a choice.

Posted by: allhaileris | April 12, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Let's see... The USPS is a constitutionally authorized function of government. Is the Social Security Administration? Health and Human Services?

Posted by: wave41 | April 12, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Yesiree, the same people who will now manage our health care system. Great, just great.

I can hear it now, "Comrades, the government health service will not be available on weekends to to increased costs; please call again on Monday".

Aren't union pensions great!

Posted by: CogsUSA | April 12, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: ilpalazzo, Apr 12, 2010 1:31 PM
"Funny how there's no mention of the messed-up ratio of manager positions to normal postal employees or the 'we'll buy your home if you move' program in the article of flawed business models.."

Sooo palazzo, what is the messed-up ratio of manager positions to normal postal employees?
And how many 'we'll buy your home if you move' buys actually happen for the average letter carrier?
My guess is "ZERO"! Maybe management just like other big companies.


Posted by: davefl53 |
"Just like the auto industry the labor unions have priced the hourly wage out of any viable service model for the USPS. Congress is not going to deal with this polically hot union issue in any election cycle."

Soo dave, explain what you mean by priced out of any viable service model for the USPS.

I don't know what a USPS employee makes but are you suggesting they shouldn't earn a middle class wage? What should a postal worker earn to deliver mail?

Auto workers earning $57,000/year + 30% benefits didn't bankrupt auto companies ... it was inept management, private jets etc

Posted by: knjincvc | April 12, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Obama can't run a simple Post Office....yet he thinks he can run a multi-trillion dollar Health plan......just think how much he will overrun that on costs! We are all screwed.

Posted by: Realist201 | April 12, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Several comments say "privatize," and that may be the only solution. USPS does not neet to compete to stay in business; as a result, duties are sometimes not done, or not done well, and no one answers for that. Example: if USPS loses a piece of Priority Mail, their legal office will say that USPS no longer maintains the equipment to track registration numbers on Priority Mail. No one takes responsibility to interrogate the postmasters involved or their carriers about the lost mail. USPS washes its hands of the loss, and no one answers for that. UPS and FedEx would go out of business, if they performed so poorly.

Posted by: Beades | April 12, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: CogsUSA | April 12, 2010 2:16 PM
"Aren't union pensions great!

I don't know but there are 29 families in WV you could ask.

Posted by: knjincvc | April 12, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Why not just deliver mail on Mon, Wed and Fri? The current delivery system is usually a 2 or 3 day window one way or the other. So it seems to me the average person would not notice if a piece of mail (usually junk anyway) comes on Monday or Wed. Six day a week delivery is just crazy.

Posted by: Gorbud1 | April 12, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: 12361 | April 12, 2010 1:19 PM
"Junk mail is not the problem. It is pre-sorted by the direct mailer. The Letter Carriers Union refuses to recognize that the way final sorting of first class mail must be mechanized as well."

Sooo ... how does a machine recognize a hand addressed envelope?
You are making a statement you can't support.
Many business return envelopes come with a bar code for mechanization but it's a stretch to claim "The Letter Carriers Union refuses to recognize that the way final sorting ..." or whatever you are trying to say.

Posted by: knjincvc | April 12, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

The Union that the postal system has is one of the best in the nation (for them, not so for us) and thats the reason why they are so much in the red. The Post must relook their wages and medical (cheapest in the states for the employee), then if so go back to M-F work. Even after akk this time if Sat delevery I still can't get use to it. (Old timer here) Busniess will just have to ajust like they did before. See thats the problem here, we spoil ourselves with into being broke, if the states and the post office would just take away a few of them "Nice" things they do now and go back to some of the ways they did, I believe a lot of money problems would be sloved. Stop the "Save the ant Projects" Let CA fall off into the ocean of just shut them out from the rest of the U.S., they leave their state and raise havoc with every state they go to, saying this is how we did it in CA, I have neighbor who just move here from there and I told him to move his butt back there,if thats the way he wants it, other wise bug off...Here in AZ our drivers license are good until your 65!!! Yea, one time shot and maybe every 15 yrs you get your picture updated...And now they want to raise the sells tax!! I say put the driver license back the way it was (every 3-4 yr renewal) and your shotfall is gone plus a few more people will have jobs.

