1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Postal Service to end Saturday mail delivery in bid to cut costs

Discussion in 'The OT' started by fluffybear, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. Mar 26, 2013 #81 of 114
    AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    3,783
    107
    Nov 20, 2004
    College...
    A "Sagan" is four billion, because in order for something to be "billions and billions' (which Sagan never actrually said: Johnny Carson did) each of the constituent components would have to be at least 2 billion to themsleves be billions.
     
  2. Apr 5, 2013 #82 of 114
    Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Supreme Member

    8,687
    38
    Sep 20, 2004
    Galactic Empire
    That cannot be done by law. A constitutional amendment is most likely necessary, because the Constitution specifies that one of Congress's powers is to establish a national post office, as such, categorizing it as an arm of the federal government, even if in a quasi-sense.
     
  3. Apr 5, 2013 #83 of 114
    Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Supreme Member

    8,687
    38
    Sep 20, 2004
    Galactic Empire
    ABC News a few months ago, just before the price of stamps was raised to 46c, explained that when they ran the numbers, the USPS would completely break even every year if they raised the price of stamps to 63c (if my memory serves me correctly). As much of an opponent I am of just raising taxes and other such things, I would have NO problem with raising the price of First-Class stamps to 63c or even more, if the latter is necessary to make the USPS profitable. This is because the higher price affects only those who use the service, and not everyone all the time; and personally, I find 63c or even 75c a fair price to pay to get my letter or other important item from me to someone else or a company halfway across the country.

    Of course, I'm all for cost-cutting and making things more efficient within the USPS, but for starters, raising the stamps to a much higher amount than what they are today is a good beginning.
     
  4. Apr 5, 2013 #84 of 114
    Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

    37,060
    287
    Jun 18, 2006
    Mark the date, and mark it well:

    I completely agree with Lord Vader. I propose raising the rate for first class mail to 75 cents, raising the rate for presort ("junk mail") as well, and allowing the postal service to negotiate special rates for "megaclients" like Netflix.

    Other countries have postal rates 4 and 5 times higher than ours.
     
  5. Apr 5, 2013 #85 of 114
    Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Supreme Member

    8,687
    38
    Sep 20, 2004
    Galactic Empire
    You SEE why my signature makes so much sense? ;)

    Ah, yet another one joins the growing list of members... :righton:
     
  6. Apr 5, 2013 #86 of 114
    sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

    14,583
    369
    Sep 5, 2006
    Allen, TX
    I actually agree with LV, too. I feel dirty. :lol:

    IMO, the USPS could completely end and I'd be fine.
     
  7. Apr 5, 2013 #87 of 114
    Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Supreme Member

    8,687
    38
    Sep 20, 2004
    Galactic Empire
    Come on in! There's plenty of room, but it's slowly getting crowded. :D

    I'd honestly miss it. I don't know why (yes, I do, but I won't get into that), but I like it when I go to the mailbox and there is a lot of stuff there. Mondays are always the biggest days--numerous items in my box. Tuesdays are the worst. Usually only one or two junk pieces. I feel so let down when that happens. :crying_sa
     
  8. Apr 5, 2013 #88 of 114
    wilbur_the_goose

    wilbur_the_goose Hall Of Fame

    4,476
    49
    Aug 16, 2006
    I saw today that the USPS laid off 12k people in March.
     
  9. Apr 6, 2013 #89 of 114
    djlong

    djlong Hall Of Fame

    4,343
    57
    Jul 8, 2002
    New Hampshire
    How about removing the most unfair burden the USPS has to comply with - they have to forward-fund their pensions just like NO OTHER ORGANIZATION IN THE COUNTRY.

    That alone will save the FIVE BILLION dollars per year.

    I'm no fan of the USPS - their working conditions contributed to my marriage breaking up (didn't CAUSE it, but it was a contributing factor to my wife's emotional state) - but I've yet to understand why the USPS was single out for this onerous financial anchor when they were already struggling to make ends meet.
     
  10. Apr 6, 2013 #90 of 114
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    45,324
    914
    Apr 17, 2003
    Michiana
    What happens when a company with an underfunded pension plan goes out of business? The people who were promised a pension do not get what they earned.
    What happens when a company funding pensions out of their current income has a decrease in income? Their pension plan becomes underfunded.

    Much of the bad press over the USPS pension funding comes from estimating the financial obligation over many years. If the USPS ended business today there would be no pension for the people they have not hired yet. But the estimation of their obligation assumes that they will stay in business and need to pay pensions to future hires.

    What really needs to be looked at is how well the pension is funded. If the USPS ended business today is there enough in the pension fund to cover all current obligations? Or would former USPS employees be relying on the government to cover the deficiency?

    That is what the pension funding request is all about ... making sure that the USPS is covering their pensions, not just now but into the future when less people are using the service and there is less income available to "pay as you go". Paying their own obligations is a burden ... but it should be a burden on the USPS not the federal government.

    Every company should fund their own pensions. And while most are not asked to prove that they are fully funded (shut the doors today and every promise will be kept) the USPS is in a unique position that when their pension fund fails former employees will want their money from the government. That expectation is less or non-existent when it comes to other companies.
     
  11. Apr 7, 2013 #91 of 114
    djlong

    djlong Hall Of Fame

    4,343
    57
    Jul 8, 2002
    New Hampshire
    The USPS pension fund is not underfunded. The unfairness is that they are required to FORWARD FUND the pension fund. That's like saying you have to pay 5 years ahead on your mortgage.