Plus if one looks the MAIN reason company go belly who have unions is the union, My dad work for Firestone for 37 yr in Akron, until they went belly up and said it was the union and their silly demands that put Firestone upside down. You won't even find a building left in Akron with Firestone on it, they level all the factorys, stores, Main office building, everything is gone now like it was never there...

Posted by: dman00194875 | April 12, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

93 million Americans do not have broadband access and rely on the Post Office.

Posted by: Mellodyj | April 12, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

There was a time when the post offic broke even. This was before they started outsourcing everything and letting congress raid the funds. Their comission was to break even. The post office never made a profit and was not designed to do so. But this also was before all the junk mail came into the system. If they want to stay viable in todays market then deliver the mail and get rid of the junk mail or charge them a standard rate like the rest of us have to pay. That would stop a lot of problems and even with an increased work load they should be able to continue to do the job they were formed to do. There is to much waste and slouth in the goverement today with people wanting a pay check but not working for it.

Posted by: jmsmaxwell | April 12, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

the only thing not viable about the usps is gov't trying to turn a profit on anything. this is a gov't service, not an advertising medium for bottom feeding mass mailer companies. typically my garbage cans are over a third full of crap i didn't ask for, never look at and were delivered into my mailbox. you're not going to convince me that a bunch of a career civil servants got the upper hand on these ad exec's. it's a losing "business" it never should have happened to begin with in a gov't agency.

but woo-hoo let's give these people decisions over our health care. oops i probably just disqualified myself from obamacare. i criticized, so im a racist, so im mentally deficient, so i can't get an appt because they're rationing our health care because IT'S JUST NOT A VIABLE BUSINESS AAAAAAHHHH!!!

Posted by: steverooni | April 12, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Bad business model?
When it cost as much to send a letter to Alaska or Florida as it does across the street, I's say so. Why they don't charge more for delivery based on distance is beyond me.

Posted by: stevezajac | April 12, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Our "Government" can't find it's own buttocks with both hands and a special "find your own buttocks" iPhone app; how in Hades will they ever do anything simple like run the Post Office efficiently? As for "privatizing" the operation, yeah, right...see how well it has worked in the past for everything from prisons, education, and military operations? Yes, that is a joke...

Posted by: wcmillionairre | April 12, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Is there any US government organization that runs effectively?? efficiently?? I dought it. The US government is notoriously bloated... and nobody seems to care about the concept of streamlining... opting to just give someone a job... reguardless if they are worth their weight. The Postal Service is no different... Ive seen some truely useless personnel serving the postal service.... just go to any post office. What does it take to get fired from the government?? :)

Posted by: BobbyYarush | April 12, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

The postal service's demise is akin to the end of the horse as a means of transportaion. Email, once a neologism, now a quotidian word, is superior to snail mail except for bill payment (there still exist security problems) and certified letters.

Posted by: Martial | April 12, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Package delivery, of course, is a different matter. If may well be that home delivery of packages becomes a thing of the past. One would need to go to a regional pickup zone. Non-businesses usually do not need daily delivery of packages. On the other hand, the agon between the needs of businesses who require daily shipments and the ability of the nation to ship them will be acute.

Posted by: Martial | April 12, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I believe part of the problem lies in the USPS fee structure. I received a junk mailing today with nineteen cents postage; not even half of first class!

If they are going to operate as a business they are going to have to impose adequate rates on all classes of mail.

To argue that raising the fees will result in fewer mailings is vacuous; losing money on the present fees is just factually poor business practice.

Posted by: scrub-brush | April 12, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Is the GAO a group of geniuses, or what?? Masters of the Obvious, that's what they are. The USPS is a microcosm of how the federal government cannot run ANYTHING efficiently, nor cost effectively. oops.. I forgot that the GAO are govt employees as well... I rest my case...

Posted by: martifr | April 12, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I recommend the USPS contract with private firms (e.g. UPS and Fedex)to deliver 1 week of mail for each residential address on a day selected by the owner. All mail for that address should be collected and delivered at once. It is better for the recipient to get it all at once rather than have to deal with a little each day.

Legal documents and other "special delivery" could be done by a postman on an as-needed basis as such legally significant pieces of mail for which USPS has special responsibility are very rare.

Posted by: Karl_Quick | April 12, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I wonder, has the GAO ever studied itself to see if it is "viable"? We hear time and again about the GAO saying this or that but I can't recall the GAO ever doing something that convinces Congress to pass or not pass a law. I checked and it appears that the GAO costs the American taxpayer $600+ a year. Crazy!

Posted by: francisbaken | April 12, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

That is $600+ million a year.

Posted by: francisbaken | April 12, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I work for the USPS in Chicago(downtown) and what I have found is that the Postal Service is not only top heavy with a bunch of self-seeking, vindictive managers who have no regards to rules, regulations or contractual agreements. Since 26Mar10, they pay me and other employees our full salary to not process the mail. We sit in a room, on what they say is 'standby' and do absolutely nothing while mail is shuffled from one area to the next, hidden and or just plain ignored. We are a class of on the job injured employees that they(management) would like to just go away. I was allowed to get hurt when I was 7 months pregnant. From that moment on I and others have been treated like bulk rate mail. We do have value because we re-wrap packages that have been damaged; match up checks to envelopes so the customer's bills can be paid because the customer forgot to seal the envelope or the automated machines tore the mail up; return letters/packages due to improper postage(revenue generated not lost), etc. The list can go on. Those people who do not touch the mail(managers) are making unbusinesslike decisions that are costing the Postal Service. In closing, will someone please take a look at the number of lawsuits(EEO and otherwise) across these United States of America involving the Postal Service. The Postal Service just paid out large sums of cash to injured employees and is about to make another pay-out. The APWU branch in Chicago has already given the Postal Service cart blanch to do whatever it is they want to do to the clerk craft employees. I say, the re-organization act did not help the Postal Service(smoke and mirrors) so rope those little doggies back under the federal government with a watchful eye and retrain them to be about business because privitization of the United States Postal Service will not work.

Posted by: heavyduticutie | April 12, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

The Postal Service is a viable government entity relying on revenues from stamps and services. It receives no tax money nor subsidies contrary to all the media hacks. It has agreements with UPS and FedEx that serve everyone's interest. Most consumers have no idea what the USPS does, how it does it nor the laws that bind it to the Federal government. Most just relate some third party stories that are usually negative and false. Go USPS, U deliver to me and America and Saturday delivery could be curtailed to reduce costs. Everyone does not have internet and the mails are still relied on by many.

Posted by: trinoak | April 12, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

For over 200 years the post office was able to deliver the mail. It used to deliver twice a day. This is another example of the starve the beast mentality and union bashing. Unemployment is over 10%. If we close the post office what will it be? Ridiculous.
Aimlow Joe
http://www.aimlow.com

Posted by: aimlowjoe | April 12, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I live at a very rural location. UPS and FedEx comes to my door. The package services are REMARKABLY fast! (I shop via the Internet or meds and medical supplies, and just about anything of significant value.)

USPS mail requires me to go to the head of our private road and check the mailbox, which is usually empty or only has junk mail in it.

So ... let me decide! Provide an option where I can select to receive all my mail at once, once a week by UPS or FedEx. If I need to send mail (which is very rare since I pay bills via the Internet and make bank deposits via the Internet) I'll drive to the post office.

Problem solved.

Posted by: Karl_Quick | April 12, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone bothered to watch what happens in a Post Office when a package or letter is sent. Obviously, no one has done a time and motion study of the Post office employees or the manner in which the individual offices are set up. Horrible waste of time, each package or letter is walked over to a bin, sometimes 10 feet from the counter. Obviously, the PO offers services not available at UPS. However, the PO could learn how to be much more efficient by allowing the customers access to computers to put in the destination of each parcel post mailing, as UPS, set up a mail conveyor system to avoid the wasted time walking to and from the counter to the shipping bin. Likewise, the work each agent has to do to get certain items mailed is excessive. There is no reason why the PO cannot be competitive and not loose money, is someone got serious about correcting the problems in the organizational chart of each local office.