    The USPS pension fund WAS fully funded by any accounting standards. Unlike other corporations, they didn't raid the pension fund to make ends meet or let it die in a corporate merger.

    What the USPS objects to is the EXTRA $5B/year they have to pay IN ADDITION to normal contributions.
     
  12. Apr 7, 2013 #92 of 114
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    45,324
    914
    Apr 17, 2003
    Michiana
    "Until 2006, the USPS handled its retiree health benefits on a "pay as you go" basis. They weren't pre-funded; the service simply paid retirees' health bills as they arose, reporting only those expenses. Because the cost of actually providing health care to retirees in a given year is less than the value of benefits current workers are accruing, that meant the post office was understating the cost of retiree health care."

    "Then in 2006, Congress forced the post office to start prefunding its benefits for retiree health care on a schedule designed to reach full funding in 10 years. Now, the Postal Service is supposed to put about $8 billion a year toward retiree health care."

    "But the so-called "normal cost" of health benefits -- the value of the benefits current postal employees are accruing this year [...] is only about $3 billion. To the extent the post office pays the other $5 billion, that shouldn't be counted as an expense; it is going to pay off the Postal Service's debts."

    Their debt being what the USPS owes the fund for not pre-funding future obligations prior to 2006.

    The key is what happens if the USPS went out of business today. Would their fund be at a point where all of their obligations be paid? NO.
    What happens as the USPS suffers a decrease in income and volume while the obligation to retirees continues?

    Another point to remember ... even though the USPS failed to pay the $5 billion that they were required to pay to help bring the fund up to where it should be they lost money. Blaming the post office's financial mess on a $5 million payment they failed to make is like complaining that you don't have any money in your pocket after not paying your mortgage.
     
  13. Apr 7, 2013 #93 of 114
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    45,324
    914
    Apr 17, 2003
    Michiana
    [​IMG]
    Projected is based on continuing the 7% average decline in 1st class mail volume seen over the past five years.

    [​IMG]

    Fix this and the Post Office is in better shape.
     
  14. Apr 8, 2013 #94 of 114
    longrider

    longrider Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

    3,954
    169
    Apr 21, 2007
    Elizabeth, CO
    Too bad those graphs are not to the same scale. What is interesting is that even though First Class has dropped 33% from peak to 2012 total volume has only dropped 25% Also First Class peaked in 2001 but total after a slight dip reached a new peak in 2006 before crashing.
     
  15. Apr 8, 2013 #95 of 114
    Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    21,579
    376
    Jan 7, 2005
    Kittrell, NC
    A lot of first class mail (personal and business letters) has been replaced by email. Another chunk (personal and business bill paying) has been replaced by online payments.

    The "old faithful" regular volume of stuff that the post office could depend on to pay the bills just isn't happening anymore.

    They could pick up the slack in other deliveries, like packages, IF they were allowed to compete in the same way as UPS and Fed Ex. When restrictions to compete with the USPS were relaxed to allow package delivery companies like UPS and Fed Ex, it came with the restriction that they couldn't compete in the "letter" business since that was the bread & butter.

    But... over time, package delivery turns out to be profitable and the other stuff has been melting away... The post office could be more competitive on package delivery since they visit every house/business every day with some tweaks to their routine and more bigger mail trucks.

    IF the USPS isn't allowed to change and compete, they will go away.
     
  16. Apr 8, 2013 #96 of 114
    Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Supreme Member

    8,687
    38
    Sep 20, 2004
    Galactic Empire
    Call me old-fashioned, and I don't do it much at all (only 3 sent in the last 12 months), but there's nothing like a hand-written or printed personal letter sent via First Class Mail. If it doesn't have to be there right away via Email, I'll pen a letter and drop it into the mail. I just think that in some odd way, it carries more meaning or impact.
     
  17. Apr 8, 2013 #97 of 114
    Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    21,579
    376
    Jan 7, 2005
    Kittrell, NC
    I don't send letters... but I do still handwrite a lot of stuff before I type it. I do a lot of idea-scribbling on notepads before I type things into the computer.
     
  18. Apr 8, 2013 #98 of 114
    Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Supreme Member

    8,687
    38
    Sep 20, 2004
    Galactic Empire
    I send out only a couple per year, intentionally so.

    My late great uncle, my father's uncle, was a retired Polish pastor in the Chicago Archdiocese. He died a couple summers ago in his mid-90s. He was sharp and witty till the end, and he hand wrote general letters to me and to my brother once or twice per year. I answered back in kind. I loved getting those and responding. I miss them, though.

    There's nothing like a USPS-delivered personal letter. It just seems to have more meaning and be from the heart than anything typewritten or computer generated.
     
  19. Apr 8, 2013 #99 of 114
    longrider

    longrider Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

    3,954
    169
    Apr 21, 2007
    Elizabeth, CO
    They are competing in packages (at least small packages) At my work we started shipping USPS over the winter and in small packages (say the size of a desktop calculator) to a residence they are very competitive, sometimes as little as 50% of the FedEx or UPS price. I am sure the pricing is set to discourage large packages as they are not equipped to handle it. The comparison I am using is package Priority Mail vs FedEx or UPS ground as they all have similar delivery times.
     
  20. Apr 9, 2013 #100 of 114
    Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    21,579
    376
    Jan 7, 2005
    Kittrell, NC
    I agree with you on small packages. I found lots of better deals via USPS and they were often more reliable to me too!

    But, you nailed what I meant about being restricted on being more competitive... larger packages would require different staffing and larger trucks that don't seem to be in the budget.
     

Share This Page