Posted by: atc333 | April 12, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

the one best fix isn't mentioned; competition; my post office closes mid morning for 45 minutes, removed trash cans so you can't leave junk mail, etc.; any other business run this way they would be shut because someone else would do better; remember years ago, guy in boston started business to deliver mail next day for business customers, and usps lawyers shut him down; usps approach is charge more do less; imagine, removing clocks as a solution to long wait times; a comical excuse for a business

Posted by: mikemccl | April 12, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water. There needs to be accountablity , firing, production quotes and rasies base on performance. It soem cases firing as many are harding working and need a job. Potter's part of that right wing now-con take anything that resemebles democratio socil justice apart. School-public, libraries, health care an SS. and medicare. These saftey nets help those less fortunate raise bettter children and a more educated society.

Posted by: crrobin | April 12, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Privatization! The Sacred Cow! The Holy Grail! USPS is a SERVICE ORGANIZATION and has been so for well over 200 years. Instead of paying a CEO millions of dollars, and workers closer to minimum wages, USPS has a much less disparate wage scale. Thanks to the Unions which organized in 1970 in response to the many management abuses then rampant in the Post Office Department. Is there something wrong with raising the bar for laborers? I mean ALL of us who labor? Being a service organization means that EVERYONE gets affordable service, rather than just those who can afford it. I don't think that is part of the profit-motivated companies' philosophy. As for getting rid of some of its employees, it might be wise to clean house of its overabundance of managers, since the actual labor force is struggling to maintain customer service in the face of drastically reduced staffing. Times are changing, and USPS is trying to change with them by downsizing and streamlining. Anyone who has traveled out of this country knows that the United States Postal Service is one of the best bargains in the world. There is still a place in this country for service organizations whose purpose is SERVICE for all, not profit for the few. Let's keep it that way.

Posted by: shoshonewalker | April 12, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

You can comment all you'd like, privatization ain't gonna happen. And if it did, it would be on such a limited scale for decades that most of you wouldn't notice a choice or a difference. The start-up costs alone would be prohibitive for any company in the business of making a profit.

You complain about getting only one or two pieces of mail a day, but what you don't realize is that millions of new addresses are added each year. Homes are built, population grows, and people need their mail. USPS has to adjust to that in order to give the universal service they are OBLIGATED to provide. They don't have a choice. Everyone in the country gets their mail every day that there's a delivery.

So, your carrier used to deliver 5,000 pieces of mail to 500 homes each day, and now delivers 4,000 pieces to 800 homes. He or she still has to drive or walk to every mailbox, whether that box gets one piece or 100. The routes are re-adjusted every few months to keep costs down, then you complain because your mail used to come at 10 a.m. and now doesn't come until 5 p.m. Then you complain because it's all junk. But don't complain to USPS, complain to the company that sent it. You didn't pay the postage.

Some of you need to do some research before hitting the submit button. Or maybe just stop and think for a change.

Posted by: jinxxy3 | April 12, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

The military isn't viable either, but it's a necessary part of our country. Most of our gov't agencies aren't viable. But the Post Office is a necessary part of us. It should be taken back under the gov't and given subsidies to continue to perform it's duties as it has performed since Benjamin Franklin was First Postmaster General.

Posted by: scrappymomtotwins | April 12, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

INTERESTING!
CONSIDER THE CENSUS.
First came a notice that the Census Form would be recieved within a week.
Second Came the Census Form.
It was prepaid return postage.
Third came the notice to return the Census Form.
So their were FOUR reduced rate postings, by the Federal Government.
Then come all those "Newsletters" from your elected official. These are subsidized by what you pay for postage, as well as your TAX DOLLARS.
Notice how they increase as elections draw near!
Then comes all those campaign brochures, Subsidized by the cost of stamps.
And all those advertising flyers, for products you never heard of, have no use for, and would not accept if they paid you to take them. Yep, your purchase of $0.42 stamps helps pay for them.

Posted by: laurelphoto | April 13, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Well, I just received todays Mail Delivery.
Item 1. An statement from the Federal Government. POSTAGE SUBSIDIZED.
Item 2. The Telephone MONOPLY asking me to buy additional unneeded services. POSTAGE SUBSIDIZED.
Item 3. An adervitisment from a company that had already determained that their product / service was inoperable at my address. POSTAGE SUBSIDIZED.
Item 4. An solicitation for funds. If that sounds like pr0stituti0n, it probably is. POSTAGE SUBSIDIZED.
Item 5. A National Charge Card Bank wants me to pay interest. POSTAGE SUBSIDIZED.
ONE OF FIVE ITEMS WORTHWELL. ALL POSTAGE SUBSIDIZED.
Wonder why the POSTAL SERVICE is losing money?

Posted by: laurelphoto | April 13, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

The USPS get no federal funding. we taxpayers give nothing to the PO through the OMB and GPO and Congress.

Posted by: Rockvillers | April 13, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Delivery for businesses should be Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Home delivery should be Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. If you need daily delivery get a PO Box at the postoffice. or UPS store. We have to get costs under control in all government areas....

Posted by: rmdsemail | April 13, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I must say it is very interesting and entertaining to read these comments. I am a 25 year veteran of the USPS and made a very good living there. My wife got a promotion to Postal Inspector and instead of finding her a position in Florida where we lived they forced us to move and paid the real estate commission of $50k and $15k in moving costs. I work the counter and try to be fast and efficient but recently received discipline because I refuse to follow a script. Most postal employees are hard working people. The problem is bloated incompetent management. Needless multiple layers of managers doing paperwork and reports that have nothing to do with moving the mail. We used to call my manager and postmaster Bevis and Buthead, they were that stupid. Promotions are given out on a "good buddy" system. Bring in some outside management from the private sector and clean things up.

Posted by: superduty455 | April 14, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

If the USPS would simply get rid of the Board of Governors or the PRC and gut the top level management, the prganization would be on the way to financial viability posthaste. We are management topheavy and the powers that be continue to energetically and brutally slash the rolls of mailhandlers, clerks, and carriers, the people who actually move the mail. All we really need to do is get rid of some VPs and managers who continue to make stupid and wasteful purchasing decisions for their lucrative kickbacks.
Viability accomplished!

Posted by: CSRSOLDTIMER | April 14, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Wow - what a lively debate.

One thing I didn't notice (or maybe I simply missed it) is the fact that the USPS has been OVERCHARGED 75 BILLION dollars for pension liabilities that should be paid by the federal Treasury since they relate to service before Congress replaced the old Post Office Department with the modern U.S. Postal Service.

The Postmaster General told Congress that if that money was repaid, six day delivery would not be reduced to five day delivery. He has initiated action to reduce delivery from 6 days to 5, even after making that statement to Congress.

The red ink would turn to black ink if the money was repaid to the USPS. The USPS had been turning a profit for years until the bubble burst about 3 years ago. Oh, and the profits that weren't used for operations and modernization were gratefully accepted by Congress to use for other pressing needs - like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If the USPS goes to a 5 day delivery week (which requires an Act of Congress), one out of every six letter carriers would lose their jobs. I don't think in this economy that adding another 35,000 people to the unemployment rolls is a good idea. That doesn't include the loss of jobs to clerks, mail handlers, truck drivers and other "behind the scenes" employees.

When UPS restructured recently, they eliminated 1,800 management jobs. To save money, the USPS has tried to accomplish the same goal, to reduce the costs of wages. Since 2005, the USPS has eliminated approximately 1 out of every 5 clerks and approximately 1 out of every 8 city carriers. At their headquarters in Washington, D.C., they have eliminated approximately 1 out of every 45 bosses. 235 jobs lost with over 11,000 remaining - that's just in D.C. alone! It doesn't take into account the redundant layers of management throughout the organization. They still need all the bosses, although there are much fewer craft employees.

Maybe if Congress initiated an independent review of all the employees of the USPS, they would find what many of us already know: The management system is bloated, overpaid, and given bonuses even when the company is possibly losing money.

Maintain Universal Service, retain six day delivery, cut management and allow the craft employees to do their jobs - there's the prescription for a viable business.

Posted by: SJL4spidey | April 16, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

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